You enjoyed their chatter when they were little kids. Now they’re growing up, things are changing. They’re more reserved, more into playing video games or texting their friends.
How do you get your tween or teenaged kids to talk with you?
Tip #1: Take note of how your children throw conversational openings at you when they’re around 8 or older. How do you respond? Stay attentive to what they are saying, and talk to them. Let them know you hear what they’re saying and are interested. This is where you are building a long-term rapport with them. Kids who feel that you are focused on things you think are more important than they are will be uncommunicative when they hit their teens.
Tip #2: Ask real questions about their day, rather than saying “How was your day?” Spend time asking how that match went, or the dance class. Ask whom they had lunch with, and how that new teacher is. When they tell you, do listen.
Tip #3: When your child has come to you with a problem, let him talk first. After he’s finished, be proactive. Don’t push your solution. Let him work through what he sees as the solution and commend his problem solving skills. Make sure he knows he can always come to you, but don’t jump in with advice.
Tip #4: Make sure you spend time talking with each of your kids every day. Perhaps it’s over a glass of milk and cookies in the kitchen after they’ve got home from school. Or a chat before bedtime. Make that their time. Laugh, joke, give them time to talk with you about what they find interesting.
Tip #5: Make special time for each of your kids on a regular basis, doing something you both enjoy. If you’re a dad, take your daughter to brunch, or play basketball with her. If you’re a mom, make time to watch your son’s soccer game and drive him there and back. This is special time just for them and you.
Tip #6: Ask your kid what he or she would like to do with you. Make it casual, don’t say something like “You never spend any time with me and I’m your mom!” Take your daughter to the salon, or go bowling with your son.
Tip #7: If your teenager is upset and lashes out at you when you’ve made a friendly overture don’t lash back at her. She might have had a difficult day at school, or is worried about that test. Step back and give her space. Later when she’s in a better mood, gently let her know that you were hurt. She’ll probably apologize. Make sure she knows you love her and respect who she is.
Take time to eat together. Dinnertime is a great way to socialize with your kids! Quality time will build on the loving relationship you have with them.