Does this sound familiar when your child comes home from school?
How was your day? Fine.
How was school? Good.
How was the test? Okay.
Anything else to tell me? Nope.
Not much going on there! These are sure-fire conversation killers.
And whatever question you do ask, don't ask it as soon as you walk in the door. When asked about that, a group of middle school girls responded that after six or more hours in school, the last thing they want to talk about is what happened there. They need time to decompress, too, so be patient.
Wait for a more settled time: when you’re in the kitchen preparing dinner, in the car, or just before bed. (Remember how soft and mushy your kids can be when they are transitioning into sleep?)
No guarantees, but here are a few alternatives for opening up a conversation after school:
What's the best thing that happened today?
Who did something nice for you?
How did you make a difference?
And one more tip -- ask open-ended questions. If you ask a yes-no question, yes or no is all you'll get.
Fern Weis is a certified life coach who learned that caring and good intentions are not enough in parenting. In fact, they are often the problem! Fern supports parents of teens and young adults who are going through difficult situations, including addiction recovery. She helps parents release guilt, end enabling and confidently prepare their children to thrive through life's challenges. Her articles are featured in Thrive Global, Medium, Motherly, The Teen Mentor, and Bergen County Moms.
Learn more about coaching and classes at www.fernweis.com. And then download your free guide, "Five Powerful Steps to Get Your Teen to Talk." For information on Family Recovery programs, visit www.familyrecoverypartners.com