As teens get older, it may become harder for their parents or carers to communicate easily with them. There are lots of reasons for this. For example, older teens are gaining a sense of independence from their parents or may rely more on their friends than their family for support. But if you want to know more about your teen, the best way to do this is just to ask them.
We asked eight parents and teens to watch a classic scene from the movie Little Miss Sunshine in which a grandparent asks their grandchild questions as a way to discover what’s going on in their life. We asked our sample of parents and teenagers why they thought this approach works so well and what sorts of questions a parent can ask their teen that will encourage them to open up.
Here are some things we learnt
- If your teen doesn’t seem interested in responding to the usual questions, try asking them about things other than school and work. Teens love to talk about their passions and their friends, and about other things that give them joy.
- If your teen doesn’t want to talk about what’s going on in their life, it can be helpful to share with them what’s going on in your life. For example, if you talk about what’s been bothering you at work, your teen might be more likely to talk about what’s going on at school. To learn more, watch our video about vulnerability.