I have discussed the concept of family meetings in a previous post. If you are not having family meetings, please read that post and reconsider. It is so so important and is truly at the core of a solid family foundation.
Make a point to have discussions with your child on many different levels. Take on the difficult subjects of sex, drugs, alcohol, bullying and all others. Denial will shut down effective communication.
Know your child’s friends and parents. Watch your child’s behavior closely and know the warning signs of trouble. If you do not have these conversations and connections with your child, someone else will and it will probably be a peer.
Let your child know that they can always come to you about anything. Stress the word anything. Your reactions will shut them down if they do open up. If your child shares something with you, stay calm and centered and model effective communication. If you freak out, they will not come to you anymore.
Timing is everything in terms of a teen. Wait to have those important conversations until you know the time is right. Know and understand your child’s innate temperament and honor it.
Address your body language before you communicate with your teen. If your mouth is saying one thing and your body is saying another, your child will see that and possibly shut down to you. Conduct yourself with integrity, support your child and effectively communicate. If you do those three things, you will set yourself up for a deep and rewarding relationship with your child for life.