How to Talk to Your Teen Without Pulling Out a Single Strand of Your Own Hair!
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Yes, it can be frustrating, intimidating even, but, with these ten simple steps, you can learn to have a productive conversation with your teenager (when you really, really have to).

MENTALLY PREPARE FOR BATTLE. First, clear your mind of any logical thinking. Avoid caffeine. It will only make you more alert and therefore susceptible to irritation.

BRING SNACKS. The lure of salty potato chips or sugary pop-tarts will relax your teenager and make him/her want to stay in the same room as you. Or until the food is gone, at least.

STUDY. You should have at least one answer ready for the following questions, “What do you care?” “Why do you always treat me like a little kid?” and, the most common teen question, “Wha?”

HAVE A COMPUTER NEARBY TO LOOK UP ANY WORDS YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND. Or that your teen just made up. You may need to do a search for “lingo” or “jargon” to decode their “teenspeak.” Hint: words like “fat,” “bogus,” and “no” have an opposite meaning in teenspeak.

LEARN TO ENJOY REPETITION. “Huh?” Get used to this word. You will hear it a lot.

NEVER TRY TO SOUND COOL. This is impossible. Even if you do know some of the current teen lingo, by saying it as an adult, you automatically negate the word’s hipness, and it is immediately deleted from the teenage vocabulary. Remember “groovy,” “chillin,” and “jive turkey?” Yep, nixed by grown-ups.

USE A LOT OF GESTURES TO KEEP THEIR ATTENTION. Example: When asking your teen to take out the garbage, pantomime the motion clearly, so they can visualize the thing they are pretending not to hear. It also helps to gesture what you will do to them if they do not take out the garbage.

SET A TIMER. This works best in those situations where you have asked an open-ended question, such as, “How did you get gum all over the engine of my car?” Set the timer and allow your teen only one minute of saying the word “um” repeatedly before he/she must continue speaking using a real word.

USE BRIBERY. Example: “If you keep your room clean, I’ll pretend I don’t know you when we’re shopping at the mall.” Also known as extortion when used like this: “Keep your room clean, or I will hug you in public.”

DO IT FROM A DISTANCE. If you aren’t in the right emotional place to handle the blank looks and eye-rolls that are unavoidable when talking to your teen, take advantage of technology and have a “text talk” via your cell phone instead. You won’t understand most of what they type, but at least you can have the last word.

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