Annie Fox for Teens... Hey, Terra!

Annie (AKA Hey Terra!) has been around long enough to have experienced a lot of what Life can dish out. But, it hasn’t been so long that she's forgotten what it's like to be your age. Check out some of the thousands of email questions teens from around the world have sent to Terra. You may learn something useful from her answers:

Communication Problems:
“Sometimes my mom's cool, other times she's wack.”

Hey Terra,

Sometimes my mom's the coolest mom, you know really funny, corny but funny. and then other times she's just wack. I've had a lying problem and I know that but I'm getting over it. When I try to talk to her she'll start to listen but the conversation will end up being about I told you this and I told you that. All of our conversations end up in boring lectures that make me wanna go to sleep so after about five minutes, I start to get bored and distracted and she tells me I'm being rude. I don't know what to do.

I Don't Understand

Dear I Don't Understand,

It sounds like you know how to listen to your mom when she's being funny but when she's says something that you don't want to hear, you tune out. In a way, she's right when she tells you that you're being "rude." You expect her to listen when you talk, right? So if you "get bored and distracted" when she talks, it is rude.

But here's something to think about that might help: Communication works both ways. When people communicate well, it's because both of them are 100% involved. The Listener has to take 100% responsibility for paying attention to what's being said. It sounds like you're blaming your mom for being boring, but maybe she's doing her best and you're just thinking about other things and not giving her your full respect and attention.

On the other side, the Communicator has to take 100% responsibility for the way he/she is sending the message. Your mom could ask herself: Is what I'm saying true? Is it important? Is it helpful? Is it necessary? If you've heard it all before, then maybe it isn't "helpful" to hear it again. And if she's "lecturing" you about your "lying problem" but it really isn't a problem for you any more, then maybe what she's saying isn't "true." If you can tell her exactly why you are tuning out to these conversations, that would help her adjust what she saying to you. If you don't tell her how you feel, how can you expect her to know?

So the solution lies in you and your mom learning to communicate better. And you can start by talking about what's not working and what you can both do about it.

I hope this helps.

In friendship,

Terra


Need some advice? Write to Terra. She'll give you a straight answer you can trust without any lectures.


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