(teen age) children. Here is a way not to and a way to start getting closer to your teen through conversation, from my perspective.
If you want to have a closer relationship with your teen then don’t start a conversation the first time you have them “trapped,” say in the car by asking “So…what is something that you are really struggling with right now?” You may be thinking “if they tell me what they are struggling with then I can help them with it and they will feel like I care”. But what they hear when you say that is: “ I am feeling like we are not as close as we used to be and so I am trying to quickly become your friend and learn more about you while you are confined to be with me.” This makes us feel like you don’t have enough time to truly get to know us and you are just asking so you can check off your list that you had a “deep” conversation with “the teen”.
What I would recommend is to try and talk with your teen about something they enjoy or are passionate about on a regular basis. You could say something like, “Wow, you are really good at making cookies!! Is that your favorite thing to bake?” Starting with a compliment is always a good way to start.
If they are into sports, you could say, “You were cheering really loudly when your team’s tackle guy brought the quarter back to the ground, do they get a reward for doing that?” Showing an interest and asking questions about something they know a lot about will spark conversation.
You can lead into a “deeper” conversation by saying something such as “Do you have a minute to talk?” letting them give you
their complete attention. Then you could say something like “I noticed that you have not been as smiley lately and I was wondering if something is bothering you?” This does not feel as abrupt as “What have you been struggling with?” and leading in with “Do you have a minute to talk?” gives them a hint that you are going to ask them something a little deeper.
These are just a few ideas on how to lead into a conversation with your teen. Keep on trying to communicate with them, we
appreciate our parents putting in the effort to know us.