How to Get Teens to Open Up

Do you feel like your teens and tweens have no interest in talking to you anymore? What is it about these years that makes kids not want to talk to their parents? Do you wish you knew how to get teens to open up?

It’s a well-known fact that teens are surly, grumpy, and too busy rolling their eyes to consider ever talking to their parents.  All parents can hope for are a few grunts as answers to their questions, right? 

Lots of people say that you just need to “get through” the teenage years as a parent.  Just grit your teeth and get through it. 

But is that right?  Could there be more? Could your teen actually enjoy talking to you?

I say yes.

But there’s a secret to getting them to talk and engage with you.  You have to let them take the lead.
Now you may be thinking, if I wait for them to take the lead, I’ll be waiting a long time.  So yes…some coaxing is involved.  But you’re not going to say “How was your day?” or “How was school?” or “Are you ready for your math test?”

Instead, you’re going to ask them what THEY want to be asked.  Stop and think about what THEY want to talk about.  With a little coaxing, you can get them to take the lead.

Try asking something like this: Can you show me how your game works? 
What’s your favorite song right now? Can you play it for me?
What’s the funniest video you saw today? Can you show me?

Stop and think about what THEY get most excited about and seem the most engaged in.  Maybe you secretly think it’s dumb, or maybe you don’t get it at all…so ask them to show you! This is how you can get teens to open up.

Show interest in their interests.  Let them feel like you want to understand them.

These little moments can help to create that comfortable feeling in your relationship so that when something more important comes up, they might actually talk to you about it.

Now…don’t get me wrong. This might feel strange at first.  When my daughter was ten or so I started letting her choose the music in the car, and we listened to a lot of Camila Cabello, Ariana Grande and Dua Lipa.  Not really my speed as a U2, The Police, Depeche Mode kind of girl myself. 

But now she’s older and we have so much fun talking about music. It turns out I love Taylor Swift too, and I never would have known it without my daughter!  And even better, she grew out of all that popstar diva stuff (except Taylor lol) and LOVES 80s New Wave just like her mom! Just last week she made a new playlist for us to listen to in the car.  It’s got Taylor as well as The Smiths and OMD.

And when my son was young I did my best to show interest in Minecraft.  And we watched all those dang Marvel movies during the pandemic…do you realize how many Marvel movies there are?!?

But now I’ve got a boy who loves to talk to me for hours about his online life with his Minecraft and Discord server which includes…wait for it…talking about HIS FRIENDS and what they all find funny and interesting.  He sends me texts with memes about those things because he knows I’m interested.  He tells me about the Star Wars series they’re watching together online and educates me on his theories about the characters.  I don’t understand it that well, but I try.  And I’m included.

I want to encourage you to give it a try.  If you feel like you aren’t connecting with your kids and they never talk to you…give it a try.  Stop trying to talk about what you want to talk about it (at least for a while) and figure out what THEY want to talk about. Keep trying, and eventually your teens will open up.

I’d love to hear your thoughts – please comment below! And if you found this helpful, please pin and share!

how to get teens and tweens to talk to you
how to get teens and tweens to open up
Need More Help Parenting Tweens and Teens?

More articles to help you through this challenging age:

How to Deal with Your Tween’s Bad Moods

Parenting Teens and Tweens Can Be Lonely

Ideas for Helping Teens and Tweens to Calm Down
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