I try to be as involved as possible in my children’s lives. I do not accept short answers when I ask them how their day has gone. I try to have conversations with them to know what’s really been going on in their lives, but it's not always so easy.
They are in their teens and sometimes, sharing about their lives is NOT something they're interested in doing.
Try A Different Approach
Since kids can be really stubborn about opening up, I've had to learn when to leave them alone and when to get them to engage without them realizing that they're doing it.
It has to be subtle and all about them!
For example, this morning, my younger child was very cranky and didn't want to talk. As I drove her to school, I asked her if she knew what was making her feel cranky. Of course, she gave me the usual teen answer, "I dunno".
Since I didn't want her to go off to school feeling down, I started telling her that I imagine that if her favorite stuffed animal were to come alive as all the toys did in the movie, "Toy Story", I imagine that her toys throw a party, which explains why her room is always messy.
She laughed at me as she heard me talk about her anime figures probably getting aggressive with her stuffed animals and threatening to rip them apart if they don't cooperate to set up a fort and things like that.
I know, I know, a bit out there, but it was working. I could see the corners of her mouth rising and before she knew it, she was adding to the story.
By the time we got to her school, she was laughing and a bit bummed out that we had to end our story.
Now, this may not work for all parents, but what I'm saying here is that as parents we need to find a way to talk about our kids' interests rather than our own to get them to open up.
It can be hard or out of your element, but if you want to have conversations with your kids or help them change their moods, you have to meet them at their happy place.
So, if your discussions need to be about the latest Kardashian show or the upcoming Marvel movie, then, go for it!
When we show interest and willingness to talk about our kids' interests they notice that we are paying attention and that we care about their likes and dislikes.
Believe me, I've had to sit through an hour-long play involving our dog, Bear, and seven American Girl dolls along with at least 12 stuffed animals. While that was an agonizing hour for me to sit on the floor to watch her play, I look back at those moments now with nostalgia because she's a teen now.
I realize that I learned a lot from her while attending those plays. I hope that you can create priceless memories and learn from your kids too.
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