As your outgoing, friendly child matures into a teenager, his personality might change. He might become more hesitant to share information, preferring to keep the details of his life private. However, parental involvement -- and communication -- are essential components of a healthy family life for a teen. If you find yourself struggling to connect with your teen, try starting unexpected and thought-provoking conversations to get him to open up. Several subjects can help parents and teens reconnect.
Your teen will open up when you engage her in conversation about her interests. What intrigues her? Talk to her about her upcoming volleyball season. Ask her pointed questions about her favorite class or subject. Find out her thoughts on her favorite book, television show or movie. These subjects might not be heavy, but that's a good thing -- the lightweight nature of these topics will encourage your teen to share more freely. You aren't judging or disciplining her, you're simply looking for someone to chat with.
Talking to your teen about more long-term topics from time to time is beneficial as well. Ask your teen about his short- and long-term goals when the opportunity strikes. Your teen is not always going to want to talk about these topics, but certain situations make such serious conversations seem more appropriate. The beginning of a school year or a new summer job gives you the opportunity to ask your teen about his goals for classes or work and how those goals align with what he sees himself doing once school or his part-time job is complete.
Your teen might not want to share details of her social life with you, but asking occasional questions about her friends will help you stay in touch with her lifestyle. More importantly, knowing who her friends are and what they are doing will help prevent problems or poor decision-making. When your teen returns from a social engagement, ask if she enjoyed it, what she did and who she spent her time with. Don't ask probing or accusatory questions; simply take an interest in your teen's activities. When you do, she will be more likely to share.
With smartphones always in their hands, teens are on top of what's going on in the world. Engage your teen in conversation about current events. He will start to show interest in serious topics, such as politics and war, and likely will have questions about these topics. Mix in more lighthearted pop-culture subjects with these more heavy topics, allowing you to stimulate your teen's thinking and develop his conversational skills.
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