How Teenagers Communicate About Feelings

By Kathryn Hatter
Open communication can help teens share feelings.
Open communication can help teens share feelings.

Teens have a lot going on. Not only are they busy growing and maturing at breakneck speeds, but they may also have crazy school and work schedules, not to mention fitting fun into their daily routines. Along with everything else, teens have stuff happening on the inside, too. Teens need to communicate their feelings -- they just need to do it in ways that make them feel safe and secure.

Expressing Intense Feelings

Teens often don’t know what to do with overwhelming feelings such as anxiety, frustration, fear and anger. When teens feel stressed out, a coping mechanism that often occurs is the explosion technique, states psychotherapist Debbie Pincus, with the Empowering Parents website. The teenager may hold emotions inside until the feelings explode in your face in a messy jumble of mixed up emotions.

Lack of Communication

Teenagers may decide to hide difficult feelings such as sadness, fear and anger, according to Jane Framingham, with the Psych Central website. You may notice signs of depression if a teenager isn’t sharing feelings effectively. The feelings may come out in bursts of irritability, sarcasm and hostility, often aimed at family members. If your teen shows signs of misdirected anger and hostility, your teen may need help communicating feelings.

Communication Clues

Sometimes a teenager might need to talk, but can’t quite take the first step to start a conversation, advises the American Academy of Pediatrics. This is the time your adolescent needs you to catch her clues and initiate a conversation. Some possible signs your teenager wants to talk include asking questions about your own childhood, asking questions about an anonymous friend or leaving reading material about a situation open to catch your eye.

Positive Communication

Make yourself available for communicating with your teen every day. Try to find ways to connect with your teenager so your teenager has an opportunity to talk, if desired. Having a meal together or just hanging out at home can be times when your teenager could grab you to talk if he needs to. When your teenager does talk, be an effective listener to encourage your teen to share feelings. Effective listening involves maintaining eye contact, showing interest, asking questions and reiterating what you think you understand. Resist the urge to criticize or judge your teen. Many adolescents will quickly clam up and stop talking if they feel your judgment, advises West Virginia Family Connections.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.