Get your kids to talk


Little kids can’t stop talking while teens speak in single syllables, most of the time incoherently. If you are looking for a way to get your kids to talk, try a new tactic. Here’s some good advice to change the tone and direction of the way you talk to your teen.

Mix it up by asking different questions

It’s easy to drop in to a routine of asking the same “How was school today?” question. Try something open ended and more specific.
- Did anything funny happen today?
- What do most kids do at recess?
- Did anyone bring something unusual for lunch?
- What did you do in science?
- Did anyone get in trouble today? What for?
- What was the toughest part of the day? The most fun?
- What’s one thing you did well today?

Take the pressure off while creating a safe place to talk

You can tell when something’s wrong, but resist the urge to launch right into it. Wait for your kid to come to you with his worries. If that doesn’t happen ask about it in a nonconfrontational way. “If you could magically erase three things that bother you, what would they be?” Maybe offer up your own choices from your life. Another suggestion is to start a joint journal. Many kids don’t want to talk about it, but they will write about it. What if you asked your question in a journal and waited for him to answer in the same journal? You could get a surprising response. Sometimes for kids hearing the words feels shameful and too revealing. Writing about it, back and forth, can help alleviate that tension.

Drop the eye contact

Talking face-to-face can make many kids, especially boys, feel like they are being interrogated. Sit side by side. Try doing something together like cooking dinner or taking a drive. When your child can look away, she can avoid adjusting to respond to your facial reactions. Listen, wait, put long silences into the conversation before answering. Sometimes your kids aren’t finished talking, they are just hesitating.
Source: Kerry Colburn


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