As they hit the high school years, moms of teens know our once chatty kids can become aloof or too busy to connect. They have irregular work hours, a challenging class load, and are busy with friends and dates.
There are moments though, to capture.
Make a point to greet your teen when they get home, even if it’s an odd time. My son’s curfew was 11:30PM, so I always stayed up to say, “hello” when he arrived. If he got home from work at 8:30PM and was ravaging through the refrigerator for something to eat, I would sit down with him while he ate.
When my teen did homework, I’d offer to help. Sometimes we’d do foreign language flashcards, study for a test, or read aloud a chapter in his book just to have time with him. We would end up sharing stories and talking about our experiences relating to the material.
- Does your teen feel like you’re always asking questions? Focus on complimenting them and thanking them instead. Tell them a positive story you remember about them. Show interest in their opinion on a subject.
- Become an observer of them. Notice and listen to their non-verbal communication: their eyes, mood, heart, tone of voice, and touch. It might totally change your approach when relating to them.
- Be willing to hear the short answer. If they don’t feel like talking, prying it out of them won’t elicit a different attitude.
- Also, consider making your point brief. Just because they don’t appear to be taking it in, it doesn’t mean they didn’t hear you. Belaboring your point won’t make it any more helpful the second time around.
Parenting a teenager can be challenging especially when they aren’t very talkative. ‘Being there’ and listening helps them through these transitional years growing up. Although they’ll always be your son or daughter, soon they will be amazing, mature adults who’ve made it through the teen years with your support.
Keeping the door open for conversation,
More on Talking with Teens – Conversation Starters.
Stephanie Allen is Co-founder and President of Dream Dinners and a New York Times best-selling co-author of The Hour that Matters Most. Naturally a visionary and optimist, Stephanie hopes to inspire America through her nurturing voice of encouragement, assuring families… “You’re doing a great job!”