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Please help me talk to my daughter(14 Posts)
I'm a dad, mid forties, 3 kids. My eldest daughter has recently turned 13 and obviously she's growing up and starting to go through adolescence.
I'm not a great talker I know this, and I would like to get better, but I'm struggling to find the right approach. I'd like to be able to talk to her about her friends, interests, worries etc., but whenever I try I seem to end up having a fairly one way series of questions and answers that feels to me, and I'm sure to her too, more like an inquisition than a conversation.
She is quite a sensitive child too and I know she bottles things up. My wife is good at talking to her but even then there are things she (DD) internalises for weeks/months (she's quite like me in some ways!)
So I thought I'd reach out to the collective wisdom of MN and see if you all can help. Do you have any advice from when you were a teenager and your dad tried to talk to you? Perhaps you had a great relationship with your dad and there are a couple of things you can point to? Or perhaps your husband is great with your teenage daughters and you have some tips from things he does?
Thanks so much in advance for your help
Really recommend the book “How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk” and the teen version.
Stop the interrogation and pressure. Can you drive her somewhere? Do something with her - whether that's throwing a ball around, chess, gaming, getting her to help you with DIY or cooking a meal, even just watching something you both enjoy on Netflix...just examples, you get the idea. Teens tend to talk in the car or while engaged in something. Also tell her about your day, or ask her opinion on current events/ your shirt/ sports/ the weather, whatever, instead of interrogation. Good luck.
Get some board games, have a play and a laugh. Ask her to help you cook dinner sometimes - just the two of you. Don't just fire questions at her - no teenager likes to be quizzed ! Incidental conversation while engaged in some other activity is going to get you much further than firing questions at her.
Talk side by side not straight on. It's less confrontational and more likely for the other person to open up.
I always find the best way to get them to talk is to not talk about it. Take her to do something on her own, something she enjoys so she has a great time. Talk to her about other things, eventually she might open up a bit. Usually works with my ds1.
My husband has always had a fabulous relationship with our daughters, and can get more out of them (especially the youngest) than I can. I'm too in your face I think. He and the youngest have had a thing that whilst I'm in work at the weekend they go out, usually to a castle. They behave like
Idiots, have lots of fun and she opens up because there's no pressure. Like another poster said, side by side conversation can be easier.
I was close to my dad, still am, and have always preferred talking to him as he listens. My dm just gets stressed as she swallows my problem whole and vibrates with it! Me and my dad met in the middle, I went to football with him and he came bird watching with me. Picked me up from places. I suppose he was just "there" and there was no pressure. Also , we had a lot of fun.
Btw you sound like a great dad, so sure you'll be ok!
I agree with all PP. it's about being natural and having a chilled relaxed chat (DH and DD(14) talk rubbish and have a laugh) not a forced one.
Be interested in something she enjoys/loves doing. DH will ask DD about a dance sequence and try and copy her getting it all wrong and telling her she's so clever/talented etc. He'll chat about Sims4 and ask about mods even though he is not into it but DD is so will chat for ages about it normally while they cook or walk a friends dog.
Start small though and remember little things she mentions and ask about it later then expand as time goes on.
I have 2 adult DDS who both had a good relationship with their DF as teens. I am the in your face nosy sort and although my DD1 didn't mind the approach (she is the same as me) it didn't work for DD2 who is more like her DF and a bit more closed. He found things to chat about that they had in common - at that age i think it was techy stuff at that age.
I agree with PP that chatting in the car or whilst doing things is one of the best ways to get them to open up. Also don't ask 'how's school' type questions as you will get 'fine' as a response. Be creative with what you ask. Get her to explain something she is interested in that you genuinely know nothing about. She will totally be aware you are there for her, just keep chatting to her in general. It may be that like my DD2 she just isn't really the chatty sort.
Another vote for chatting in the car! Even if you have to create a reason for a journey - then let her talk & don’t judge. The fact you care enough to seek advice means you’re doing ok.
Thanks all. Side by side is a great tip, as is letting her choose the subject.
Trying not to force it but also trying to let her know I'm/we're there
DH and our 13 year old have a special time, just for themselves, when they go and get takeout of a Friday night. . . I think that kind of thing helps. Also, we have whatsapp and skype family conversations - and he sends them things he finds on the net that he thinks they might like, and vice versa. He's also WONDERFUL at reading their books, which gives them something to talk/bicker about.
Taking an interest in what they take an interest in (even when you actually in your heart of hearts find it dead boring) is something anyone finds very hard to resist.
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