Talk to Me: How To Get Your Teens to Open Up

By April Tisher

Remember when they were little and they wouldn’t stop talking? Or maybe you still have one of those non-stop chatters. For many children, the older they get the less they begin to share with their parents about their day; this is often especially true for boys. At the end of the school day, you may be interested in hearing about what went on during their day but are met with a “fine” when asking, “how was your day?” We are often advised to use open-ended questions, meaning ones that cannot be answered with a one-word answer. Examples like “who did you have lunch with today?” or “what did your teacher say about your assignment?” will at least hopefully emit a few sentences from them. But what if that still doesn’t work and you feel like you are missing out on important factors in their day-to-day lives? What other strategies can you use to get your teens to open up?


Carpe Diem: Seizing the day also works with your kids

Take the opportunity when it presents itself, small little moments that may seem insignificant to some are the perfect time to strike up conversation. You don’t have to prepare for a “big talk” which may seem daunting for you and your child. They are less likely to speak freely when they feel pressured to do so. also suggests “engaging in fun activities together as a great opportunity to talk.” Go on a bike ride together, go bowling or just being one on one with your teen gives them the space to open up. If there are siblings in the house, take some time alone with your teen; they are more inclined to share details of their life with you when there are no other ears listening.

Connect with your child over something they are interested in

Chances are your kiddos know more than you do about the latest Netflix series, trending Tik Tok or Fortnite update. Ask them about it; you might be surprised at how much they are willing to tell you about things they are excited about. Feign interest if you have to, but it is easier to keep them talking about more important things if they are already talking to you. You may learn a lot from them and they will like that you cared to ask. It also allows you to keep a better track of their activities if you have insight of the latest pop culture.

Bond over common interests

If your child plays a sport, or instrument ask them about an important player, controversial call or upcoming performance. Maybe you also played the same sport or were in the same club in school. You can show them pictures or share strategies you used. They may laugh at your antiquated ways, but it will get them talking. Watch a game or show that you both like (and maybe the rest of the household doesn’t) and talk more about what is happening with the main characters in their everyday lives.

At the end of the day remember that these days feel long, but the years are short. Staying connected with your teens isn’t always easy, but it is worth it!


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