Written by Doctor G

Reader Question: How Do I Get My Teen to Open Up and Talk to Me?

Do you struggle to talk with your teen opening up and talking with you? You aren’t alone! I got this reader question from Jennifer a few weeks ago and wanted to talk more about it.

Jenifer wrote:

How can we get our adolescents to open up and talk more?

I feel your pain! One of my kids was a talker. He talked and talked and talked when he was little, to the point where, if you didn’t hear him? It was because he was actually asleep. I always wondered where he got it from, until my mom came to visit. Her husband commented on my son, “Wow, he really talks a lot.” My mom looked me straight in the eye and said, “Not as much as his mother did.” Hmmm, imagine that!

Can any of you parents of littles relate?

Be careful for what you wish for (when you ask for silence from the kiddos) because inevitably for many kids, one day it STOPS and you can’t get your kid to give more than one word answers.

So, what happened?

This is common as kids get older, especially in boys. Once kids hit middle school, they start to keep more to themselves for many reasons. They don’t want to get friends in trouble or they aren’t sure if they will get in trouble. They want to have independence from their parents and some just want to be alone with their thoughts.

I know as a parent this can cause anxiety. This is an age where things can be happening that are scary (for parents and kids) and you may feel the silence means something is wrong. There are so many horror stories about kids and drugs, alcohol, and bullying that you want to be sure that you aren’t missing anything. You’re right, and I get it. Talking to our middle and high school kids is just as – or more – important than talking to our littles.

So in this video I address ways that you can get your kids to open up to you so you can talk about the big stuff later!

So, what do you think? Are you going to try these tips today when your kids get home from school?

Don’t wait for the hard conversations to put this into practice. By opening up communication now, you can be sure that those lines of communication are open when they really need you.

Not sure where to start?

Try this game that we play at our home. It’s called High – Low – High and it helps you get your kids to give you more than a one word answer. Each family member takes a turn at telling the others what their “high” of the day was. It could be something they love or that made them smile. Then they tell you the “low”. That may be something that bothered them or something that made them sad. Then finish off with another High or something exciting they are looking forward to.

Be sure to share your own High – Low – High with them!

This game avoids the “How was your day?” question that you know they are only going to give you an “OK” to. It also may lead to some clues about a situation that may be bothering them. After the game is over, ask some follow up questions about things they mentioned that you may be curious about.

I would love to hear how these tips worked for your kids! Share with me in the comments below or drop by my Facebook page to share! Do you have a parenting question? I’d be happy to help!

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