Talking to my Teenager | A New Approach


Nobody told me that talking to my teenager would feel like re-learning the steps to a dance with a few new tricky steps.

I didn’t know that my questions of  “How did your day go?” would be answered with a distracted, “It was good” as my son scrolled his Instagram feed after school.

Nobody tells you to anticipate the attempts at conversation that feel like a failed interrogation leaving you both wondering what the hell everyone is so pissed off about.

I’ve slowed my roll since I’ve started to get the hang of this new chapter of life with Evan.

Its been a bittersweet realization for me.

No more days of him tugging at my t-shirt hem, green eyes wide, eager to tell me about every little detail of his day at school or his adventures during recess or why Blaine wasn’t his friend anymore. The golden hours after school unfold differently now.

The kids usually scatter throughout the house, bookbags everywhere. My 9-year-old will plop on the couch and run in and out of the kitchen still needing to share her thoughts and adventures. Meanwhile, my son will head straight to his room and I’ll hear him strumming his guitar or find him spread out across his bed texting his friends. (Pro-tip: They all text now. Only old people talk on the phone.)

After a while he will lope out, feet bare and walk into the kitchen, rifle through the cupboards and ask, “what’s for dinner?”

I’ve discovered that this question is the teenage version of him tugging my shirt hem.

When he feels like talking he’ll lean against the counter and groan or nod his approval, depending on what I’m cooking, and watch me. He might mention something funny that happened at school or how a teacher made him mad in class. I’ve learned to be careful not to ask too many questions and just let him unfold and relax. Its usually over too quickly if I press too much, and he will pull back into himself and roll his eyes and sigh. Other times he’ll mention a current event that has caught his attention and he will ask me what I think and want to debate our differences in opinions. These are the times that he is relentless, following me throughout the house, using me as a sounding board as he tries to figure out the world around him.

I try my best to create space for these glimpses into the lives and minds of my kids. Dinner at the table, detours to get ice cream as we take the long way home, or evenings where we all gather in the living room to watch Netflix. Sometimes as we sit, I’ll catch a glimpse of that sweet-faced little boy superimposed with the face of the man he will become and I feel my heart swell, savoring these all too short moments. Its nothing like I thought that it would be but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Want to read more about that #teenlife? Check out some of our other posts or check out this great post about talking to your teenager from our sister site!

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