If you have teenagers in your home you know how difficult it can be to talk to them. While every teen is different, even the most easy-going, pleasant teens can have their moments.
As a mom of two teenagers, I know the ups and downs of trying to communicate with my kids. The best strategy that works for me is to try to keep conversations open, look for opportunities for discussion, and capitalize on moments when they feel like talking (even when I don't).
Keep the conversations open:
Just because we walk away from the conversation doesn't mean the subject is closed. If you feel that you didn't communicate everything you wanted to, revisit the topic again. If it was an especially tough or tense subject, make sure they are a little more relaxed when you bring it up the next time. If you were the one who was upset, wait until you calm down.
Look for opportunities for discussion:
Places like the car or family dinner are great for asking your kids about their day and what's going on in their lives. Be sure to tell them about your day as well, but don't monopolize the conversation.
Capitalize on moments when they feel like talking:
This is a tough one for me. Often when they feel like talking the most is when I'm ready to shut down for the day or have my mind focused on something else. It's very important though to pick up on cues that your teen is ready to talk. These are the moments when they need you to listen and to be there for them. Depending on your teen, these moments can come often or rarely.
If you would like more information and suggestions on how to talk to your teen, be sure to read: Having Trouble Talking to Teens: Help for Parents of Teenagers.