COMMUNICATION FAMILY LIFE

The Best Time To Talk To Your Teenager

a picture of a grumpy teenage boy

Parents often struggle to get their teenager talking to them or listening to instructions. When they try to get a conversation going they can get severe push back or complete silence.

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But the fatal mistake they made was assuming it was a good time to try and talk. Yeah, I know, they should always be polite when you need to talk to them. But they are just like every other human and not every time is a great time to chat.

SO WHY WON’T KIDS ANSWER THE QUESTIONS?

Just getting general conversation happening can be painful at times. You can find yourself getting quite impatient and possibly even start arguing with them about it.

We conclude that the teenager is being rude, uninterested, thoughtless, refusing to talk or answer nicely, or worse, hiding something. It’s usually not the case. 

So what’s wrong? Nothing!

IT’S POSSIBLY GOT NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU

Your child might simply not be ready to have a conversation.  Not in a horrible way, but it’s physically impossible for them to string words together right then for whatever reason and they avoid doing it.

There are PLENTY of reasons they don’t want to be talked to;

  • Been talked at all day by an annoying friend
  • Just got in trouble by a teacher for something they didn’t do
  • Had a fight with a friend and they are upset about it
  • They have too much homework and can’t get it all done
  • They are exhausted from practice yesterday and need a rest

There are plenty of good reasons why talking isn’t what they want to do right then.

KNOW YOURSELF TO KNOW YOUR TEENAGER

As adults, you would probably be able to tell me quite quickly whether you are a morning or evening person. You will also have a time of day or that you’re more likely to be the most relaxed.

Do you come home exhausted after work and just want to get changed and sit down OR are you super happy to get home and just want to take the kids to the park and play a little?

The same is true for your teenagers.  If you take some time and observe them, you will notice that they are far more chatty and receptive at a particular time of day. 

Even a grumpy grunting teen will relax at some point, even if only for a few minutes.

But a few things you can do to make it easier is to give them the time they need to be ready to talk. Let them chill out for a bit after school, maybe take them some afternoon tea and see if they’re ready once they have eaten.

WHEN IS YOUR CHILDS BEST TIME

There are a few options for times of day that could be there best conversational time;

  • They could be super chatty first thing in the morning
  • After school could be when they want to download all the days activities
  • Others will leave it till later on after time out, dinner time or even bed time

Sometimes it will be a super inconvenient time!

Years ago, we had the privilege of having toddlers at the same time as we had a teenager.

When we were completely wasted at the end of the day, we would go to bed about 9.30-10pm and our 14-15-16-year-old boy would come out of his room, plonk himself on the end of our bed and begin to tell us about his day, a teacher, an issue or thought he had. 

Did I want to listen…Not really. 

But did we listen…HECK YES!

No way was I going to dismiss him ever! I would stay awake till midnight if I needed to.  No question.  

It’s not always convenient, but when you know what they need, you won’t be surprised and you can make an effort to be available at that time. 

WATCH AND SEE WHEN THEY’RE MOST AWAKE

Over a few days just observe when they are the most awake and chatty. You can get a good gauge by their behaviour because they are talking. Spending a few days watching will help you see if there is a consistent pattern to when he comes alive and wants to talk.

YOU CAN MAKE TALKING SO MUCH EASIER

If the morning is their time, maybe get up a little earlier and be ready to chat when they are around.  They will be thinking about their day or working on a problem and possibly open to help or encouragement.

After school, you can slow down and spend a moment with them.  Make them a smoothie and yourself a coffee and sit to listen. They can satisfy their word limit for the day and their hungry tummy at the same time before going off to afternoon activities.

Evening meals are great for SO MANY things for your family that I won’t go into here, but if you have one member of your family that talks during family gatherings you have to make sure the meal happens together whenever they are home for dinner. They need it!

Bedtime, my least favourite, but teens often come alive at night…they can get a second wind of energy right when you want to switch off for the day.

What’s a parent to do! Well, you are going to make sure you’re ready for bed yourself, settle in for a chat, and when the talk is over you can go right to sleep.

CONVERSATION WITH THEM PURE GOLD

If you make time and regularly get to a chance to talk, you will find that when they are ready for a conversation, it becomes a two-way street. Most of the time they want to hear what you think, you can say, and they are ok with that.

But you have to first make the time to listen and you will have the best talks.

I promise!

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