A teen that won’t talk is among the most frustrating of parental challenges. When our children were small, we couldn’t shut them up; once they enter teen years, we can’t get them to open-up. Diplomatic parenting is a good option, if we want to find out what’s really going on inside their heads. If you are confused about how to deal with your teen’s silence, try really listening when they do talk.
Teens want Parents to Really Listen
Do you feel like you’re doing all the talking to a teen who isn’t listening? Would it surprise you to know that teens want to talk more, but feel that parents do all the talking?
It’s hard to hold our tongue when our kids decide to talk. Learning not to interrupt is even more difficult. But, it’s possible with practice.
For example, you overhear a telephone conversation about a friend who is using illegal drugs. A million questions come to mind and your initial impulse is to demand your kid to hang up. Instead, file the conversation away for a teachable moment.
Let your temper cool-off a few days and then suggest going out for a burger, just the two of you. After you’ve eaten, let your son know how much you love him and that you hope he takes care of his health and stays away from drugs. Rather than condemning his friend, or giving your son the third-degree, you are lovingly reiterating that you really care.
Pause the conversation and trust your teen to break the silence. The crux of diplomatic parenting is really listening.
Teens want Parents to be Available
Teenagers get rebellious and test parent’s limits. But, they also want parents to be available when they decide to talk. Diplomatic parenting is not a nine-to-five job.
How do you deal if your daughter breaks the silence and gets chatty at 10 PM on a school night? Rather than pulling rank and saying, “Sorry, bedtime. We’ll talk tomorrow,” the diplomatic parent makes cocoa and really listens.
To your teenager, all problems are critical. It’s important to reassure our kids that no matter when, where, or what time, we are their willing confidantes.
Alternate Methods of Communication
Adolescents have busy schedules. Between school, sports, part-time jobs and friends, parents miss their kids. When all your attempts to get involved in your teen’s life have stalled, consider communicating on a level they easily understand.
For example, send your son an e-mail, tell him you miss him and you would like to get together for a fun afternoon. You will have gained his attention and he’ll likely realize that he misses you.
Send a text message “I’m proud of you!” when your daughter reaches a milestone at school. Tuck loving notes in their backpacks.
Alternate methods of communication reinforce diplomatic parent’s good thoughts. Persist and your child will feel closer to you.
Diplomatic Parenting: Teens that won’t Open-up and Talk
Adolescence consists of an obstacle course to adulthood. Our kids must find their own identities in order to function in an adult world.
Diplomatic parenting isn’t about catering to kids every whim. When teens won’t talk, diplomatic parents learn how to deal with teen’s silence.
I know, I raised two of them and survived.
Source: Idea sparked by: “How to get your Kid to Open Up” Family Circle 2001