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As parents, we often find ourselves navigating the intricate landscape of raising teenagers. It’s a journey marked by countless highs and lows, triumphs, and challenges. Among the many hurdles we face, one of the most perplexing is the struggle to establish open communication with our teens. Despite our best efforts, it can sometimes feel like we’re speaking different languages, unable to bridge the gap between their world and ours.

Being trusted by our teenagers to confide in is one of the greatest privilege we get as parents. It is simple while they are young. Teenagers aspire to be like us and seek our approval. They may still want to ask us for help and advice as they become older, but how we respond to their questions may affect how comfortable they feel asking. They may decide not to contact us based on our response to their inquiries.

When our teenagers discuss something with us that we find uncomfortable, how do we respond? What takes place if they have inquiries concerning their sexuality? How we will tackle their relationship issues or breakup situation?

Why won’t our teens open up with us?

Fear of Judgment: Adolescence is a time of immense vulnerability. Teens are grappling with identity formation, peer pressure, and societal expectations. They fear being judged or criticized, even by those closest to them. As parents, it’s crucial to create a safe, non-judgmental space where they feel free to express themselves without fear of repercussion. For example, stopping them to meet their friends, to use phones, and stopping them for going to college.

Desire for Independence: Teenagers are on a quest for autonomy. They yearn to assert their independence and carve out their own identities separate from their parents. This drive for independence can sometimes manifest as reluctance to share their inner thoughts and feelings, as they may perceive it as relinquishing control or admitting vulnerability.

Lack of Trust: Trust is the cornerstone of any meaningful relationship, yet it’s something that must be earned over time. If teens perceive a lack of trust or feel that their privacy is being invaded, they’re less likely to open up. Building trust requires patience, consistency, and demonstrating respect for their boundaries.

Communication Breakdown: In today’s fast-paced digital age, face-to-face communication often takes a backseat to texting, social media, and other forms of digital interaction. As a result, genuine, meaningful conversations can become increasingly rare. It’s essential to prioritize quality time together without the distractions of screens, allowing for authentic dialogue to flourish.

Emotional Turmoil: Adolescence is a rollercoaster of emotions. Hormonal changes, academic pressures, and social dynamics can all contribute to heightened stress and anxiety. In the midst of such emotional turmoil, teens may struggle to articulate their feelings or even make sense of them themselves. Encouraging emotional intelligence and offering support during times of struggle can help facilitate more open communication.

Peer Influence: Peers play a significant role in shaping teenage behavior and attitudes. Teens may be more inclined to confide in friends or seek validation from their peer group rather than turning to their parents. Fostering a strong sense of connection within the family unit can help offset the influence of peers and encourage teens to turn to their parents for guidance and support.

Cultural and Generational Differences: The generation gap between parents and teens can sometimes feel like an insurmountable barrier. Cultural differences, technological advancements, and evolving social norms can further widen this divide. It’s essential to bridge these gaps through empathy, active listening, and a willingness to understand and appreciate each other’s perspectives.

How to Bridge the Communication Gap

The following advice can help you maintain contact with your teens even if they are pushing you away:

Show consideration for their interests: Teens possess incredible zeal, energy, viewpoints, and expertise. Allow them to serve as your instructor and impart some of their wisdom to you. Inquire about their thoughts and perspectives. Just watch out that you don’t become so engrossed in their pursuit of it that it stops being “their thing.”

Keep up certain family customs: Maybe they want to go out with pals these days, so they’re resisting having dinner with you every night. It could create a hostile climate if you make them stay. Try to preserve some of your customs so that they don’t feel like they’re impeding their social growth. Plan outing with your teens, have breakfast, lunch dinner together every day.

Restricting screen time when you’re around: Talking with others is usually a lot of fun. When conversations take place virtually, they might be less stressful and easier. If your teenager is texting friends on their phone, you are missing out on an opportunity to communicate.

Eliminate the question “why did you do that?”: In actuality, everyone makes mistakes in words or deeds, especially teenagers. You almost never receive a useful response when you ask someone “Why did you do that?” In general, it makes your kid feel guilty and less willing to engage in more and further conversation with you.

Avoid attempting to fix their problems: Our teenagers aren’t helpless little babies anymore. We convey the message that they are incapable and helpless to handle issues on their own when we solve their problems. We also stopping teens to the chance to learn how to handle conflict, how to tolerate frustration, and how to experience the satisfaction of completing a task autonomously.

Don’t downplay or ignore how they feel: Adolescents lack the life experience that adults possess. It really is the end of the world after their first breakup, rejection or failure. Reassuring them that it’s not a big problem or that they shouldn’t be upset merely conveys to them that you’re not the person they should confide in with their intense emotions. The antithesis of what you want is this. Try to imagine yourself in their situation, or go back to a similar incident that happened to you as a teenager, and then react with compassion.


In conclusion, the challenge of getting teens to open up and truly communicate with us is a multifaceted one, rooted in a myriad of factors ranging from fear and insecurity to the complexities of adolescence itself. However, by fostering trust, creating a supportive environment, and actively engaging with our teens on their terms, we can begin to break down the barriers that stand between us and forge deeper, more meaningful connections with our children. After all, communication is the bedrock of any healthy relationship, and the effort we invest in nurturing it will pay dividends in the long run, strengthening the bond between parent and teen and laying the foundation for a lifetime of open, honest communication.

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