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Oh, talking. What a tangled web that can be.

I don't mean talking with your friends. For the most part, that's easy. Talking with coworkers, that can be a bit challenging - but nothing like getting your kids to open up to you. For some reason, children begin to view their parents as the enemy shortly after beginning their schooling, and the opportunities that you have to enjoy open and honest conversations about the things that may be on their minds simply vanish. Especially as the kids get older, they confide in their parents less and less.

What's a parent to do?

Many parents give up on the extended communication, vowing to let their child come to them when the time is right. I'm not such a big proponent of that. I think that we need to meet our children more than half way - in fact, I venture to say that we need to expend about 90% of the effort in the relationship. Asking your child to sit down and chat with you, though - can you feel me shaking my head "no" right about now? When those big questions come, most kids clam up and shut down. The face to face approach almost always results in a big, dead silence and avoided eye contact. Instead, here are some of my best methods to getting my kids to open up.

  • Go for coffee or breakfast - or lunch - Often what can't be said over the table at home, or as your daughter is jumping out of the car on the way to school, can easily be discussed over a cup of fancy coffee. I know that my own children feel like big shots when I take them out to breakfast or lunch one on one. It can be a great ice breaker to sit at the table in a coffee shop with a blended drink and a muffin.
  • Cook together - when you are cooking, you are focused on something else, and it takes away the "Deer in a headlights" look that many kids seem to get when you open a conversation. Ask your teen to help you make cookies, and often, the conversation can just take on a life of its own. 
  • Talk in the car - again, it's the best way to have a conversation that can be a little intense. If your focus is on the road, it's not on your child's face, and that can allow your child to open up and ask those difficult questions.
  • Text - This is trite, but it's really true. Often we can say things via text message that we might not have the courage to say with our voice. Tell your child that he can always send you a text if he can't find the words, and you'll be surprised at how opften your notifications will buzz.

 How do you make sure the lines of communication stay open between you and your kids?


by on Aug. 1, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Replies (11-20):
by on Aug. 1, 2012 at 1:38 PM
Sit down for dinner together...just chit chat throughout the day
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by on Aug. 1, 2012 at 2:01 PM
In the car when we are alone is the best time.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by on Aug. 1, 2012 at 2:22 PM

my kids are still young..we talk all day

by on Aug. 1, 2012 at 2:28 PM

My kids are toddlers. I hope as they get older they feel comfortable coming to me about everything.

by on Aug. 1, 2012 at 2:53 PM

These are great ideas.  Mine oldest is 6 years old and it seems the best place to talk to him after school is in the car.

by on Aug. 1, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Sounds like talking at the dinner table is a favorite in this group.

by on Aug. 1, 2012 at 3:03 PM

We just talk.. a lot. If I think something is on their mind, I sit them down privately and start asking questions. They are usually pretty happy to talk to me.. although my oldest dd is only 10.. we havent got to the teen years yet. 

by on Aug. 1, 2012 at 3:18 PM

We always talk about our day when we sit down for dinner. Also I make a point to stop by my teens room and check in with her one one daily. 

by on Aug. 1, 2012 at 3:31 PM

When they are upset I really try to listen and let them know I am there.

by on Aug. 1, 2012 at 4:41 PM

My girls still open up to me, but my oldest son is the one I am having trouble with. He is 20 and when I call him, he doesn't want to talk. Thankfully I have texting now on my phone, so I have found that texting gets some interaction and communication from him.

Sue ~ Head Admin
~ D.V. Survivor/Admin

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