Teen Reluctance Can Spark Parent Frustration
Created by: Daniel J. Bernhardt Category: Teens Created on: Tue, 01/31/2012 Time: 07:00 PM
A day doesn’t go by when a parent doesn’t want to connect with their teen, the question is often how do it? It is not easy for a parent to come along side their teen and begin a conversation or ask questions without receiving resistance, reluctance or just anger in response.
Don’t worry, this is very common. It is important for parents to be prepared that these won’t be easy years, times filled with great conversation or times in which teens respond positively to their parents. But don’t be fooled, your teen is listening. It just many times is not ‘cool’ to talk with your parents.
Teens are very guarded but typically want nothing more than to allow mom or dad into their life. Teens push back against boundaries but in reality want nothing more than to know mom or dad cares.
Here are some ways that parents can begin conversations with their teens:
1. Try talking with your teen about ‘neutral’ topics, not every conversation has to be about feelings or relationships. Use topics from things going on around the home or that you know are of interest with your teen: a favorite movie, weekend plans, sermon at church, etc.
2. Use more open ended questions, ones that do not require a yes/no answer. Many times when a parent asks a teen a yes/no question, they will only get that yes/no response. Broaden the questions: How’s life going for you, what is difficult for you? How is basketball going, how are the team’s prospects? What might be the best movie out right now, why?
3. You may want to start with taking the focus off of your teen, ask about a friend, a teacher, a class. For example: What is it that you like the best about (fill in the blank)? What is best about (fill in the blank with a class)? Many times once you get your teen talking, the conversation can easily shift to him/her and really without them truly knowing it.
4. Take the wind out of their sails. What I mean is that if something has happened and it might be predictable that you want to talk about a certain topic or issue, don’t even go there, or go in a direction that your teen would least expect. Be honest, take responsibility for any errors you might have made and it will model that they too can do the same.
5. Be genuine. Allow your teen to know that you really care and are not just trying to pump them for information. Allow them to get to know you more, this can become reciprocal and it will amaze you!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel has extensive experience in the counseling field, spanning the past ten years. He has treated a vast array of populations in a variety of treatment settings. Daniel is currently the Clinical Director of an outpatient mental health clinic. He oversees all clinical and administrative programming. Daniel is an adjunct faculty member with Grand Canyon University in which is teaches both graduate and undergraduate students in the fields of Psychology and Counseling.