I have been mothering for many years and am currently parenting a teenager (my third). One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that if your teen has stopped listening to you, then you have lost the parenting game.

Recently I sat down with a young woman (I'll call her Cindy) who is 17. I asked her to tell me what types of situations make her stop listening to her parents.

Here are Cindy's answers.

"I don't listen to my parents when they start yelling. Doesn't matter what they are saying, I just don’t hear them anymore.

"Another situation that makes me stop listening to my parents is when I am trying to relate a story about a friend and my parent interrupts me with a lecture about how I do the same thing.

"Well maybe I do and maybe you need to tell me something about it, but hearing me out first would at least tell me you care about what I'm saying, too.

"Another example of when I stop listening to my parents is when they lay out requirements for me in a specific situation and I meet those requirements, but I still don't get what I was working towards. Somehow the rules change on me. This makes me want to find a new loophole that will get around what my parents say but still somewhat satisfies their requirements. I feel like I'm not being listened to so I have to work around them.

"One more thing I'd like to add, too. Teenagers hate hearing "because I said so". My mom tells me sometimes that's just what needs to be said, and I think that's okay if it doesn't get over-used. But really, teenagers need to know the reason behind a rule so we can learn to make those decisions ourselves."

Wow. Powerful stuff. The implications from Cindy's comments are clear. Parenting a teenager can be a lot easier if you work with your teen, not against him. Like the rest of us, teenagers want to know they're being heard. (If you can use more strategies for parenting teenagers, please see the author's resource box following this article.)

Parenting a teenager is a bit of a detective game. Check your own behaviors and words to see if you are exhibiting any of the signs Cindy talks about that makes her stop listening to her parents. Be honest with yourself.

Watch closely during the interactions you have with your teen. Take note of when the conversation closes down. Is your teenager really done talking or has something you’ve said or done made her put up an emotional wall?

This may seem like a lot of hard work to you and you’re right, it is. But you are the adult in this situation and it’s up to you as the parent to show your teen how relationships work. You are in charge of the communication tools that can get your teenager listening to you.

Be interested in your teenager and his life. It may take awhile for your teen to respond to you, but hang in there. Believe me, it’s worth the investment of time and energy.

Here's another powerful idea that you can try today. How about asking YOUR teen what makes her stop listening to you? Do you have the courage to hear the answers?

I’ll bet you do. Sometimes the hardest part is getting started. Here's what you need to know: when it comes to parenting a teenager, listening gets easier with practice.

So go give your teenager a hug and ask him a question that requires you to listen.

You can do it! And your teen will come to love you for it.

Author's Bio: 

Colleen Langenfeld has been parenting for over 26 years and helps other moms enjoy mothering more at http://www.paintedgold.com . Visit her website and grab more strategies for parenting a teenager today.