Do you sometimes find your teens difficult to reach? Teens are often reticent
to talk about their day at school or about their lives in general. Your
questions may be met with ‘I don’t know’ or monosyllabic
answers that make conversation a chore. However, it is essential that
you ask questions and remain interested to keep those lines of communication
open. There are ways you can encourage sharing and help facilitate conversation.
Listen more than you talk
Your natural instinct is always to offer advice, to comment or to criticize
in order to help your teens make the best choices. Their lack of desire
to converse may be because they don’t want your advice right now.
One of the best ways to encourage communication is simply to listen, without
offering any kind of judgment or advice unless these are specifically
Clear the path
Another good way to encourage communication is by making time for the two
of you. Offer to go shopping, watch a movie, have brunch, play a sport
or participate in any activity that your teen loves without other family
members. Just making time for the two of you will help your teen feel
like you are really interested in them and that you are taking an interest
in their lives.
Timing is everything
Bombarding your teen with questions after a long school day is probably
not going to end well. Teens are tired when they get home and may need
some time to recharge before they are ready to talk. If they seem uncommunicative,
let them unwind a little at home before you fire away.
Ask the right questions
If general questions like: “How was your day?” render only
superficial answers, try asking more specific questions.
You can ask about specific friends and classmates and how they are doing.
Ask about teachers, assignments or classes. Show that you really do listen
by bringing up previous conversations for example: “I know you were
worried about how Mr. Smith would react to your science fair idea. Did
he like it?”
If school topics are fraught with tension, talk about other subjects and
things that are of interest to your child.
Most teens have a tendency to be self-centered or perhaps they are just
a little too touchy or emotional for you. But you must remember that their
feelings are very real and valid. Whether you agree with their opinions
or reactions, always be respectful. Dismissing their feelings will only
serve to alienate them and make them feel like you can’t relate.
As with all situations and people, teenagers will respond best to patience,
kindness and love.
Pic by Audio Luci Store