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  • Writer's pictureOnce Upon A Mommy

How To Get Your Teen To Open Up To You..

Updated: Feb 26


By Cris S.

January 1, 2024

Some teenagers love to talk, but some of them reach a certain age and clam up, not wanting to share their teen drama with their super old, super ancient parents.. After all, what do WE know??? Here are some tried and true tips to help get your teen to open up to you.

  1. Remind them that you were indeed a teenager yourself before, and most of which they would share with you will likely not be all that surprising.

2. When they do decide to bring up any of their personal issues with you, try not to be too reactive of things that they say. An over-the-top reaction from you can cause the communication vault to slam shut. Try to keep calm and collected while they are speaking to you, no matter what it is they bring up.

If they know that you can keep your cool when they come to you about something personal, they are way more likely to continue doing it in the future.

Also remember that just because they are sharing something with you, doesn't necessarily mean they looking for your opinion right now.

If they do ask for guidance, try to offer constructive criticism without attacking their point of view. Just explain to them how to look at issues from all different perspectives, and in the end, make the smartest decision possible.

3. Write them a letter and encourage them to write you back. Face it: Some people just communicate better on paper. It's okay! Try it once and see how it goes.

Make sure to ask them about specific topics: Don't be vague and just say "tell me how you are?" Ask them things like "Are you happy with how things are going at school? Tell me about a few of your favorite friends. Favorite class? What is something you want to accomplish this month/year?" You may be surprised at how easily your teen opens up to you this way.

Is a pen and paper too "old school" for your teen? Try email or messenger. They may make jokes at first, but as I said before, many teens are already more comfortable conversing this way.

Something I found that my daughters and I have had a lot of fun with are Mother/Daughter or Mother/Son journals. This has been a fun way for us to open up to each other and get to know each other on a more personal level.

The best part is that many of the prompts in them only take a few minutes to fill out, so even on the busiest of days you can usually spare a few minutes to fill it out and pass it on.

Here are links to the ones I purchased off Amazon a while back and we just love them! The first one I bought for me and my daughter who is now 11: CLICK HERE!

This next one I found was more fitting for my daughter who is a few years older: CLICK HERE!

4. Plan a special day with just you and your teen. This can be challenging with school, work and sports, especially if you have multiple kids. However it is so important to spend time with each kid individually. Even if it's just a lunch or dinner date (but for crying out loud, DON'T call it a date!)

You can invite them to go do the grocery shopping with you. (Yes, most teens will find this idea the most boring thing ever, but if you offer to buy them something extra, they just might go for it!) You can also just sit outside on the porch and watch the clouds or cars roll by.

They typically feel more secure opening up to you if you two are by yourselves, instead of having an audience of siblings or another parent around. Most teens will appreciate this alone time with Mom. It's a little reminder that you indeed do care about them and what's going on in their lives. Teenagers especially need to be reminded of this regularly.

Ideas for a mother/teen (non)date

  • Lunch or dinner together

  • Sports event

  • Shopping for something they need

  • Sit down for coffee

  • Walk together in a park or just in the neighborhood

  • Museum

  • Do some pottery together at a shop

  • Sit on the couch at home and look through photo albums together

  • Cook a meal together or dessert (or both!)

  • Bowling or movie

  • Card game or board game

5. Make sure you are LISTENING when your teen is talking to you. Don't be on your phone. Don't be glancing at the TV. Really listen when they are talking to you. Whether whatever it is they are telling you is interesting or not, you need to act interested and pay attention. Put down your phone. Turn off the TV. Send younger siblings away for 10 minutes. If they don't have your full attention, they may assume you don't really care, and might stop making a point to tell you things.

You want to nurture a positive, open line of communication between you and your teen. You want them to come to you about the little things. That way if something big happens, they are more comfortable having a discussion with you about it down the line.

Sometimes getting your teen to open up to you can be a process. Always remind your teen that no matter what, you will always love them and always be there for them. Let them know that if they are ever in any sort of trouble, they can always come to their Mom (or Dad). It may not get them out of a punishment, but they can always count on us to keep them safe.

Happy Parenting!!!

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