How to Encourage Your Teen to Talk to You More

How to Encourage Your Teen to Talk to You More September 13, 2019

No matter how aloof your teen seems to be, remember that they want you to be part of their lives—and do the work to get there.

The teens told me that they secretly wanted their parents to be a part of their world. They would never say that out loud, of course! But almost all (94%) said that if they could wave a magic wand, the perfect situation would be one in which their parents actively made an effort to be involved with them.

I heard hundreds of examples of what that could look like—anything from regularly texting about their day to a willingness to play video games with them (“especially when I know gaming isn’t really my mom’s thing!”). But there was a clear common denominator: we need to reach out to them. We have to insert ourselves into their life, their world, their way of doing things, rather than expecting them to jump into ours. If your 13-year-old daughter communicates with her friends primarily via social media apps and text, then make a point of reaching out to her that way. If your 17-year-old son always has on a pair of headphones, listening to music, ask him to let you know when he gets to one of his favorite songs so you can listen in.

Even if your relationship with your teen is difficult right now, these efforts can pay big dividends later. One teenage boy described years of poor life choices and how his parents always showed they were there for him, no matter what. As a result, he realized, “I need my parents. I need their assurance, their backup, their support.” He also realized something else I heard from many kids, “[And] because they’ve been there, I can talk with them about anything.”

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