Has the time come when your tweens or teens don’t want to talk to you worn-out mama? Getting more eye-rolls in a day than words said?
You’re not alone and your kiddos need to talk about what’s going on in their life. Use the following tips to avoid being passive-aggressive and shutting them out in return!
Don’t Start on the Ride Home
Nothing is going to get you the silent treatment or 100 “fine” answers quicker than asking questions as soon as your kid gets in the car after school.
Think about how you feel when their first question for you is, “What’s for dinner?”
Instead, make the ride a comfortable silence if that’s what they want or need. Sometimes decompressing without conversation helps everyone level set.
If you have to talk or have noise to be comfortable, come up with a topic that has nothing to do with them.
- Maybe there’s a funny post or video on Instagram to share
- Listen to a podcast that plays into pop-culture they might be interested in and play it while they’re in the car
- Create an after-school playlist that has some of their favorite songs you can all sing to
Make Dinner Required
Dinner is the perfect chance to check-in with how everyone is doing and create open communication in your home.
You have a captive audience at dinner when you say everyone has to sit around the table to eat.
- Don’t let them take their plate off to their gaming console to finish the next level
- Don’t let them have their screens nearby watching Netflix or checking in with friends via text
Have Standard Questions to Ask at Dinner
Having standard questions turns asking them into a routine. If something is a routine, there’s no reason to question or push back on why it’s being done.
“You are answering these questions every night at dinner because you are a member of this family and this is what we do.”
The questions we use are handed down from my parents when they were desperate for something to do to make our dinners more productive. 3 girls at the same table getting on each other’s nerves pushed them over the edge!
1. What was the good part of your day?
2. What was the bad part of your day?
These cover the basics and you get to hear how everyone has good and bad days. It can bridge discussion into how you handle them.
4. What did you do for other people?
3. What did God do for you today?
Coming up with a response to these two gets everyone to start thinking of others and help them appreciate what they have.
Get Started Tonight
Make dinner a priority and make everyone answer the questions when you are sitting around the table. Your kids need to talk.
They might not know how to start the conversation. The 4 questions will get things started for you to be able to listen and take it from there.
Spend 1 hour, 5 days a week for 52 weeks a year. That would mean that you would have spent 260 hours of dedicated time with your kid talking about their life!
Your time and consistency is a small sacrifice to keep your kids talking to you whether they want to or not.
A missed dinner is a missed opportunity!
Keep the Questions Coming
Avoid being passive-aggressive and keep asking your standard questions! They’ll know that you are reliable and there to listen to what they have to say when things get rough.
You got this mama!
Looking for more parenting tips?
Check out Screens and a Technology Contract! You’ll get questions to get you started on setting up guidelines for your kiddos to follow when using their screens.