While I’m away, readers give the advice.
On getting through to your teenager without harping:
One thing my father did all throughout my teen years was take a walk with me after dinner. He said HE needed to get some more exercise and was more likely to get it if he had company.
I enjoyed having 45 minutes of his time every night. I knew I would have a chance to talk to my Dad every evening. More to the point, I knew that time was important to him. I was important to him.
I was very fortunate to have a mother whom I called the “Kitchen Table Psychologist,” because she was able to tap into our emotions to enable us to “vent.” She was nonjudgmental and understood the basic need to express our emotions, and perhaps problem-solve, but as soon as the words were out the “problems” were lessened by just putting them out on the table. She would say, “There is nothing that bad that we cannot talk about,” and it was usually not that bad.
She would usually end the discussion with a humorous anecdote, usually about herself, and we would have a good laugh at the end of the conversation. That was so great to have.