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  • Writer's pictureEmily Dillon

How to Create "Open Doors" of Communication--Healthy Communication for Parents and Teens


open door, teens and parents, communication, family therapy

Healthy communication is an essential ingredient in creating close relationships with our children and teens. As a provider for teenagers and their families, I know there is nothing more frustrating for parents than when teens give one-word answers or even roll their eyes when parents check in on them or ask questions.


Unfortunately for parents, this lack of communication is developmentally normal. Teens are in a life stage in which they are programmed to work toward developing self-identity and are, therefore, looking to differentiate themselves from their parents. This differentiation is an essential step in becoming functional, independent adults in just a few short years. That said, teenagers are developmentally still kids and do in fact need your guidance and support. This is good news--it means that your teen will come to you if they really need help, but only if you have communicated to them that is it safe to do so.


Open Door statements take the pressure off your teen to answer questions on your timeline, and instead create an invitation to communicate when your teen is ready on their own terms and in their own time.

So-- how do we ensure that our teen will come to us if they need support? Let me introduce to you the Open Door concept. Open Door statements take the pressure off your teen to answer questions on your timeline, and instead create an invitation to communicate when your teen is ready on their own terms and in their own time. Here are some examples of Open Door statements:


"I want you to know that if you ever need to talk to me about anything, even something difficult, I will be here to listen to you."


"If you are ever out with your friends and you're not feeling safe or comfortable with the situation you're in and you can call or text me, and I'll come pick you up no matter what."


"If you're ever feeling down or like you need help with something you're going through, I am here for you and will help you through it."


These statements remind your teenager that you are indeed a lifeline and safety net in their life and create open doors to walk through as needed. When you make these statements, your teen may roll their eyes, respond negatively, or not respond at all. Say them anyway! Your voice becomes the voice inside their head and, when your teen is really in need of support or help, they will remember what you said and will walk through the door.


Follow me on instagram and TikTok to learn about how to become intentional parents: @wildflower.mentalhealth


If you want to get started on your own therapeutic, healing journey, I invite you to set up a free, 15-minute consultation with me. Click here to get started.


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