Remember when your parents forced you to go to this place called “school” for 7+ hours a day?
Let's go back in time...
you have to ask permission to use the bathroom
you are told when to eat
you have to be called on to speak
you’re only allowed to talk to your friends once every 50 minutes while you had less than 3 minutes to find your locker, open it, change books and race to another side of the school to get to your next class
you have gym class where you have to change into not the most stylish outfit, get timed to run a mile (which seems like a marathon), then change back to your clothes, paranoid for the rest of the day that you didn’t exactly smell like a dozen roses
you can’t wait for the 3pm freedom bell
Although you would never admit it, nothing was as glorious as seeing your mother’s car on the pick-up line...until you open the door and the first thing she says is, “so, how was your day?”
Then you think, "Should I tell her everything?"
My “friends” decided that they no longer like me and I heard them whispering about me in the hallways.
I sat alone at lunch today because apparently, now I have no friends.
I threw half my lunch away because all the girls were talking about dieting and decided not to eat lunch and although I was hungry, I didn’t want to be the fat girl.
I saw marks on my friends leg when we were changing for gym, I think she cuts herself but I’m not sure what to do or say, I don’t want her to be mad at me.
I wanted to cry in Spanish class because the teacher called on me and even though I knew the answer, I blanked and I felt completely embarrassed and all the other kids laughed.
I feel like I can’t breathe, I’m so stressed out about the 5 hours of homework I have to do tonight when all I really want to do is curl up next to her on the couch and just forget about school for the night.
Back to the present and being a parent...
You know part of your child wants to tell you everything, but instead, all that comes out of their mouth is “good,” which couldn’t be further than the truth.
Right now maybe you’re thinking, ah ha, I found the solution on Pintrest called, “25 Ways To Ask Your Teen: “How Was School Today?” WITHOUT asking “How Was School Today?” As awesome as this sounds in theory, realize that if you pick your teen up and you started asking them all these random questions when they’re not use to you doing this, they will think that you were abducted by aliens while they were at school and look at you like you have seven heads.
So what do you do?
Be honest. Let them know that you care and you’re genuinely interested in what goes on during their day and from this point forward you are going to ask them one high and one low of the day (you can call it whatever you want, “Happies & Crappies,” “Best & Worst”), every day. They might roll their eyes or say some smart comment and that’s okay, do it anyway.
Then commit to asking them daily without judgment and listen to them. Like really listen. Don’t try to fix or give solutions to their low, do your best to allow them the space around just sharing their day with you. When you listen without the pressure of thinking of the perfect response, it allows you to hear what’s being said and also what’s not (are they never mentioning friends, a certain class, etc). The more they can share with you and feel like they are being heard, the more they will share over time.
If there is no low, that’s great, ask them for another high! :)
1) I do love“25 Ways To Ask Your Teen: “How Was School Today?” My suggestion, print it out, cut all the questions out, put them in jar and have a question of the day or week and center it around family time.
2) If your teen is hungry, wait till she eats first before doing any of the above. J
~Julie Brower, Certified Teen Life Coach, Health Coach & Teen Yoga Teacher, has helped hundreds of teen girls gain knowledge, tools, confidence and courage to make decisions from a place of self-knowledge, self-respect and strength. Through one-on-one coaching, group workshops, events, parties and movement, Julie connects with girls on their level and gets results.