Communicate With Your Teen Not Kevin

Teenage years are really confusing for parents and teens alike.  Kids that once seemed open and full of sharing can just withdraw.

I remember hiding away with my books or just going out, giving no more than the essential need to know information. Feeling alive one day then crawling into bed the next, not wanting to see daylight ever again!

As parents, our only concern is to keep those lines of communication open. But most parents struggle to get something other than one-word responses and grunts from their teens. Remember Kevin…


A delicate touch is needed when approaching your teen. (makes them sound like a wild animal doesn’t it) Engaging your child in conversation without putting them on the defensive or causing them to withdraw some more is a bit of an art. While this can be somewhat challenging, the rewards are great, and you stop feeling the need to tiptoe around them and different subjects all this time!

Here are a few key strategies you can adopt to ensure that you foster healthy communication with your teens.

Ask Indirect Questions to Start a Conversation. Teenage years

If you ask your teenager a direct question, you’ll probably end up with a one or two-word response. Your goal should be about encouraging them to chat about things from broader perspectives. Engaging your child in a conversation about a particular issue? Then Consider asking them about something related but not directly tied to the subject. (sneaky) This tact will ease them into a discussion of what’s on their mind or yours!

Talk About Their Interests. Teenage years

Take an interest in your teen’s interests. If they have a hobby or are doing something you don’t know about, Then take an interest! Consider learning more so you can ask them questions about their activities. Keeping in the know will give you another handle on whats going on in their lives without appearing controlling or interfering.

Listen and Avoid The Lecturing. Teenage years

Most teens will shy away from conversations if they expect that a lecture could be on the way. You need your teen to know that you are interested in what they have to say. Withhold your judgment at first and allow them to speak their mind.

Pay Attention to the Non-Verbals. Teenage years

Teens send you many messages about what is on their mind through non-verbal communication. Engage them in conversation by putting your arm around them or patting them on the back, encouraging them to open up to you.

Your goal is sending the message to your teen that you are providing a safe and nurturing environment so they can share their most profound concerns, fears and interests without fear of reprimands or judgments. Taking the time to accept your teen’s feelings, even if you don’t agree with them all the time, will help them to open up and listen to you. But also avoid jumping in and offering suggestions immediately. Instead, encourage them to look for answers positively helping them along the way.

You can also encourage your teen to share more by sharing with them your daily tidbits and insights into your life. Consider asking their advice or opinion on things.

You’d be surprised how much easier it is to get teens to open up once you adopt a few time-tested strategies. Provide your kids with a nurturing and loving environment, and they will more readily welcome you into their life.