Parenting Pre-Teens & Teens: When to Talk and When to Shut Up


I’m giving some tips from the book about preteens and teenage girls called “Untangled” by Lisa Damour and this week’s tip is what to do when your child is just venting, they’re complaining about something maybe they’re going on and on about how much homework they got in a class or they’re complaining about something they have to do that weekend or even about cleaning the room which you asked them to do.

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What Dr. Damour suggests is that you ask them, “Do you need help with this or did you just want to vent about it?” And see what they say because often as parents, we want to move into ‘fix-it’ mode. We want to help them fix it or we want to offer ideas and suggestions that we’re convinced are brilliant because of our years of experience and often those are rejected outright.

So ask permission and say, “Hey would you like some help with this?” And if you get a yes back, great! Then you can brainstorm solutions with them. But if you get a no back say, “Okay I’m just here to listen. I’m happy you’re sharing with me.” I don’t know if you would say that. They would probably slam you for that. I know my daughters would say “I hate it when you say that!”

Say whatever comes to mind at that point or just listen and say hey (to yourself) feel happy inside that your teen is talking to you and just letting you into their world because those times are sometimes few and far between, so take them when they come.

That’s my tip for today from Lisa Damour’s book.

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