As toddlers, and even as pre-teens, they would talk freely and share every little incident in their lives. You would feel nothing but blessed. Slowly, as they crawl into the teen years, the 'open book' that they once were becomes closed with a padlock.
You just cannot get them to open up and talk to you. When you want to start a conversation, they get annoyed. They don't want to talk to you, and simply become allergic to you. After coming back from school, they simply rush into their room, only to come out for dinner, and again rush through dinner, only to go back to their computers or cell phones.
Don't feel low! Buzzle is here to help you out with a few suggestions, when dealing with a clammed-up teen.
➥ As an adult, you will have to first accept them as friends/mature individuals who are trying to be independent. I don't see any reason to be worried about it, because at some point of their life, they will have to move out and live life independently, and that's what they are getting prepared for.
➥ One more thing that you need to acknowledge is that, even they have their good and bad days. So, if your teen seems aloof, there is no need for you to rush to help him out. Just let him figure out the solution to his problems on his own. Treat him like an adult. Trust me, it will work!
➥ If you, as an adult, are not able to change yourself to like or at least accept a different perspective towards things, then how do you expect your teen to change his way of looking at things. Being the experienced player of the game, you need to have that ability to bend and adjust, because your teen won't! Keep this in your mind. Not only acknowledging the difference in choice, you will also have to start liking what they like... I've elaborated on this point in the next section.
➥ A little word of caution! Even if you give your teen the leeway to live his life the way he chooses to, the permissive behavior should only be for things that are correct and harmless for him. If his behavior is becoming unacceptable, then you may have to put your foot down.
➥ For bridging this gap, you have to start catching up with the latest trends. Search on the net, ask your friends, or grab the latest fashion magazine. Do anything it takes to be with the wave, even if it eats away into your tight schedule. I'm asking you to do this rigorously, because it is only then that your teen would acknowledge your advances to strike a conversation. Just ask him, "Are any of your friends interested in watching Man of Steel over the weekend?", and he would be floored.
➥ This is an important point to remember! Talking to your teen on whichever topic he brings up is the first step to treating him as an adult. In case you get stuck in a situation, where your kid has asked you a rather awkward question, face it, and answer it simply and honestly. Never shun the question.
➥ By talking freely to your child, you will be able to create a feeling in him, that he can count on you whenever he needs you. You will make him realize that you are as good as his peers, and therefore, he will not look elsewhere for answers when he is emotionally needy. It is really crucial in building closeness and getting your teen to open up and talk to you.
➥ Secondly, you need to respond in a non-judgmental way. No blame-game or reiteration of those sentences, that start with, "See, I had told you ...", and end with, "... you never listen". Even if his revelation has hit you in the face, don't show it. Don't lose your composure, because if you do, it would just frighten him, and the conversation will stop.
➥ Start analyzing the situation from a third person's perspective. See if you can come up with a workable solution. Don't just jump in with random solutions and advice. The usual parenting rant may do more harm than good, and may make your teen feel incompetent. Let him brainstorm solutions. You can help, but let him think for himself and take good decisions.
➥ Constant nagging when your kid is upset or brooding over a problem, may add to his anger, and he may just blow up. It may also make your teen resist talking even more. That's the last thing you would want to happen... right?
➥ If you just leave him on his own, he will sooner or later realize, and may come out to talk to you. Just make sure you are available when he feels the need to talk to you. When he approaches you and starts talking, keep in mind the points you read in the previous section.
➥ Apart from that, you should respond by asking him more open-ended questions. By open-ended questions, I mean the ones that don't end with a simple 'yes' or 'no', and require a more detailed answer. Show interest, but don't sound inquisitive. Avoid questions that start with 'why'. Inquisitive questions may send him into a defensive mode.
➥ If your child has come up with a problem, and you remember facing a similar kind of problem when you were a teen, share that instance with him. It not only reminds him that his parents were also once teenagers (with similar problems!), but also gives him an insight into how you overcame the problem.