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Tips for getting your teen to open up

Many parents struggle to get their teenagers to open up to them and allow them into their lives. It can sometimes seem that they are a closed book – one of those locked diaries maybe even with it’s own guard dog! From time to time it can seem impossible to get them to open up and allow you into their lives. Don’t give up!

Getting them to talk with you and for you to know about their lives can be a great way for you to protect them from danger, you can highlight things to them that they may not have been aware of. We are not suggesting that you spy and snoop, if you get your information that way them there will be very little you can do about it – and if they find out they will be very unhappy – to say the least.

Here are four ideas to get you started:image 24 Tips for getting your teen to open up

Start young – it is always easier to keep something going that has been a part of family life than to start a new tradition later in life. Of course you may hit some road blocks along the way but stick with it – the prize is well worth it.

Find common ground. Learn to be interested in what interests them, you will find they are more open to talk about those kinds of things. Yes, it means maybe listening to their music but it will form a platform to take the discussion deeper. Simply asking ‘how was school’ won’t get you very far.

Be open to what they say. Of course they may tell you things that you wish you didn’t know – either about themselves or their friends. Don’t appear shocked or react in a judgmental way because that will just cause them to close up. it is possible to tell them you disapprove of something without them feeling got at. If you can work through these things then they will surely come to you whenever they have a problem.

Spend more time together. In the busyness of life we can often skip spending time with your children. I often hear people talking about quality time but my experience has shown me that quality time only comes when there is quantity time. it isn’t possible to schedule quality time – that’s not how human relationships work. Many teenagers see the lack of time with their parents as a major concern. Here are 4 quick thoughts to help you

  • Why not set up a specific weekly get together, something fun. in my home town Tuesday nights are cheaper at the cinema. And it’s a 25 minute drive each way.
  • Try making dinner time a family time -0 not easy I know but if you can do it 2 or 3 times a week that would be great.
  • Get involved in one of their activities – coach their team.
  • Drive them to school each day instead of sending them on the bus – even if it’s only one way.

It may take some time to overcome their initial reluctance to open up but stay with it and the benefits you will get will be worth all the effort.

2 Responses to “Tips for getting your teen to open up”

  1. Tammie Briggs says:

    I have a 14 year old daughter and she has already told me that she is gay, but other things I want her to open up to me about, she won’t. What should I do? I’m drowned in this situation, I know things is on her mind, and I’ve told her that she could talk to me about anything, and I won’t judge her no matter what it is, so that’s as far as it went. Am I doing the right thing?


  2. Nicole says:

    Dear Tammie:
    I am going through the same thing as you are with my 16 year old son. He will not open up to me and it is so frustrating. We have been seeing a therapist and the only advice I can give you is not to keep bringing up the subject to them. When she is ready to speak to you about it she will. I know as a parent it is so frustrating because we want to help and protect them. From what I read above you have done all that you can do. It is grat that she knows you are there for her and that you accept her for who she is. My therapist keeps telling me as long as kids know that the other stuff will fall into place. I feel for you as we are having the same pain in our home. Keep the faith!!!


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