What are some questions that teens dislike answering?

Communicating with your teen can at times seem like a chore. The good news however, is that research shows that adults who report having communicated well with their parents in their teens live longer, healthier, happier, lives.

What follow is a list of the top turn off questions as reported by teens:

Don't Say: How was your day at school? Too general and overwhelming.

  • Instead Try: Did anything funny happy at school today? More specific and less overwhelming.

Don't Say: How was the test? Can sound threatening especially if things didn't go well.

  • Instead Try: Are you glad the test is over? Provides the choice for teen regarding he wants to talk about the test or not.

Don't Say: You're wearing that? It suggests you are disappointed in her even though it is really only about her clothing choice.

  • Instead Try: Those new leggings would look great under that skirt. Recommending an addition is a great way to express interest in her fashion choices while sending the message that you have concerns. She will feel that you are generating solutions instead of simply criticism.

Don't Say: What's wrong!? If your teen is upset your alarm could frustrate him more.

  • Instead Try: Can I get you something? What you are really asking is if he wants/need your support. With this approach he may just say 'yes.'

Don't Say: Come talk to me. This sounds like a demand instead of a request.

  • Instead Try: Do you want to sit with me? Less threatening. This also suggests that it is up to him about whether he wants to talk. Teens like to feel empowered.

For a full list of the do's and don’ts of Talking Teenage check out my book:

Teenage as a Second Language: A Parent's Guide to Becoming Bilingual (Adams Media, 2010)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.