Parenting

How to Gently Influence Teenagers

It’s easy to be a skeptic about what others should do. This is especially true when you’re an experienced adult trying to guide your teenager. Teenagers are often impulsive, confident, opinionated, and determined. People, including teenagers generally, are most affected by the people they admire and respect. Making a connection and speaking with teenagers is essential for having any influence over them. While helping teenagers can be difficult, with a bit of communication and modeling, you’ll be able to influence teens within your own life to help themselves.

1 Ask open-ended, non-sequential questions
When trying to influence your child, it is essential to maintain open communication to understand the motivations behind their behavior. One of the best ways to ensure open dialogue with your teenager is to ask open-ended questions. [1] open-ended Questions are those that require more than an easy “yes,” “no,” or a one-word response. [2] This technique allows your teen to give the amount of information they are at ease with and encourages them to give a more detailed answer. Ask questions by following the steps below.
Instead of asking, “How was your day?” ask, “Tell me about school today.”

2. Listen to your teen
Another key to open communication is listening to your teenager. Be attentive to their thoughts and complaints, their interests and aspirations. Understanding your teen’s needs better will help you decide how to influence them to change their thinking and behavior. Knowing more about their experiences, what they are interested in, and their dreams for the near future can help you provide better advice specific to your teenager. Please use this information to begin with gentle suggestions on how you can proceed in the direction they’re most interested in.
Eye contact is a great way to let your teenager know you are curious about what they’re saying. [3]
If you can, you can eliminate distracting devices (such as your mobile phone) and minimize your multitasking (such as having conversations with them while you cook dinner). [4]
Do not use your own experiences as an example or adopt an “I am more experienced than you” approach. Most likely, your teenager will not be pleased or quit paying attention.

3. Replay or reflect on the things they’re telling you
To ensure that you are attentive to your teenager and demonstrate that you’re listening, you can periodically reflect on or repeat the things they’re saying.[5 This can help demonstrate to your teen that you’re paying attention to them and are trying to comprehend the issues they face. In doing this, you will have the chance to influence better communication among your teenager. Make sure to show understanding and help encourage better communication by making these suggestions. [6]
Pause and repeat the words directly to them. “Hold on; I want to ensure I hear you right. You said you feel like the other girls in your class hate you because you answer the teacher’s questions?”

4 Express compassion
Empathy is the ability to see your teenager’s situation from their perspective. Begin to demonstrate empathy by recognizing the teen’s skills and experience. Help the teenager understand what they are experiencing or how challenging it might be. Empathy can help your child feel that you’re there for them and allow them to be open to suggestions or advice. Show empathy by following these steps.
Ask them to assist you by showing compassion. “I know how I see it, but I want to understand what it is like for you. Can you help me understand?”
If angry about an incident, be mad at them (at least a bit). “I can’t believe they did that!”