Summer is over and school is back in session! (Although here in the South, we’re still in the high 90’s and feeling nowhere near fall-like!) And our teens, like it or not, are back in the routine of middle or high school. Backpacks have been broken in, lunchboxes/headphones/power cords/permission slips have already been lost (and hopefully found) and afterschool activities and clubs are in full swing. So, are your kids coming home and filling you in on all the little details that make up their days—other than the lost stuff, I mean?
When my kids were younger, they bubbled over with information and excitement, offering a detailed play-by-play of everything that happened from what was served in the lunchroom to who they played with on the playground. I loved all the details! It made me feel like I was a part of their day. But when they got to be teenagers? Not so much. I felt like there were times when I had to channel my inner investigative reporter to pry information out of them.
In addition to having two teenagers of my own, I’ve interviewed and surveyed about 3,000 of them for For Parents Only and other books, and discovered that the condition homo teenagesapiens silenticus (otherwise known as “being a teenager who is uninformatively silent”) affects many members of the adolescent species. And often times, their silence is most impenetrable when we most want them to share!
But I’ve also discovered that there is a way to crack open the floodgate of words. Actually, there are lots of ways… more than we can cover here. But two crucial tactics make a huge difference overall. Without them, it will be harder for any other efforts to work. With them, you have a much greater chance of hearing what’s in your child’s heart, now and over time.