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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 (21-30):
by on Aug. 1, 2012 at 8:04 PM

We have dinner every night so we can talk and we talk when we are driving too.

by on Aug. 1, 2012 at 9:46 PM

So far it is not a problem, but she is only 5.

by on Aug. 1, 2012 at 9:48 PM

 when we are riding in the car, I keep the radio off.  This allows us to talk about whatever is on their mind

by on Aug. 2, 2012 at 12:23 AM

 I always make sure to just talk to my kids and let them know I am interested in their lives....

by on Aug. 2, 2012 at 2:45 AM

my kids are still young and I can't get my 4 year old to not talk sometimes. LOL

by on Aug. 2, 2012 at 8:51 AM

I talk just talk to them.. ask questions even they get annoyed

by on Aug. 2, 2012 at 12:05 PM

 My son doesn't speak much at all, hes 21 mths. I hope once he finds his voice/words he'll want to tell me everything. I am very close with my mom and still tell her everything

by on Aug. 18, 2012 at 12:17 PM

I need some help on this one. I use to be able to sit down at the table with all three boys in the morning and at dinner time but now that I am helping out family and letting them stay with me it seems to be so hard to even do those things. I have a 2 bedroom 1 bath apt and i am helping out my sister and her bf with there little one, my mom, and her dog. then its me my three boys and daugter and  my husband with our dog. You think I have my hands full. It seems the only time i can talk with my boys is when i take them to the bus stop and pick them up from the bus stop other wise it way to crazy in the house lol. Any one have any idea of other ways i can talk with them. 

by on Aug. 19, 2012 at 2:05 AM
I'm working on it with my DS. It's getting better.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by on Aug. 20, 2012 at 7:48 AM

My children are all still pretty young.

We're working on ways of communicating though.

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