Health & Medical Adolescent Health

When Will My Teen Open Up To Me?

Adolescents are huge puzzles to most adults.
Teens talk non-stop one day, then do not talk for weeks on end.
At the same time that teens are shutting their parents out, they are in their rooms talking on the telephone for hours.
Why are teenagers such mysteries, and when will they open up to their parents? What parent hasn't wondered if their teenager is a lost cause? Why don't teenagers like to talk to their parents? Unfortunately, most adolescents do not like to be lectured at or told what to do.
Parents tend to bring up their own experiences, making it seem like they have all the answers for their teenagers.
Just what teens hate.
What teenagers really need is someone to listen to them, someone to help them figure out their own solutions to their problems, without judgement.
Is is hard to listen to a teen? You bet it is.
Try it.
First of all, teenagers do not talk in regular language.
They talk in teen codes, using words that are often unfamiliar to parents.
What about the teen's tone of voice? Usually, extreme.
One minute the adolescent sounds like the pause button is pushed by talking slowly, barely audible, and the next minute, the teen talks fast,with a huge amount of sarcasm slung at everyone in firing distance.
Do most parents get annoyed? Of course.
Why is this going on? First of all, teenagers are under construction.
They are morphing into adults, and like the butterfly still in the cocoon, they need lots of privacy.
They need time in their rooms to sort life through,and they need the comfort of their privacy to nurse their daily wounds.
Remember, you are not the only adult in the world getting annoyed at them.
The worst thing a parent can do, is rummage through a teenager's room uninvited.
Many parents cannot stand the mystery of their teens' behaviors, so they sift through their adolescent's belongings.
This is the worst thing a parent could do, because it erodes trust between the parent and teenager.
The best way to earn a teen's trust, and get the teenager to open up, is to allow the teen a reasonable amount of privacy.
There is no use prying an adolescent for answers.
Teens hate to be asked a lot of questions.
The parent who can quietly wait the teenager out, is usually the parent who will earn the teen's trust.
Eventually, the adolescent will come to the parent and throw out a question.
"Mom, did you ever get stood up?" "Dad, did anyone you know ever do drugs?" The teen is not really asking for your personal experience.
The teen is throwing out feelers to determine if it is safe to open up to you.
The best response is to hesitate, show concern, then ask: "Did someone you know get stood up?" "Did someone you know do drugs?" Then remain quiet.
Resist the urge to show alarm or start lecturing.
Your teen needs you to be there with your full attention.
Sometimes the teen will shrug and walk away.
Do not get impatient.
The teenager has put out feelers,and will return if the atmosphere is conducive for a heart to heart talk.
Remember, all teenagers need their parents.
All teenagers are lonely when they do not feel close to their parents.
Even though your teen's behaviors may be anything but loveable, your adolescent still needs you.
The best way to get your teen to open up to you, is to show your willingness to be open.
By giving brief calm responses to your teenager's attempts at communication, you are inviting your teen to do the talking.
You are working on trust with your teenager.
Your teen needs your trust more than anything in the world, and the relationship you establish at this time, will lay the groundwork for your relationship in later years.
So, take a day here and there, invite your teen out for a drive, put on your listening ears, and chances are, you will get the scoop about what is going on in your teen's life.
The time you make for your teen is well worth the closeness you establish.
In spite of your teen's moods, sarcasm, over-sensitivity, and periods of communication droughts, your loving child is still encased in the outer shell of a teenager.
Someday things will normalize again, and your understanding of each other will be greater than ever.

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