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'Talk To Me First' - Getting Teens To Open Up To You

Most of us are great at talking but less good at listening and understanding and we often only half listen to our kids.

I’ve been enjoying the fantastic weather and juggling writing with being a Butlin’s Redcoat for my own kids on holiday from school, and it got me thinking about the way I communicate with my kids.

Communication can dry up during adolescence which is why people identify so much with Harry Enfield’s Kevin and Perry characters and that’s why the teenage stage has often been called the “grunt stage” but communication is a two-way process. It’s what we want and think, and what our teenagers want and think. Most of us are great at talking but less good at listening and understanding and we often only half listen to our kids.

Here are some classic ways to switch off your teenager:

Asking too many questions

“Why did you say that?” “What did you say?”

Being bossy

“Do your homework right now and don’t argue”


“You should know better at your age”


“How could you be so stupid?”


“I’m so sorry for you, you poor thing”

Rescuing – doing it for them

“Alright, I’ll do your homework for you so you don’t get into trouble”

Jumping to conclusions

“Late again! I suppose you’ve been up to no good getting back at this hour!”

Threatening and shouting

“If you don’t shape up you’re grounded for a week”

Always knowing best

“I told you that would happen, didn’t I!”

Most of us find ourselves lecturing, ordering and jumping to conclusions or even threatening our teenagers but if we always presume the worst and speak to our kids like this we block communication.

And, effective communication is the oil that lubricates a good family and builds a lasting relationship between teenagers and their parents.

Here are some Positive Parent Tips for good communication:

  • Remain silent most of the time!
  • Be aware and sensitive to your child’s body language, e.g. whether they look disappointed, worried, angry, excited, pleased etc…..
  • Show you are really listening by saying “I see, uh-huh and mmm” occasionally, and looking into their eyes without just staring to maintain good eye contact
  • Reflect back the gist of what they have said to you to check you have understood them clearly
  • Avoid giving advice or offering suggestions (Tough, I know, but believe me this one REALLY works)
  • Show your teenager by the tone of your voice and body language that you really respect and care and are genuinely trying to understand where they are coming from.

It’s worth remembering that most teenagers don’t like face to face chats. So it’s easier if you are doing something else at the time like emptying the dishwasher, driving them to a football practise or peeling the potatoes.

Often they like to talk when you’ve just settled down with a cup of coffee to watch your favourite TV programme or just climbed into bed exhausted or just run a lovely hot bath, but these can be the “Golden Moments” – the deep and meaningful chats – the ones that connect you to your kids and help bridge the gap of empathy.

So, go with the flow and keep remembering the bigger picture to your parenting – bringing up the happy, confident, well-balanced teenager; tomorrow’s adult – tomorrow’s parent.

Learn, laugh and enjoy the adventure!

Author Bio:

Sue Atkins is an internationally recognised Parenting Expert, Broadcaster, Speaker and Author of the Amazon best-selling books “Parenting Made Easy – How to Raise Happy Children” & “Raising Happy Children for Dummies" one in the famous black and yellow series as well as author of the highly acclaimed Parenting Made Easy CDs & MP3s.

Sue offers practical guidance for bringing up happy, confident, resilient children from toddler to teen.

She specialises in supporting families through divorce & has created a series of Divorce Cards to help start the difficult conversations about the changes that families face when they are going through divorce. These simple cards help children and parents explore, express and prepare for the changes and challenges ahead.

She regularly appears on the award winning flagship ITV show “This Morning” and Sky News and is the parenting expert for many BBC Radio Stations throughout the UK including talkRADIO where she does a regular weekly parenting round up of stories in the news on The Eamonn Holmes Drive Time Show. Her parenting articles are published all over the world.

To receive her free eBooks, eCourses, Webinars & weekly podcasts bursting with practical tips and helpful advice from toddler to teen log on to www.theSueAtkins.com and join her Parenting Club today.

An internationally recognised Parenting Expert, Broadcaster, Speaker and Author of the Amazon best-selling books.

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This article will cover all the aspect related to sleep regression. What is baby sleep regression and tips, signs when it happens?

When you hear the word sleep regression or regression, it feels like a nightmare. Every parent has to face this period as it is not something you can stop or avoid.

8 month sleep regression is one of the most common regression that occurs in babies. But one can learn how to tackle and survive during the whole cycle.

So in this article you will get all the required information about it.

Let's start!

What is Baby Sleep Regression?

The regression is a time where the sleeping patterns get irregular. You baby who used to sleep sound at nights will now turn into a moody one. It would become harder to control them and putting them to sleep. The naps become shorter, hunger increases and a lot more.

Babies grow at a fast rate and every day they learn various things. Their little minds are full of curiosity and distractions. After a long day your baby tend to fall in a deep slumber and it may be hard to wake them up.

Whereas they may also take short naps during the day. All this goes well until out of nowhere they wake up at nights and won't go back to sleep.

The first regression or cycle change appears around 4 months. As they continue to grow and learn, the cycles keep repeating themselves.

Even you are familiar with all this, you may get annoyed at some time. But let's admit that we also have been a baby and caused trouble for our parents.

So let's have some patience and provide them with extra care and love that they need.

When Does it Happen?

There is no fixed time for regressions as they vary among babies. As every baby has unique body and mind and capabilities. Hence the cycle also differs. It may occur during 4th, 8th, 11th or 18th month.

It can also go up to 2 years in some babies. When your baby's body starts developing and learning then be ready for some tough time.

It takes real effort for them when they start crawling or try to sit up. So it is normal for them to get fussy later.

Signs of regression

Though sudden awakening at night is the focal sign to know that the sleep cycle has shifted. Still, there are some reasons to ensure it is sleep regression and not some other issue.

• The changes in their appetites are a key symptom. They will need proper feeding at this stage as their hunger has increased.

• They will stay awake during nights. It gets hard to put them back to sleep once awake.

• They get fussy and annoyed and start crying every now and then. On the other side, some babies turn clingy and need you around them all the time.

• Your baby who used to sleep at day time will now stop doing it. The day naps will either turn shorter or seize all of sudden.

Tips for survival

Here are some basic tips to help you out.

• Maintain a steady nap time and sleeping schedule of the baby. You can observe the patterns and then make one.

• Match your own schedule with that of the baby as they need more love and care. You must be around them most of the time to take care and sooth them.

• Feed them well. Keep their tummies full so that they have the energy. As most regressions occur during development period so they have an increased appetite.

• If your baby cries a lot then use a pacifier. Develop a habit with them to use it so they can stay calm if you are not around.


If you feel or have any confusion, we are here to guide you. You are always welcome to clear out the doubts in your mind.

Think for a moment how we treat our friends. We laugh with them, share good times, listen to them, and always try to be fair. We comfort them when things are going bad, and we would never interrupt them or allow ourselves to be distracted while they are talking to us. In the workplace, we treat our coworkers with respect...distracted while they are talking to us. In the workplace, we treat our coworkers with respect and would not dare tell them to shut up or accept a kind gesture without saying thank you. But how do we treat our spouses and children when we get home out of the view of people who admire us.

Happiness is how we treat our families

Last week I went to a banquet where the speaker spoke of the most crucial trait young people should strive to be successful in life. He said how we treat others in the workplace lays the foundation for success in life. If I were to add anything to what the speaker said that night, it would be that how we treat our families also lays the foundation for happiness in life.

For some people, it is easy to be kind to the people they work alongside. However, many successful people in the workplace are not always successful communicators in the home. A good example is a child that came quietly into the kitchen while his mother was cooking dinner. He startled her when he yelled the surprise. She became angry and scolded him for yelling and tracking mud into the house, and sent him to his room, even as he was trying to tell her something.

Later she felt terrible for yelling at her child and remembered he said he had a surprise for her. She went into his room, where he had fallen asleep on his bed. She gently woke him and asked him what the surprise he was trying to tell her about when he was in the kitchen was.

The child smiled and opened his hand to display a small crushed blue flower. “It’s for you, mom,” he said. “I found it in the grass, and I knew you would like it because it was blue.” The mother took her child in her arms and told him she was sorry for yelling at him. Children are so forgiving, and we should be glad because we sometimes fail to remember that they have feelings too.

Having a friend is a beautiful gift in life, and having a good relationship with our peers in the workplace is vital to our success. Jobs are relevant, but for most, jobs are what we do to provide for the needs of our families. If we don’t take care of the relationships we have at home, then we can lose our purpose in working so hard.

Children and spouses deserve the same respect we give to our coworkers and our friends. The essential things in life start at home. It is how we treat our families because long after the job is over, the relationship you build with your family will be there.

If we treat our children and spouses with respect we give our coworkers and share the best of ourselves with them as we do our friends, think about how relationships would grow and possibly heal.

Deana Landers
Read more at MorningCoffeeBeans

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