Talk Talk Talk


Children who say "nothing much happened" are a big challenge for parents who want a dialog. You have to press for more details. You can help provide a framework for discussion by asking some leading questions: Did you play with your friends? Which ones? What did you play? Did you read? What did you learn? Did you have physical education? What was the school lunch? Did you enjoy school? Why? What was most interesting? What sorts of things are hanging on the walls in the classroom now?

If parents are already aware of current school projects, they could ask, for example: Did you rehearse for the class play? How did it go?

Adolescents are developing a sense of their own independent identities. So parents must use extra finesse to keep the dialogue going with them, and to avoid getting too intrusive. However, we must stay in contact with our teenage children in order to provide important guidance and support that they need.

Open dialogue helps children and teens become reflective about their experiences and gain wisdom. The quickest way to end this dialog is to apply pressure for success or to show disapproval. This doesn't mean that parents should ignore problems or be satisfied with mediocrity. It means that when problems pop up, you accept them as inevitable and let your children know you're with them all the way.

Through discussion, parents can learn if their children are having difficulty getting along with other kids, and if they're having academic problems (before they become serious). They can also address behavior problems as they occur. Early identification of problems gives parents an opportunity to work with their children to improve the situation.

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