Here are nine ways to ensure your teen won’t open up and share with you:
1. Interrupt. Cut her off before she gets to the end of her story. Better yet – predict how her story will end and finish her sentences for her. For best results, interrupt with a question about chores or homework being done.
2. Downplay feelings. Especially if he’s really excited about something, or really angry at someone, be sure to say, “You think that’s a big deal? You should try living my life!”
3. Raise your voice. Your teen is guaranteed to clam up if she thinks you’re “going off” on her.
4. Use Always and Never. Be sure to point out his faults, especially how he always forgets to be responsible or how he never treats you with respect.
5. Criticize. Complain about her clothes, her hair and her friends. Tell her how disappointed you are in her grades and in her behavior.
6. Use half an ear. Say “Uh-huh” and “Mm-hmm” to make it sound like you’re listening even though you’re not. Tell yourself he won’t know the difference.
7. Belittle her in front of others. Tell your friends and family members about her faults and past mistakes when she’s standing right there. Describe a situation that really embarrasses her, and then expect her to laugh along.
8. Be judgmental. Ask “What were you thinking?” or point out how immature he’s being. Remind him that he will never get a decent job with an attitude like that.
9. Solve his problems for him. Make him feel inferior by telling him what he should do. Don’t let him gain any self-confidence by allowing him to persevere on his own.
(What’s that? You want me to publish the other list next week? I’m thinking you might be right. . .)