I went on a walk with my 17 1/2 year old son last night, and the coolest thing happened. He talked to me about really important stuff; college, friends, work, money, life values. Holy shit- if I had paid him a million dollars, I wouldn’t have gotten as much information out of him. Parents are always asking tons of questions to their kids, and it is usually followed by very short answers. I have recently learned to stop talking so much and start listening. But it gets tough to listen when they won’t talk. So below are a few suggestions/ideas to get even the most tight lipped teenager to talk.
1. Do something THEY want (or enjoy) doing. Spencer was going for an evening walk last night, and he asked me if I wanted to join. Not really something I wanted to do at 8pm, but private one on one time with him is so infrequent that I hopped at the chance. Carpe Diem..
2. Don’t ask too many questions when you are doing their preferred activity. This is when their defenses are down, because of this, you will get a more authentic child without their guard up. This is when they will start talking without you even asking. Its a beautiful thing, they will come to you.
3. Be sure to get to know some facts about their hobbies, likes and dislikes, (or fears) so you have some common ground to talk about down the road.
4. Finally, don’t push, let the magic happen all on its own.