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Five Rules For Grabbing the Gab With Your Kids

Parents complain that their kids stop talking to them at a certain age, usually tweens and teens. These five rules will help you keep the conversation going:

  1. Respond to information they tell you without being judgmental, watch your tone of voice and your facial expression. Sally just told you her fifteen year old friend had sex last night – your job is to keep a blank expression, nod, and let her tell you what she thinks. Reserve the lectures for another time!
  2. Respond to any conversation your child starts no matter when or where it is or how inconvenient it is for you. Teenagers get the urge to share information – that passes very quickly to another person if you are not available. Available means actively listening with your whole being. Matthew will tell you about his new crush or he’ll go tell a friend instead. You may not get a second chance to listen to what’s on his mind right now.
  3. Put your own agenda aside. Kids hate lectures and if you are talking, it is probably a lecture to them.  Consider yourself to be floating with them down a current that they control, fighting it will only result in your drowning!
  4. Seize the moment!  The best conversations with teens happen in cars or in passing. Somehow, sharing important news is often easier for them to do when they are not facing you.
  5. Lower your expectations. Kids are internalizing a lot at this age and just don’t need to share as much information with you any more. If you follow the first four rules, they will share the important stuff!

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