“Dad, I’ve got a problem with my algebra class. See you later!” our daughter blurted out before slamming the car door and running off to school. That quick confession cracked the door open to expose academic struggles, secrets, and emotional pain we’d been oblivious to all year. As her mom and dad, our hearts cried out, Why didn’t we know? How could we have missed it? We didn’t know because she never opened up to us along the way.
That dark day was a turning point in how we relate to our teens. We came to recognize the unhealthy patterns that shut down communication before it began. It started a season of rebuilding trust and connection. The relationship we now share with our daughter and our two other teenagers has an openness today that we cherish.
Every parent wants a close relationship with their son or daughter. Young people wrestle with huge life questions, like “Which career path should I choose? Who, when, and why should I start dating? How do I juggle homework, a job, extra-curriculars, and a social life? Are social drugs and alcohol really that big of a deal? Is the Bible relevant to what I’m going through? What do people think about me on social media? Am I good enough just the way I am?” Our hope as parents is to help them find truth-filled answers to those questions.
We long to hold a position of influence so we can see Proverbs 22:6 fulfilled in our kids’ lives: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” If our son or daughter shuts us out, we feel as if our voices are silenced. Fears and frustration rise up and push us even further apart.
How can you get your teens to open up and welcome you into their lives? Here are eight ways to invite communication with your son or daughter without saying a word:
Photo Credit: Unsplash