One of the ladies in our homeschool group recently asked about how to get your teenage daughter who is struggling with her identity to share what all she is struggling with when she doesn’t know how to share. While I am not an expert, I do have some good friends who shared great advice with me that I thought I would pass on.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was LISTEN WHEN THEY WANT to talk. This usually happens around bedtime for some reason. We have a tendency to think “they are just trying to get out of going to sleep” and so we shut them off. Other times we might be tired and ready for the end of the day. But the fact is, that this is when many teenagers feel most comfortable talking. Once I got over the mindset of “you’re just trying to get out of going to bed,” my daughter and I had some of the most deepest and best conversations ever.
ALSO, teens don’t necessarily like to look you in the face when they are talking. It is difficult for them to share AND look at you. Another friend suggested driving in the car late at night. Taking the teen with you when you go grocery shopping (or out for ice cream) and drive around while you are looking at the road and give them the opportunity to talk. There are times when I am just “wasting” gas because I keep driving because she has finally opened up about something bothering her.
Don’t give up. It’s too easy to just assume that she’s a teen and teens close off. That is NOT true. And don’t let it be true in your house. Relationship is sooooo important. Let her know that you are there for her.
One other thing, which I have previously shared in more detail on this blog, is some advice I got from Yvonne. If your teen is not opening up to you, it could be because they don’t feel you will listen. If you are on the computer when they come talk to you SHUT YOUR LAPTOP. Or put your screen in sleep (this is very easy to do by assigning a hot spot where as soon as the mouse the moved to a corner, the screen goes to sleep). This was a huge issue in our family, and the changes as a result have been incredible. All of my children open up to me now because they feel I not only am listening, but I truly care.