10 Ways to Help Your Teen Open Up

If you have a teenager at home, these might be particularly trying times, and you know how difficult it can sometimes be to communicate with them. However, now might be the most important time of all to communicate clearly and openly with your teen (and other family members). Make the most of your time together with these expert tips.

1. Keep dinner low-key.

Encourage teens to let down their guard by having casual, thrown-together meals instead of formal dinners.

2. Don’t play detective.

When your teen casually shares information, don’t pump them for more or grill them with questions.

3. Let your teen lead.

Talk about the things your kids want to talk about. Don’t put them on the spot or force talk-time.

4. Don’t criticize.

Find something that you can understand or affirm before offering alternative points of view.

5. Show interest in their interests.

Discovering common interests like music or movies can build trust and show support.

6. Avoid “should”-ing them.

Rather than immediately trying to provide solutions, simply listen to where they’re coming from.

7. Give information back.

Don’t just ask them about their day; tell them about yours as well. Conversation is a two-way street!

8. Be supportive.

Remember all the stupid things you did as a teen? Your kids are going to do them, too. Let them know you’re on their side.

9. Be Real.

Share your concerns, values and expectations sincerely, and do the same when you notice and acknowledge the good.

10. Keep at it.

Persistence is key, but don't be overbearing. Keep at it, and maybe they'll start coming to you to talk.