Talking to teens can seem like a dream or a nightmare. Here are a few ways you can open the doors of communication with a reluctant teenager.
So often the conversations that we try to have with our teens surround heavy topics like emotions, choices, and relationships. But not every discussion needs to be about these things. Talk about a movie that you saw together and discuss the characters. Read a book that you know your teen has read and discuss the plot twists. Take an article out of one of the magazines your teen is reads and discuss it. Share thoughts on a musician or group your teen listens to. What if you’re lacking these commonalities? Ask questions. Everyone likes to talk about themselves and their interests, so ask your teen about something you know they’re passionate about.
Meals at The Table
Eating as a family encourages conversation while lightening the burden from one person to many people, the idea is to reduce the pressure placed upon your teen to share. Think of a few questions to ask everyone, but be prepared for all sorts of answers. It’s during these times that it’s important not to judge perceptions, beliefs, or ideas. This could kill the conversation.
Phrasing the Question
It’s easy to get caught with one word answers from our kids when we’re trying to talk about something. One way to avoid this is by asking open ended questions that require more than a yes or no answer. If they still won’t answer questions about themselves utilize neutral open-ended questions.
When the problem isn’t that our teen won’t speak, but more that they’re never around long enough for a conversation then one way to spark a discussion is driving. Offer to drive them to their next event or activity. It’s difficult to physically avoid a conversation with you when they’re in the car, so this could be a great opportunity to use the other tips to engage in substantial conversations with your teen.