Parenting Vivian | 06 Oct 2010 06:26 am

A Parenting Tip On How Help Connect To Your Teen

“Don’t talk when your mouth is full!” My mother and father (older brother and sister and whoever else was at our dinner table) told me this phrase so many times when I was young that while I’m writing it more than forty years later, I can still hear and almost see them saying it.

It surely is ingrained in me that this is improper table etiquette however I see with my children, especially teenagers, that they seem to only talk when there stomach is full. A very powerful way to get them to speak about there day and what is bothering them is to get some food in their stomach, especially chocolate and sweets.

This isn’t only an illusion, but there is a sound scientific explanation for this. We have in our brains neurotransmitters called endorphins which act like morphine (endorphin is a contraction of two words; endo(genous) + (mo)rphin(e) which means “the morphine within”) and they reduce pain and produce an euphoric feeling. One way that this hormone is released in the brain is with exercise (hence a “runner’s high”).

Another way that it is released is by eating chocolate! Chocolate contains a chemical called phenylethylamine that causes the endorphin response that is similar to the feelings experienced with a hug or being in love. Therefore when they (and we) eat chocolate they feel loved, good and happy and this mood allows for good conversation.

Before you try this, however, make sure that your teen doesn’t believe that chocolate causes acne. Scientists today believe that the “chocolate- acne” connection is only a myth, but if your teen is convinced that there is a connection and she suffers from acne, then if you even offer it to them you will only destroy any close feeling that the chocolate creates.

Obviously you can’t expect to have a great relationship with your child by only feeding them chocolate. Good relationships are made by caring for them, listening to them (usually non judgmentally) and respecting their feelings. I’m only suggesting that you also give them some chocolate to help the relationship but not as a replacement for the necessary elements of a good relationship.

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