Being a teen is tough and I would know — I am one!
I also know that parenting a teen is even tougher. As a parent, you have the constant responsibility of making sure your kids stay on track and staying physically and emotionally stable. In their teen years, your kids can handle most of their problems on their own and your job as a parent is to guide your kids in making good choices when obstacles arise.
Let’s face the facts; it’s not easy to communicate with your teen! Oftentimes, your teen won’t even want to talk or will simply only give you one word answers. Here are some reasons why your teen may want to be left alone, as well as some tips on how to get along and communicate in the process.
“How Was Your Day?”
Whether it be in the car on the way home from practice, when your teens walk in the door after school, or at the dinner table, this question is inevitable. Sometimes, their day went great and they have a funny story to tell, sometimes they have an extra fact to share, and then there is always the plain old answer of “good” and that’s all you will ever get out of them. You might even ask “just good?” with the response of just a boring “yeah.” Question after question, your teen still won’t budge. Sometimes you might get the response of “I just don’t want to talk about it right now” or “I’m just tired.” Don’t stress. It’s normal for teens to act this way from time to time. If they did have a bad day, they will be willing to talk to you about it when they are ready to talk about it.
Usually when your teen is not responding to the “how was your day?” question, the next question you will probably ask them is “what’s wrong?” DON’T. Oftentimes you will hear your teen respond with “nothing” or “It’s not that” and then “I just want to be left alone.” (This is followed by a long walk to their rooms where they close the door and you don’t see them until the next morning.) That’s OK! In fact it’s quite normal. Teens come home after a long day of school, sports, with whatever obstacles that may have come up during the day, knowing that they still have a pile of homework to do — and it’s already 8 o clock at night! Teens and young adults experience stress, too.
What They Really Want
Teens appreciate and like to have alone time just like everyone else. It’s nice to know that your parents love you and want to make sure you are OK, but it’s also nice to have space. Teens like the time alone to figure things out. It’s hard to leave your teen bottled up in their room when you know something is bothering them. . Be strong; your teen knows that you love them, and you must know that they love you too. My brother always said that the more my dad pried his brain as to what was wrong with him, the more he pulled away from openly talking to my dad. The less you talk and pry, the more they will eventually want to talk. The most you can do is just let them know that you love them and are here for them. When they are ready to talk, they will talk to you.
Of course it’s OK to check on your teen even though they want to be left alone. Bring them up some dinner or maybe a desert to that show you care if you need to. One way to get your teen to talk about a problem is by breaking the ice. Try telling them a personal story about your day in a casual manner on a level that they can relate to. Showing them that you are opening up to them about part of your day may make them feel more comfortable to open up and talk to you about an obstacle they are facing. Being a teen, I know it’s always been easier for me to talk to my mother when she levels herself down and admits that she too faces daily obstacles just like myself. Remember that being a family is also a friendship. Friendship brings trust, honesty and open communication. communication.