Parents often forget what it was like to be a teenager as the pressures of social conventions tend to color every other concern adolescents may have.
For the parents who do remember what it’s like, it’s often hard to convince your teenager that you were in fact their age once, and could possibly understand what they’re dealing with.
Here are a few strategies for communicating for effectively with your teens when it seems like the last thing they want to do is talk.
Parents have to remember that if they constantly blow up or reprimand their child for mistakes they’ve made, they’re going to be less inclined to open up to us.
It’s possible that teens are worried that their parents will react poorly to whatever is upsetting them, causing them to shut down.
A helpful strategy may be to confront that fear head on by asking, “Are you worried that I’ll have a bad reaction?” Teens may also be worried about negative consequences should they share bad news, whether it be studying or a sticky situation that a friend got into.
Reserve your judgement and try to offer help and support so your teens know that it will be ok to come to you with problems in the future.
Another thing that might keep your teenaged children from sharing with you is their fear that you will share their stories. Parents should foster a sense of confidentiality, barring the few situations where it might cause significant harm if you don’t share.
If parents show demonstrate to their children that they respect their confidentiality, they will be less likely to withhold information in the future.
Most importantly, if your kid has a bad afternoon here and there, it probably doesn’t indicate anything serious, in fact, asking them to bring up an incident that happened at school may make the healing process a little longer.
If your child seems to be down day after day, it is working investigating the cause of their sadness further, but otherwise, just remember that we all have a bad day sometimes, and that’s ok.