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How to Get a Teen to Talk to You by Christine Maddox
How to Get a Teen to Talk to You  by Christine Maddox

When kids reach the teen years, especially if they have special needs, they have trouble talking to their parents. It is a hard time in many children’s lives as they struggle to find out where they fit in and how they should become an adult. The urge to talk to them and guide them in their path is strong, but many teens will not accept your help. How can you get your teen to open up and talk to you so that you can help them? Try these tips:

Respect Your Teen

– The first thing that you can do to make a teen feel more open to talking to you is to show your respect for them. You can do this in small ways. For example many teens have a ‘safe area’ where they can relax. This is usually their bedroom. Respect their area and do not enter it without their permission, even to clean. By asking and treating them like you would a fellow adult you are showing your respect. You should also ask them to do chores instead of telling them to do them. They can have consequences to not following through, such as losing their allowance, but if you ask rather than command you show you are respecting their ability to say no or manage their own time.

Don’t Push

– Another big issue that makes many teens clam up is that parents push for information. While it is important for you to make sure your child is safe you should not become an investigator. Instead set up a system so that they know what information you need such as the time they will return and the general area they will be at. They can leave you a note, an email or tell you in person without you even having to ask. You should also not push when it comes to talking. If they look upset and you ask why take “I don’t want to talk about it” for an answer. If you push they will not open up, but if you let them come to you then you might be able to help them.

Give Them Time

-This idea of giving teens time is hard for some parents to swallow but you have to understand that teens take longer to digest information than adults. Adults can rely on experience to figure out how to react in a situation but teens have to puzzle everything out from scratch. Give them time to think about it and then come to you. Do not insist they discuss everything immediately after it happens. It can be hard not to jump into an interrogation, but if you let them think they will be able to communicate much more calmly and rationally.

Don’t Judge and Stay Calm

– Teens say stuff that adults would never dream of saying. Most of the time this is just a way for them to deal with issues that they are overwhelmed by. When your teen tells you about something that makes you nervous or afraid try to stay calm and not react. Many times you will find out what you thought they said was not that bad at all. Or even if it was that bad it is over and done with and you just have to deal with it calmly anyway. Getting upset, angry or judgmental just makes your teen shut down and stop sharing. That does not mean you can’t offer them advice or suggestions based on what they said. Saying in a neutral tone something like “Well, that doesn’t sound healthy. Have you ever thought about doing this instead?” is a great way to offer advice without judging what they said.

Teens can be hard to communicate with at the best of times but with patience and by staying calm you can learn what your teen is thinking and feeling. Help them out in small ways and remember that they are trying to become adults. The more respect you give them and the more you treat them like adults the more they will act like adults.

Author Bio:

This post is contributed by Christine Maddox. Currently she is pursuing her Master’s degree from University of Texas as well as blogging for She loves to write anything related to parenting, kids, nanny care etc. She can be reached via email at: christine.4nannies @

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