OUR KIDS: What We Want To Say....What Teens Want To Hear When conflict occurs between parents and teens, the conversation may go poorly because the needs of the teens don't match up very well with the parents' needs. Parents often want to regain control. Teens want to be affirmed. Of interest is the fact that both sides do want things to get better. 1. What kinds of things do parents want to say to their teens? They often say things that: A. Direct Them: We want to be in charge.... Things just work out better when we are in charge. You will do your homework at 5:30 sitting at the kitchen table with no music. B. Warn Them: We want to warn them of things to come. You won't get a good job without an education. (As parents we are worse case scenario people. We don't want them to hurt or close doors on their future.) C. Stop Them from doing dumb things... now 2. What kinds of things do teens want to hear from us parents? Teens want to hear: A. You are still a great kid even when you mess up B. We believe in you....you will get this figured out C. What thoughts do you have? What is your opinion? D. We love you. As parents we have to decide what to communicate to our teens. You have two choices, you can choose to focus on control or on affirmation. Many parents go for more and more control - often because we are scared. In situations where major safety issues are present, control is our friend. Your other option is to believe in what you have taught them and affirm their ability to figure out their own way to make better decisions. You then walk with them through the difficult time and help them to learn and grow. This option is usually more effective in obtaining positive effort and cooperation.