It's almost comical to be writing an article about keeping communication with your teenager "open" when teenagers so often hang out the proverbial "closed" sign. Have you ever tried to break into a teenager's wave of communication? It takes finesse, a lot of Mission Impossible, and an excess of linguistical skill. Teenagers have their own language, and I'm not just referencing their slang words. It's not scientific by any means, but if I had to wager a guess, I'd say teen-speak is about 80% body language, 10% sighs and expulsions of air, and 10% audible and intelligible words. And that's when they're talking to you. Again, this is about keeping communication open with your teenager—meaning, the bedroom door hasn't slammed in your face, and they haven't developed an intense fascination with their feet while you're trying to tell them something.Do you remember when you had your first baby? Everyone was so quick to give you the long list of the "just wait til's," and you went from glorying in parenthood to dreading the moment your child morphed from cute infant to screaming banshee? There's a "just wait til" list for teenagers too. You'll get that list soon enough—if you haven't already. Teenagers are notorious for perplexing, aggravating, and almost annihilating parents.But it doesn't have to be that way!There. I said it. I did. And no one can come back on me and say, "You don't know what it's like until you raise a teenager yourself." Here's the short list of my qualifications: 20+ years of youth ministry, almost five years of camping ministry, experience substitute teaching 6th grade, AND I am currently in possession of a teenager in my home. My child. Needless to say, I have had years of experience communicating with teenagers, and it's not as difficult as adults/parents make it out to be. Sure, sure. There are anomalies and exceptions to every rule. But I want to give you some ways to keep that communication open with your teenager and give your teenager hope that you, as a parent, haven't taken a dive off the weird end.
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