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You can talk to your teenager without arguing by fostering open communication, showing empathy, and avoiding judgment. Ask open-ended questions that encourage conversation rather than confrontation. Listening actively without interruption and validating their feelings can also create a respectful dialogue, nurturing understanding rather than fostering arguments.

Communicating with teenagers can often lead to misunderstandings and arguments, making it difficult for parents to connect and provide support.

The frustration from repeated arguments can strain the parent-teen relationship, lead to a breakdown in trust, and hinder the teen’s emotional development.

To talk to your teenager without arguing, establish clear communication guidelines, show empathy towards their feelings, ask open-ended questions, and ensure you’re both working towards understanding each other rather than winning a debate. By creating a safe and respectful environment for discussion, you’ll foster a more positive and constructive relationship.

In this article, you will discover several tips on how to talk to your teenager without arguing.

Tips on How to Talk to Your Teenager Without Arguing

Teen communication can be difficult. Not only is there a generational gap to account for, but the goals of teens and parents rarely overlap. 

The first lesson is not to stoop low. When teens get angry, don’t get angry with them. A conversation shouldn’t be a shouting match, and the moment it becomes one, it’s probably time to step away. From there, examine your communication style with your teen, and where you might be able to make some solid improvements: 

Here are some tips on how to talk to your teenager without arguing:

Setting the Right Tone for the Conversation

Setting the tone from the start of the conversation is important. Be positive with your initial statement or question. Teens get defensive immediately when they can sense passive aggressiveness or an aggressive-inquisitive tone. 

You’re not here to investigate or play the part of a cop – you’re a parent, and you want to foster open and healthy communication skills with your teen. Use indirect questions, rather than demanding your information. 

A Matter of Time and Place

Observe your teen’s emotional state before striking up an important or difficult conversation. You’re not likely to get much out of your teen if they’re feeling anxious or angry to begin with. You’re better off if you preface an important conversation with a fun Sunday activity; a drive out to the mall for some ice cream, a few hours at the arcade, or time spent out fishing. It’s always better to start things off on a positive baseline, especially when a topic can be distressing or uncomfortable, such as drugs or sex. 

Problem-Solving With Your Teen

With is the operative word. It’s not very helpful to just talk down on your teen when they come to you with a problem. It’s often a lot more effective when you try to solve a problem with them, by asking more questions and offering constructive words of advice or personal experience in between their responses. Interruptions are bad

Identifying (and Avoiding) Blame and Judgment

It’s important to talk to your teen without the overture of judgment. Yes, you’re older, you’re wiser, and you’ve seen more things, done more things, and generally have a better idea of what’s in store for your teen. But holding that over them is more likely to alienate you and make them a lot less likely to listen to what you have to say. 

Parents don’t realize that teens make the subtle switch from needing to be told what to do all the time (as kids) to wanting to figure things out themselves more, and more, and more. It helps to adjust your language towards subtle nudges, and indirect questions, and focus on assisting teens in finding the right answers themselves. 

Questions and Answers

We often see parents who struggle to connect with their children, especially teens. Teens are trying to find their own path through life and are learning to differentiate themselves from their home environment. However, they also can’t help but be molded by their parents and family members – making for a very confusing and emotionally fragile time. We often get questions about teen communication from parents, such as: 

How do I address a sensitive topic without leading to conflict? Some topics are a little harder for teens to talk about than others, whether out of embarrassment, shame, or even guilt and fear. Sex, drugs, body image issues, mental health problems, and even personal hygiene are tough topics for a lot of teens. Keep in mind that teens are looking for guidance. But they need these conversations to go at their own pace. Ask indirect questions, let your teens talk at length without interruptions, and do not become emotional or judgmental at any point. 

What can I do when my teenager seems to stonewall all conversation? Sometimes, teens don’t want to talk about certain things because these things might be awkward to talk about, in their eyes. Then it’s often a question of the right time and place. In other cases, they might feel like there is an irreconcilable difference between their opinion and yours – especially in political or religious matters. Sometimes, it’s okay to let sleeping dogs lie. 

How do I encourage my teenagers to share their thoughts and feelings openly with me? The only way to keep your teen honest – or as honest as possible – is by fostering and maintaining a solid foundation of trust, and by examining your own actions and expectations. Sometimes, teens lie because they don’t want to lose their parents’ approval. Sometimes, they lie because they fear their parents’ judgment. Whatever the case may be, you need to communicate clearly in your responses and dialogues that you won’t overreact to your teen, and level with them – about how omitting, embellishing, or lying only serves to create problems, and never actually helps bring solutions to the table. 

How can I address situations where our emotions are running high? It’s important not to let yourself get carried away in a conversation with your teen. If your teen escalates the conversation, the worst thing you can do is take it to that same level. And if you feel that you can’t help but respond in kind, cut the conversation short – and tell your teen to come back when they’re ready to talk in a calmer tone. 

No matter how difficult it can be, it’s important to stay in touch with your teen. Talk to them about how they’re doing and what they’re feeling often. Not only is talking more often an important element of a healthier parent-teen relationship, but it can also give you better opportunities to screen your teen’s mental health. 

If you’re worried about your teenager’s behavior and actions beyond their communicative struggles, it’s also a good idea to talk to a professional. Get in touch with us at Visions, your partner in teen mental health treatments. The first step towards healing can often be the most difficult. 


It’s common to be at odds with your dad or your mom when you’re a teenager, and teens are awful conversationalists. They get defensive far too easily and may be prone to escalating the conversation. With patience, empathy, and understanding, you can improve your relationship with your teen, and teach your teen important communicative and problem-solving skills for adulthood. If you and your teen are struggling with continued communication problems and deeper behavioral issues, give us a call at Visions. 

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