A: I met with a group of girls today and asked them these questions. Here are the answers – directly from the mouths of the experts.
Is it normal for eighth-graders to not talk to their parents? Yes!
- We are growing up and need to be more independent.
- If we tell our parents something they might yell at us or ground us.
- They will not keep it private.
- We don’t want them to share our conversations with their friends and get the story mixed up.
- They might not trust us anymore.
- It is kids’ gossip, and parents should not talk about kids’ gossip.
How should parents talk to their adolescent children?
- Don’t always ask us questions. Let us come to you.
- Don’t assume that we will make the same mistakes that you did.
- Don’t automatically assume the worst
- Trust our decisions and let us learn by our mistakes
- When we make mistakes, don’t pass judgment and don’t rub it in.
- Guide us.
- Let us grow up.
- Listen to us without responding in a negative way. Then we don’t want to talk anymore.
- Don’t compare us to other kids or siblings. We are all different.
- Have some mother-daughter time, but don’t call it that because that is lame.
- Do something that we both enjoy, but don’t force it. Let it come naturally.
The common themes that emerge from their statements are to:
- allow your children to talk to you when they are comfortable;
- let your children know you are always available;
- listen without making judgments;
- keep what your children tell you confidential – do not share it; and
- make time for your children – they want to talk, but not on command.