A number of parents who we have interviewed express frustration at their inability to get their student to talk at length on any issue. They swear that their student has a vocabulary comprised mostly of “Okay, Mom,” “I dunno,” “Whatever,” “If you want,” “Sure, okay,” “Not now,” when it comes to parental conversation.

Some students use these responses when they don’t feel like talking because they are busy, tired, or simply not in the mood. Maybe the student thinks they are just going to hear yet another lecture from the parent. Maybe the student thinks that the parent will start nagging at them yet again. The student may think the parent just doesn’t understand them. Parents need to respect this and not force communication at a bad time. Let it drop and bring it up later.

GT daughter and mom.

Try to structure a time to talk when the student is apt to be open to it. Students are often tired at the end of a hard school day or an athletic event, and this may not be the best time to try to start a conversation. Or the student may be preoccupied with something else. Think about your student’s schedule and how you can create a time where you will have their undivided attention. Perhaps taking them out to a quiet dinner or some other place where a “one-on-one” conversation can be effectively initiated will work.