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How to talk to your teenager

Talking to a teenager can sometimes be hard

Dad and son gardening

Talking to your teenager

  • Talking to a teenager can sometimes be hard.
  • Some teenagers find it hard to share information.
  • Teenagers’ brains are changing fast.
  • Changes in a teenager’s brain can make it hard for them to control their feelings.
  • When you talk to your teenager, they may become emotional.

Pick a good time to talk

  • Try to talk to your teenager when they seem relaxed.
  • If your teenager is tired after a long day at school, wait until the weekend to talk.
  • Sometimes it can be easier for teenagers to talk while they are doing something else.
  • Try talking with your teenager while going for a walk together or driving in the car.

Learn about your teenager

  • Knowing what your teenager is going through will help you feel more connected to them.
  • Are there any situations your teenager finds stressful?
  • Are there any friends your teenager is having trouble with?
  • Is there a subject at school your teenager finds very hard?

Talk about your own feelings

  • When you share how you feel, it can help your teenager talk about their feelings.
  • Your teenager can understand their own feelings better when you share yours.

Listen more than you speak

  • It’s okay to sit in silence until your teenager is ready to speak.
  • Try not to give your teenager advice unless they ask for it.
  • Try not to correct what your teenager says – just let your teenager share with you.

Show your teenager how you feel about them

  • Tell your teenager that they can talk to you about anything.
  • Tell your teenager you love them and will help them.

Keep trying

  • It can take time to build a connection with your teenager.
  • You may need to keep trying.
  • Make time to do activities with your teenager and let them choose what you do together.

Ask for help if you need it

  • If you need help supporting your teenager, please contact their school.
  • Schools have guidance officers who can help teenagers with their learning, behaviour and mental health needs.



Last Updated: 08 December 2022