They never tell
me anything! is a common lament
from parents of adolescents.
This is especially true
of many teenage boys
who seem to have perfected
the art of the monosyllabic grunt
as an answer to everything. But girls
can be just as uncommunicative
If you feel you’re losing touch:
- Try not to patronise – they’re not children so talk to them like the young adults they are.
- Don’t keep asking questions – it sounds like a cross-examination and is alienating.
- Give them a chance to speak especially if there are other children making demands on your attention.
- Don’t answer for them or assume you know the answer if someone else asks them a question.
- Talk while you’re doing something together like the washing up, or make comments when you’re watching a TV programme to find out what they feel about something – like getting drunk – without making it personal.
- Show an interest in what they’re doing but try not to pry.
- Chat to their friends when they visit but don’t use their language – “cool” is so dated and “uncool” from adults.
- Resist the temptation to ask one of their friends something that you want to know from your son or daughter.
- Leave notes – you may even get a written response.
- Text them – not so intrusive as a phone call to their mobile when they are out with their friends.
- Above all listen and think about what they are saying before you reply. Don’t feel you have to comment on everything straightaway. If it’s something you’re not sure about, bring up the subject again when you’ve had time to work out how you feel.
- And finally, keep talking – teens do grow out of their silent phase!