An article published by Dosomething.org about teens and self-esteem noted that teen girls wish to have more frequent and open communication with their parents. I believe that this is true for teen boys as well. As a mom of a teen boy, I know that it often seems as if the last thing that teens want to do is talk to their parents. Communication is often minimal, superficial, and less than polite.
After being frustrated about this problem for a few years, recently I learned that in reality my son does indeed want to communicate with me. He wants to ask questions and share information—yes, even personal stuff. What he does not want is me to ask, pry, judge, scold, or lecture. He wants a stress-free conversation. I figured out how to do this with him.
Listen a lot and say little. Whether I initiate the conversation or he does, I do much more listening than talking. I make sure I make the points I need to, but I do it with as few words as possible. I have found that if I maintain a detached, yet reassuring attitude, he is much more forthcoming.
Don't talk. Write. When my son is hesitant about asking or telling me something, he sometimes prefers to text or email me. Not wanting this type of communication to be strictly electronic, I gave him a journal and suggested that if he wants to tell me something or ask me something, but does not want to talk, simply write in the journal. I then respond in it. You know what? It works!
Being able to communicate with parents about challenges is important for self-esteem. Kids crave healthy communication. They know they do not have all of the answers.
What strategies do you use to communicate with your “hard-to-communicate” with tween or teen?