Bad days happen to all of us. And while watching your best friend eat lunch with someone else might not compare to hearing rumors of layoffs at work, to your 13-year-old it’s a pretty big deal.
Imagine if, on your bad day, you complained to a friend or spouse, and he responded, “That’s all you have to complain about? I wish my life was so hard!” Not only would you feel irritated, but you’d also hesitate to share with that person again.
If you feel that your teen doesn’t tell you much, check your responses. Your teen or pre-teen considers herself more of an adult and less of a child, and she wants you to treat her as such. Though she’ll still often respond like a child, sometimes she’ll surprise you with her maturity and insight.
The next time your teen whines about his terrible day, try responding as you would to a friend or co-worker: “That does sound lousy. Poor you.” Don’t discount or solve any problems; just listen with empathy. You’ll get more information and you’ll get it more often.
And the next time you have a bad day of your own, chances are good your teen will give you a little empathy in return!