Do you start ask questions and feel Ike you are the interrogator for the FBI. The kids give you short answers, shoulder shrugs, grunts and groans of varying pitches and frequency. Then it’s time to try some new techniques.
Start by asking questions tied to some sort of game like spin the bottle, rock paper scissor, during turns in Jinga or others. These first playful set of question are to build trust and confidence that they will not be judged. Allow the answers to be fictional or fantasy, fact or incomplete facts. The person whose turn is up gets to answer first. Smile, laugh and have fun with your answers. Here are a list of questions to pull from first: (10 or 20 should be enough)
How you maneuver through these first set of questions will determine if they allow you to progress to tougher questions. Here is when you count your losses and choose a better time.
- If after doing some of the questions they keep indicating that it’s stupid, asking what is this or finding unseen or minimal distractions to prioritize.
- If they are not laughing or smiling or if you are not as well.
- If they get annoyed.
All of these are indicators that you should try again another time using another 20.
If all is well move to or integrate some from the questions in the link below. Remember to remain non critical and in the posture of a friend that only move if they are moved by a question. Your personal feelings to their responses should be muffled a bit with the intent to listen and move through the questions. Even if it seems as if they are attempting to trigger a strong response. It’s a test! Posture as a friend, not necessarily saying words like a friend or acting like one but one with non critical eyes poised to correct the response. Your answers should be truthful, do not lie. Show empathy and understanding why someone may take another approach but be clear on your stance. Root it in belief or tradition but priority of belief. If you would make a decision you know to be wrong, be clear of the consequences that you are willing to accepts as its cost. Keep whatever game you are engaged in fun and challenging, switching to organic competitiveness with no favor, be a good sport.
Well you’ve made progress if they seem to enjoy the interaction with a sense of excitement and relief. You can journal the responses you need to organically bring up on a walk in a story format. Use a story from your past or a friend’s past that you overcame or did not overcome to place a message in. List the pain and consequences as well attached to the values you hold and the family hold. Some kids will need to be moving while addressing heavier topics, so a walk on a trail may be best for intimacy. Space or a an occasional hand on the shoulder with a hug when you feel the time is right. Since Mother are the masters of affection not much needs to be said but make sure they can justify the affection with suitable words. Do not revert to what you know. Dig deep and focus you energy into their shoes not your parents in that moment. It could be the wrong approach if you make it about your growth by thinking about if you are being a good parent, hard enough, too soft, not loving enough rather than being present.
They model our character or the character of the person they look to for that decision or action. So be mindful that you are a statue (fixed character) to the things that are good and not to the things that are not so good aspects of your character, like: withdrawing, anger, rage, giving unwarranted rewards, overly stern and not compassionate, overly negative, distant, throwing blame to another especially another parent or friend. They are typically indicating that this is who they are currently and need you to show them a better way. Please stay away from negative adjectives that stand in the form of a noun, like stupid, weak…
Teen years are fleeting and the hold we have fleeting if the wrong approach is taken, one that divides and is unapologetic. Hopefully these words can help someone who desperately needs to connect with their teen whether they know it or it is totally being missed.
Kidstrive to be all they can be, with a constant check in for approval.