If you were to ask your adolescent how many questions are too many to ask, they would probably say ONE.
Most parents tell me that it is difficult to get information out of their adolescent. We quickly can become scared that they aren’t talking to us because they are hiding something bad they don’t want us to know. Or maybe, they don’t like us and that’s why they don’t want to talk to us.
I don’t believe those are the reasons most of our adolescents resist our questions. They are generally just not fond of interrogation and the rapid-fire nature of questions we launch on them. This technique will certainly turn them off.
Here are some thoughts on how to improve this dialogue.
If you begin your conversation with lots of questions, they will likely ignore you with the hope that you will stop asking questions. Instead, when you pick them up from school or any other activity, give them some room. What they will probably want to do is listen to music, get in touch with friends on their phone, or just defuse from a complicated adolescent day. This does not mean they are hiding anything. They just need some down time.
Emphasize other ways to connect without your teen that may not involve asking lots of questions.
- I always encourage family dinners together. They might not contribute too much but they will hear about everyone’s day and that keeps them connected to the family.
- Usually, the evening is the best time to initiate a brief conversation with your adolescent. Before they go to bed, a hug and encouraging comment might not produce a big talk but communicates that you love and believe in them.
- Whenever possible, offer to take them and their friends somewhere fun or wherever their plans take them. They will be grateful for your support and might be a little chatty on the way.
These suggestions might not include lots of talking but they have the potential to strengthen the bond between you and your adolescent. There are many levels to you providing security and support for your teen as they mature. Each day will offer new, brief opportunities!