When Teens Won’t Talk


“The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention…. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.” ~Rachel Naomi Remen

Does your teen come home and head directly to his or her bedroom, closing the door? Does your previously talkative adolescent seem lately to have nothing to say to you? Do you feel hurt or angry by this seeming rejection? Don’t!

It is perfectly normal for teens to go through this stage where they may seem to want nothing to do with parents, or even siblings. Sometimes they just need alone time so it should not be taken personally.

Some “do’s and don’ts” may help you to get through this stage. Don’t insist that the child come out of his or her room and talk to you. Don’t force them to talk about their day or their friends. Don’t make them feel guilty for not meeting your emotional needs for connection or company. Don’t criticize them for being this way.

Do respect their need to have their own space and time. Do try to be cheerful and positive when they do come out, rather than hitting them with a list of chores or asking about homework right away. Do be available to listen when they do decide to share. Do leave lists or notes if they are difficult to talk to. Do occasionally leave a sticky note or card affirming your love for them.

Remind yourself that this is a normal stage, and if you resist being forceful or controlling, your child will one day open up to you again. If you force it and keep invading their personal space, you risk permanently damaging the relationship. Also, be aware that if you tend to be critical or nagging, your child may be hiding away simply to avoid conflict. Changing your approach may alter the situation.

Remember too that no matter what the adolescent’s attitude at the moment, it does not mean he or she does not love you. In most cases they do, but sometimes it is not easy being a teenager. Relax and let them be. This too shall pass.

Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.

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