Talking With Your Teen – 3 Mistakes To Avoid

Parent Listening to Child 1Talking to your teenager can be an uphill battle.  Whether it is just to ask him/her how their day was or to have a serious talk, getting your teenager to talk with you can be hard.  Dr. Atilla Ceranoglu, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, uses a great metaphor to describe child development.  Infants and toddlers are like puppies. You can cuddle them all you want, kiss them, and hug them endlessly — they cannot get enough of you. But teenagers are like cats: They tend to avoid you most of the time, and once in a blue moon they will seek out your attention. The moment you try to touch them, however, they run away.

As parents it is important of us to figure out how to not make our kids run away from us when we are trying to talk to them.  Just like you know not to run head first at a skittish cat, there are wrong ways to approach teens.  Our friends at Great Schools came up with three things to avoid doing when trying to talk to your teens.

  • Waiting for a crisis.  When tensions are high, your child is not going to be in a position to open up to you. Engage early and often, before there is a problem. This way you will develop a rapport with your child that will be very important when an actual crisis arises. “Remember, it’s impossible to build a bridge in the middle of a quake, but a bridge built earlier may be flexible and sturdy enough to ward off a quake when it comes,” says Ceranoglu. “A relationship is just like that. Its foundation and flexible nature are important ingredients of happiness.”
  • Taking the too-direct approach.  You’re probably not going to get a lot out of your child if you say, “Let’s sit down and talk.” Instead, do something together your child likes and let the conversation happen. Spending more time with him now will help build the bridges you’ll need later. “Your consistent presence in your child’s life will help your child feel comfortable with talking to you if something bothers him,” says Ceranoglu.
  • Letting the opportunity pass.  Your child may seem to be always pushing you away, but that doesn’t mean he really wants you to disappear! Be vigilant about observing his mood, and approach him when you see a chance to talk or do something together.

Even if you avoid all of these mistakes, your teen might not be much into talking.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Don’t try to force them to have a sit down talk.  What is most important is that you let them know you are there to talk or just listen whenever they need you.

Easter Egg Hunt in Winter Park

Easter egg huntCome down to Central Park’s West Meadow for the 59th annual Easter Egg Hunt in Winter Park.  Presented by the City of Winter Park, the Easter Egg Hunt is a fun-filled free event that provides as much excitement and laughs for adults as it does for youngsters. Children up to 10 years of age can begin lining up at 9:30 a.m. The hunt will begin promptly at 10 a.m. Children with special needs are also encouraged to join in the fun. Over 10,000 eggs will be placed throughout Central Park. As always, children who come up empty handed will still be able to enjoy special treats at the designated candy area.  For more information on the Easter Egg Hunt click here.

How To Teach Our Kids To Tell The Truth

Parent Listening to Child 2Children lie as part of their normal development.  Throughout childhood children clarify boundaries by testing limits.  Very young children are not yet able to distinguish fantasy from reality.   By the age of 6 children have a better understanding about the difference between fantasy and reality and develop a conscience.  At this age children may lie to avoid punishment or disapproval.  As children get older they might lie to spare someone’s feelings, because they feel overwhelmed or to gain attention.  Remember that chronic or habitual liars rarely feel good about themselves.  Look for patterns in the child’s lying and try to determine what needs the child has that make him or her want to lie.


Your CHILL counselors, the mental health professionals based in each Winter Park Consortium School (Winter Park High and the elementary and middle feeder schools), have assembled these tips on how to prevent lying.


  1. Always model telling the truth.  Avoid “little white lies” such as lying about your child’s age so he or she gets a cheaper movie ticket.
  2. Keep your word, always explain and apologize if you have to break a promise.
  3. Teach your child through role-playing the value of telling the truth.
  4. Teach your child the difference between make believe and reality, truth and lying.
  5. Let your child know that lying is not acceptable.
  6. Praise your child for telling the truth, especially in situations where it is difficult for your child.
  7. Create a safe family environment so your child can express his or her feelings.
  8. Avoid being too harsh in parenting.  Be firm, fair and consistent instead.


Contact the CHILL counselor at your child’s school for more information on this topic. To find out the name of your counselor, click on the Schools tab on any page of this website.