Ep 52: Get Your Teen to Think
Dr. Jennifer Salerno, author of Teen Speak, shares communication tactics that you can put into practice today to start reshaping your relationship with your teen. As founder of the non-profit Possibilities for Change, Jennifer knows a thing or two about impacting the lives of teens!
Full Show Notes
This week I spoke with Dr. Jennifer Salerno about her book Teen Speak: A Guide to Understanding and Communicating with Teens. Dr. Salerno started an organization that trains medical professionals on how to speak effectively with their teenage patients. Soon, she discovered the doctors and nurses she was training were utilizing her teachings in their own homes!
Dr. Salerno’s research has resulted in a system used by medical professions all over the country to mitigate risky behaviors among teens. The system works by helping adults quickly identify risk and communicate with teens effectively about what the consequences of their actions may be.
Jennifer’s interview is packed with tactics parents can slip in to their everyday communication to create a positive impact on the parent-teen relationship.
In this episode we cover:
- a step-by-step method for using statements to dig deeper in a conversation
- the “magic” sentence to get your teen talking about their day
- dealing with teens’ tendency toward drama
- how to turn “whys” into “whats,” and
- getting your teen’s intentions to line up with their behaviors.
Through her book and work in the medical community, Dr. Jen has reached hundreds of parents and medical staff. Her toolbox of communication strategies is open – now all that’s left is to start using them!
The 24-minute public version is free to listen to, and the 35-minute extended version, packed with extra goodies, is reserved for site members. Log in or start a free trial to access everything our site has to offer!
Word-for-word examples of WHAT to say to your teen
1. When your teen declares they can’t go to school ever again:
“What would it take for you to feel okay in school again? We both know that you have to go to school – I care about you and really want to help you figure out what it is you need to make things easier.”
2. When your teen is struggling with a promise they made:
3. To preserve your teen’s need for autonomy, but still speak your peace, try:
4. Instead of “How was x/y/z?”:
Step-by-step guides for applying the ideas from this interview
1. Flip the Drama:
In order to combat a typical teen’s dramatic outbursts, Jennifer Salerno recommends taking the drama “seriously.” Think of a few typical dramatic outbursts from your teen. Write down 3-5 on a piece of paper or in your notes app on your phone. Now, it’s time to get creative! Come up with a new response for each outburst that may surprise your teen. Humor is fine when delivered sensibly, i.e. without sarcasm.
- Example: teen: “I’m never going to school ever again!!”
- Response: well, I guess you’ll have to start studying for the GED
2. “Why” to “What”:
About Jennifer Salerno
Jennifer Salerno is the founder of Possibilities for Change and typically has a lot of letters after her name! A nurse practitioner for many years, Jennifer honed her communication skills, to help at risk teens understand the possible consequences of their actions. Her latest book Teen Speak, draws upon tenants of her award-winning Rapid Assessment for Adolescent Preventive Services (RAAPS).