How To Get Teenagers To Open Up

Teenagers
Teenagers

They love you, then they hate you. Can’t teenagers just make up their minds? When your children enter adolescence, you may start to notice the behavioral changes that characterize the typical teenage psyche.

In particular, teenagers often begin to pull away. You may hear less and less about their day, and one of the most frustrating changes is when the teenager does not turn to you for help. This can actually feel heartbreaking, but this behavior is not personal. In fact, there is a sense in which it is incredibly healthy. Teenagers stop talking to their parents as much during these years in order to separate them. They apply the problem-solving skills that they have learned to become an individual, which will hopefully serve them well in adulthood.

These changes in behavior are necessary for your child to become able to eventually move away or leave for college. Yet, as a parent or guardian, it is natural that you still want to know what is happening in your child’s life. Here are some tricks to get your teenager to open up through this challenging period of separation.

Get close to their friends’ parents

Your teenager will likely open up to other parents about their life, almost solely due to the fact that they are not you. Try to get acquainted with these people. If your teenager spends time at a friend’s house after school, then you can easily get to know the friend’s parents by offering the same hospitality. Who knows? Maybe their teenager will think that you are the “cool” parents!

In cases where the apple does not fall far from the tree, you may find that you get along with your teenager’s older acquaintances quite well due to your similar views of people. Try to make a pact to check in with the other set of parents about their teenagers as well.

Get a tutor

Younger tutors can be more than just a great help to your child’s grades—teenagers often look up to tutors in their ‘20s. Many tutors are undergraduate or graduate students looking for extra work. Try to find a tutor that you know your child will like. At the company I worked for, we would often receive specific requests for tutors that were young and fun so that teenagers would actually pay attention. Do not be afraid to request tutors that fit a similar description.

Over time, you may find that your teenager will open up to this person. Since you are paying them, you are completely within your rights to ask what was discussed. When teenagers open up about their classes, they will often open up about their teachers. If your teenager strongly dislikes a teacher, this can easily lead to reduced enthusiasm during class. Teenagers may even open up about their friends and social events. Make sure not to reveal to your teenager that you are checking up on them, however. They need to feel that they are separating slowly from you, but that does not mean you cannot keep a watchful eye from a distance.

Try the non-judgemental approach

When you know something is bothering your teenager, it may be difficult to find out what it is—getting teenagers to open up can feel like pulling teeth. It is challenging for teenagers to admit to themselves that they still need their parents. When you approach your teenager about the problem, be sure to demonstrate empathy, and state that you are not hearing them out in order to judge them—you are there to listen. Depending on the problem, you can decide for yourself if you intend to follow through!

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