During this period, teens spend much of the day outside the home — at school
or at after-school activities or jobs and with their friends. But it's important
to try to talk with your teen every day to share opinions, ideas, and information.
Here are a few tips to help you communicate with your teen:
Make time during the day or evening to hear about your teen's activities; be sure
that he or she knows you are actively interested and listening carefully.
Remember to talk with your teen, not at him or her.
Ask questions that go beyond "yes" or "no" answers to prompt more developed conversation.
Take advantage of time during car trips to talk with your teen.
Make time for sporting and school events, playing games, and talking about
Vocabulary and Communication
Teens essentially communicate as adults, with increasing maturity throughout high
school. They comprehend abstract language, such as idioms, figurative language, and
metaphors. Explanations may become more figurative and less literal.
Teens should be able to process texts and abstract meaning, relate word meanings
and contexts, understand punctuation, and form complex syntactic structures. However,
communication is more than the use and understanding of words; it also includes how
teens think of themselves, their peers, and authority figures.
As teens seek independence from family and establish their own identity, they begin
thinking abstractly and become concerned with moral issues. All of this shapes the
way they think and communicate.
If You Suspect a Problem
You should have ongoing communication with your teen's teachers about overall language
skills and progress. If the teachers suspect a language-based learning disability,
comprehensive testing will be necessary. This can include a hearing test, psychoeducational
assessment (standardized testing to assess learning style as well as cognitive processes),
and speech-language evaluation.
A teen with a specific communication difficulty, such as stuttering,
should be referred to the school speech-language pathologist (an expert who evaluates
and treats speech and language disorders).
Vocal-quality problems such as hoarseness, breathiness, or raspiness may require
a medical evaluation by an otolaryngologist (an ear, nose, and throat specialist).
But in most cases, language difficulties will have been identified before this
age. However, increasing academic troubles might indicate subtle problems.
Parents often feel that the teen
years are a time of difficult communication, when it's normal for teens to challenge
parents and resist authority. However, behavior that causes severe disruption in the
household may not be normal teen rebellion. If you feel that your relationship is
particularly difficult, discuss it with your doctor.