Effective Communication

By various authors
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
Do you feel like walls are being put up between you and your teen. Try these foundation ways to better connect.

While battling cancer, Karen sobbed, crying out to the Lord. She thought she had the house to herself that morning, but her youngest, 13-year-old Emory, was still home.

Knocking on her bedroom door, Emory said, “Mom, please tell me that you’re all right.”

Karen dried her eyes. She acknowledged the awkwardness of the moment and talked to her daughter about God being her comfort. Parents struggle to get teens to talk to them, yet mothers and fathers often ignore moments that lend themselves to good communication.

Karen and her husband, Mike, let their teens know they were more valuable than whatever else was going on. Karen might say, “I know the phone is ringing, but what you’re telling me is also important.” She didn’t hesitate to stop what she was doing to give her full attention. Eye contact and physical touch reinforced the connection.

Teens respond to genuine honesty. Since most of them already know their parents aren’t perfect, showing imperfection is OK. Conversations that recognize a parent’s humanness are important in the parent-teen relationship.

“How we say things is often more important than what we say,” high school guidance counselor Kathleen Allen says. If parents work on how they deliver their words, teens may hear them better.

Finally, praying — alone and with your teen — is essential. As you pray, remember that effective communication means all topics are open for discussion, not just ones of your choosing. Pray that you won’t become defensive, and ask God how to respond authentically — with grace and kindness.

Three Ways Families Found Communication Amid Conflict

Follow Through and Don’t Get Angry

Seventeen-year-old Melissa grinned. “Do you notice anything different?” She pulled back her hair to display a metal ball protruding from her ear cartilage. Linda and her husband, Jaime, had told Melissa to wait until she turned 18, which was a month away, to have her ears pierced. Ignoring her tearful pleas, they told her to take it out. Melissa later said that she had performed the piercing herself to save money. That opened a conversation about the dangers of infection. Had they handled the situation with anger, the opportunity to discuss piercings would have been lost.

—Linda Gonzalez

Pray for Insight

“I don’t want to go,” Karen’s son declared as he stomped into his bedroom. He wanted to stay home and play a new video game instead of going to youth group. Karen prayed, “Lord, show me what I can say.” She felt her son needed to be there. So she went to his room and told him that she wanted him to go because she felt God telling her to take him. He understood. The surprise on his face showed her that he hadn’t realized God was in authority over her as well. Although nothing major happened at youth group, the experience helped Karen’s son learn more about his mother’s relationship with God.

—Karen Evans

Provide Opportunities for Experience

“Jessica, please empty the dryer and fold the clothes,” Kathy asked.
“It’s not my turn,” her daughter answered.
This conversation was repeated countless times. Kathy found it difficult to connect her daughter’s desire for clean clothes with the work required — until Jessica went with her to an orphanage in Haiti. Jessica volunteered to help the missions team do the orphanage’s laundry. They washed the clothing in tubs of water with lye soap and hung them to dry.

Jessica never said much about her experience, but once they returned, she no longer complained about doing the laundry.

—Katrina Cassel

“Effective Communication” compiled article copyright © 2016 by Focus on the Family. “Effective Communication,” the first half of this compilation, copyright © 2008 by Focus on the Family. “Follow Through and Don’t Get Angry” copyright © 2008 by Focus on the Family. “Pray for Insight” copyright © 2008 by Karen Evans. “Provide Opportunities for Experience” copyright © 2008 by Focus on the Family. Used by permission. “Effective Communication,” the smaller article,  “Follow Through and Don’t Get Angry,” “Pray for Insight” and “Provide Opportunities for Experience” first appeared in Focus on Your Child Teen Phases, August 2008.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

About the Author

various authors

This article is a compilation of articles written by various authors. The author names are found within the article.

You May Also Like

Thank you [field id="first_name"] for signing up to get the free downloads of the Marrying Well Guides. 

Click the image below to access your guide and learn about the counter-cultural, biblical concepts of intentionality, purity, community and Christian compatibility.

(For best results use IE 8 or higher, Firefox, Chrome or Safari)

To stay up-to-date with the latest from Boundless, sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter.

If you have any comments or questions about the information included in the Guide, please send them to [email protected]

Click here to return to Boundless

Focus on the Family

Thank you for submitting this form. You will hear from us soon. 

The Daily Citizen

The Daily Citizen from Focus on the Family exists to be your most trustworthy news source. Our team of analysts is devoted to giving you timely and relevant analysis of current events and cultural trends – all from a biblical worldview – so that you can be inspired and assured that the information you share with others comes from a reliable source.

Alive to Thrive is a biblical guide to preventing teen suicide. Anyone who interacts with teens can learn how to help prevent suicidal thinking through sound practical and clinical advice, and more importantly, biblical principles that will provide a young person with hope in Christ.

Bring Your Bible to School Day Logo Lockup with the Words Beneath

Every year on Bring Your Bible to School Day, students across the nation celebrate religious freedom and share God’s love with their friends. This event is designed to empower students to express their belief in the truth of God’s Word–and to do so in a respectful way that demonstrates the love of Christ.

Focus on the Family’s® Foster Care and Adoption program focuses on two main areas:

  • Wait No More events, which educate and empower families to help waiting kids in foster care

  • Post-placement resources for foster and adoptive families

Christian Counselors Network

Find Christian Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Psychiatrists near you! Search by location, name or specialty to find professionals in Focus on the Family’s Christian Counselors Network who are eager to assist you.

Boundless is a Focus on the Family community for Christian young adults who want to pursue faith, relationships and adulthood with confidence and joy.

Through reviews, articles and discussions, Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live.

Have you been looking for a way to build your child’s faith in a fun and exciting way?
Adventures in Odyssey® audio dramas will do just that. Through original audio stories brought to life by actors who make you feel like part of the experience; these fictional, character-building dramas use storytelling to teach lasting truths.

Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored all-inclusive intensives offer marriage counseling for couples who are facing an extreme crisis in their marriage, and who may even feel they are headed for divorce.