“My kid won’t talk to me. I don’t think my teenager likes me.”We hear statements like this all the time from parents. It can start in grade school and go on for what feels like forever!
Macy and Don went through a tense season in their relationship. It felt like several years where Don tried to pursue Macy but it rarely worked. Talking to each other felt forced and Macy constantly seemed annoyed and frustrated.
Macy has recently become a teenager and naturally started wanting more independence. She mainly wanted time alone. Don would come in (often at the wrong time for Macy) and try to connect.
Don would connect on his own time (not aware of how this affected Macy on a daily basis). Don felt like he was doing something wrong and just wanted to fix it.
Can any parents relate?
Macy would blow him off or ask him to come back later (or never). Don would leave with a look on his face of defeat and disappointment. It made Macy feel horrible! The disconnect caused hurt on both sides of the relationship.
We see this happen in relationships between parents is kids far too often. There is a clear tension and lack of communication and eventually it damages the parent-kid relationship.
Reasons a Teen Won’t Talk to You
“You don’t get me”
“I’m more relevant than you”
“You are so old!”
Any of these statements sound familiar? The truth is teens want to be independent but they also want the parent’s approval. The teenage years are a time for them to test their limits (and yours).
A huge change in teens has to do with the process of figuring themselves out. Parents, we invite you to release the expectation of wanting them to always be able to explain themselves. This is the time when young people are figuring out how to articulate who they are becoming.
Parents, we want to know and understand our kids, but we have to remember they are trying to understand themselves! If we are not careful, we can create a “hurry and grow up” feeling for our teen. It feels pushy and causes tension.
As kids start to form opinions and thoughts, we are called to pursue, not push. We are called to invite our kids in and listen to what they have to say. We get to create an environment for our kids to process who they are becoming.
Will My Teen Ever Talk to ME?
The reality is kids are talking to someone. It may be siblings, teachers, friends, but it is not likely parents. Sadly, we are not the first people teens open up to about life. We can change this by becoming a safe place for our teenagers.
Parents, don’t be surprised if your teen shuts off specific parts of their lives, especially if you have lectured or reacted in anger in the past.
Most teenagers want to talk about their life. A teen wants a safe and trusted place to process their feelings. One of the biggest turn offs for young people is not being heard. If they are sharing and you cut them off, it causes them to question if you are safe to process with.
A lot of young people are not looking for the answer or someone to fix the issue. The desire is to externally process and just be heard.
Parents, hear us! Your kids want to talk and process. Let’s talk about practical ways to help them trust you and open up.
Here are a Few Strategies:
Macy and Don have seen so much breakthrough in their relationship over the last 10 years. Parents, have hope because it can and will get better!
Don started speaking affirmation over Macy. He said things like, “I am so proud of you. I love you. You are valuable to me. I think you are doing a great job!”
As Parents, we need to do this often for it to sink into our kid’s hearts! It needs to penetrate the insecurities and lies from the enemy!
The bottom line is God made your kids and He loves them. We need to daily remind them of who they are and why we love them!
God is a loving Father and every chance He gets to say, “I love you.” He does! We need to do this in our relationships to make them strong!
This can be tricky because we invite you to ask inquisitive questions, not accusatory ones. Once you ask the question, LET THEM FINISH! Don’t just ask one question, lean in and keep asking. Listen, be slow and gracious in your speech, and ask some more.
Remember, Jesus calls us his friends and He is our ultimate authority. Parents, we can be our kid’s authority AND their friend. It comes down to relationships.
Set Aside Time Together
Quality time is important. Sometimes kids can feel like a checked box when you pass by and try to connect on your terms. Setting aside intentional time to hear about your kid’s heart’s is the best way to learn your kids.
Do the simple things:
Ask your kid on a date
Put your phone away when talking with them
Look them in the eyes and ask open questions
It may seem basic but the current generation is starving for approval and affirmation. Give freely to your kids and watch how they open up to you!
Repent & Ask for Genuine Connection
Saying simple things like:
I am sorry for not connecting well
I am for you and want to help you understand life
I want to help you see where God is speaking into your life
Pursuing takes time, but you will see breakthrough. Don and Macy are an everyday testimony of how relationships are God’s design works!
If you have a dream in your heart to be close to your kid then focus on building a friendship, try listening more than lecturing. It is possible to have a strong relationship with your teen!Keep pursing your silent, closed-off kid! They need you and God put you in their life for a reason!
There is not great joy then seeing your kid walking with Jesus and in right relationship with you and others! Don’t give up parents and don’t lose hope! When a parent pursues a kid and models Jesus for them, it does work. God designed us to have a great relationship with our kids!
You never know when the breakthrough will come but keep pursuing it!
Prayer is powerful! If you are losing hope, keep praying breakthrough will come!
Don recently talked with a friend who has had difficulty with his son. The statement he said rings true in his life and in Don’s. He said, “Keep the conversation going. Keeping it going is more important than being right.”
Pursue and have a purpose to keep the conversation going! We believe breakthrough for your relationships is coming!
Go be crazy parents and keep loving those crazy-amazing, constantly changing, teenagers that God gave you!
If you have a question or a parenting issue that you’d like us to discuss in a future podcast, email us at [email protected].