How can I get my teen to open up to me?
Real Mom Problem
“My teen keeps everything to herself. She's moody and grouchy, and trying to engage her in conversation is like pulling teeth. She's never been one to discuss issues, but now it's even worse.”
- 1. Moms suggest your listening to the little things will encourage teens to open up to you about bigger issues
- 2. Active listening is important: stop whatever else you're doing and pay attention to your child
- 3. Find ways to connect with your teen, like mother-child date nights, volunteering together, or games
- 4. Moms say the car is a great place for deeper conversations
Real Mom Solutions
Do you wish your teen would open up to you more? Try these moms' strategies for getting your teen to talk.
Active Listening is Key
When your teen comes to you to talk, stop whatever it is you are doing and listen actively. If you continue to do this it shows you are interested in what they have to say and they are more apt to keep coming to you.
One thing that my oldest daughter told me and that I practiced religiously with my younger one: If you want your kids to come to you with the big stuff, you have to listen intently to the little stuff. Thirteen-year-old drama can make you want to roll your eyes, but don't! Remember that no matter how ridiculous it might sound, or how trivial, it's of vital importance to him. Girls, video games, friend drama, teacher problems, whatever -- listen like it's the most riveting thing ever, and pay attention. That's the key to them coming to you later when the chips are down.
Find Ways to Connect
Find things you can do to spend time together. Do one-on-one outings, play games, maybe find somewhere to volunteer together. Ask open ended questions, not yes/no answers.
Let your teen know you are interested in what he does. Do things together with him that allow him the chance to talk openly with you. Have fun with it.
More Helpful Tips
The car is a great way to open up. My teen and I have some of our best talks in the car.
Just keep letting your teen know that you love him and are there for him no matter what. Let him come to you. I also learned that talking while driving in the car is the best. There is no way for them to walk away. Talk to him about other things, newspaper articles you've read, TV shows, movies, etc. They listen more than you think. Spend time with just him. I do "date nights" with my son at least once a month.
I don't push my teen to talk. When I know something is bothering him I'll usually sit next to him and softly say, "Is something bothering you?" He usually says no. Then I'll say, "I know something is bothering you, I can't help you if you don't tell me what it is." Sometimes he'll open up, sometimes not. If he doesn't, I usually reassure him that whenever he wants to talk, I'm here. I won't judge, I won't get mad. If something is bothering him, I just want to help him. So far, he's always come to me. But make sure you DON'T judge. If your teen comes to you with a problem and you blow up at her, she won't come to you again. Stay as calm as you can and give her the best advice you can.
Just talk, find those teachable moments and talk about it. Even if your teen says nothing to you, he hears you.