The Good Childhood Report 2018 has revealed how important close family relationships are, here's some advice on the issues the report deals with

Woman holding a cup of tea

The following is an overview of how to respond to some of the issues raised in the report, nurturing the bond you have with your child and encouraging them to talk about what's on their mind.

Six top tips for communicating with your teenager

  • Spend unstructured time together. It can be difficult when you’re busy, but spending time doing nothing with your child, without multitasking, is really important.
  • Sit down together for a meal at least a few times a week to chat. If you can’t eat together, sit down and talk over a cup of tea.
  • Enter their world and ask questions about it. See a film of their choice; browse the websites they are visiting; watch their favourite TV show with them. Be careful not to just dismiss everything they’re consuming: get them to think about the messages behind what they are watching. Why do the people in adverts, or on TV reality shows, look the way they do? Does it reflect real life? How are people behaving on TV, is that right?
  • Don’t be deterred. Sometimes teenagers don't want to talk to their parents about what's bothering them, but you shouldn't always take no for an answer. Make sure you understand what's happening from their point of view and how it's making them feel. It can be helpful for parents to then put things in perspective, but listen carefully before jumping in.
  • Don't belittle their worries. If it's important in your child's life, then it's important.
  • Give it time. Worrying or difficult behaviour can be simply while they are adjusting to a change in their life or trying out new emotions and it will often pass.