Getting Them to Talk


I’m not sure what age it begins, but as our children get older, many of them go from chatterboxes to barely grunting out a few sounds. This may be more true for boys than girls, but it’s a frustration parents often express—that their children don’t talk to them as much anymore. So here are some thoughts on how you can possibly turn that around in your home.

First of all, mix up the time of day you talk to your kids. Don’t think the only time is when they get home from somewhere or at meal times. Those are great opportunities for talking, but it’s not always comfortable for your kids. They may need to relax for a few minutes when they get home. Or maybe a group setting isn’t ideal for them. Instead, try utilizing those few moments when you are driving them to school or an appointment or picking them up from an activity. Capture that one-on-one time and ask an open-ended question that makes them think. Instead of the typical, “How did it go today?” where you know they will answer, “Fine,” try something like, “Hey, what made you laugh today?” If they answer, “Nothing,” then follow up with, “Why not? What was hard about today?”

If a child is struggling to make friends or to adjust to something at school, they may be more reluctant to talk about themselves. If you get them talking about something else, it may naturally evolve into how they are doing. Work up to talking about who they sat with at lunch or who they call their friends, because if you start with that and they’re struggling, they may clam up.

As adolescents and teens develop friendships with their peers, it’s natural that they stop talking to their parents as much. It doesn’t mean you aren’t winning at home—just that your children are growing up.