Yeah, so let’s say you have a teen, and you feel like regardless of what you do they just won’t open up, you can’t get through to them. That can be a very frustrating situation to find yourself in.
So the key here is this – realize that vulnerability leads to vulnerability. Meaning if you’re vulnerable and open and expressive with your kid, it’s going to lead to and create and environment where they will be open and expressive with you.
Think about, when is the last time that you talked to your kid about something you did terribly, you failed, something embarrassing, something really really challenging for your ego. Because often as parents what we want to get out of our kid is something that’s really challenging for them, something they’re struggling with. They tend not to have too much problem talking about the things going great in their life.
So I would encourage you as a parent to be that leader who’s going to ante up first, go first, and talk about some of the difficult things. The times when you were misunderstood, when you made a fool of yourself, again vulnerability leads to vulnerability.
And another little thing you can do is this. Find out what your teen’s favorite movie is, and watch it with them with zero judgment. Now likely your teen’s favorite movie is not going to be your favorite movie. So you may be like, oh it’s violent, or it’s some sappy romance thing. I don’t want to watch that.
But I want you to think about the meta message behind why it is they’re drawn to that movie. What is it about the character who overcomes some enormous obstacle? What is it about the thrill or the danger of some sort of adventure of Harry Potter or the pale people in Twilight or whatever?
So try to think about what is it about that movie that your kid is drawn to? And then using the vehicle of that movie, you can have some interesting and engaging conversations with your kid. But ultimately the best way for you to get your kid to talk about things they’re struggling with is for you to talk about things that you’re struggling with.