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5 Ways To Get Your Teen To Open Up To You


It's healthy and normal to want to be close with our kids.

We decided to have children because we want to intimately share life with them.

To mentor them. 

To love them through the good times…and the bad.

To enjoy family experiences and memories with them.

Any person who teaches that parents can’t be close or connected with a teen…is an idiot.  

A teenager being close with a parent is normal. Healthy. Good. It’s human.


Yes, the teen brain is focused on becoming an individual, and developing his/her close peer group, but that doesn’t mean he/she can’t be close with a parent.

 In other words, while it can be common for a teen to shut a parent out of their life, it doesn’t make it normal, healthy, good or human. Teens need parents.


If your teen doesn’t talk or open up with you, here are some action steps.


  1. Change Your Parenting Approach

If your first instinct is to blame your teen for the distance between you…you are grossly misguided. 

First, look at yourself. There is very likely something in your parenting approach that is not effective with this unique child. This doesn’t mean you are doing a bad job parenting. This doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong. What this means is that your parenting approach may not be the most effective for your unique child/teen.

To help you look in the mirror, consider reading my article, 5 Reasons Why Your Teenager  Doesn’t Talk To You.

If you need further help improving your parenting approach, contact us for help!


  1. Use the Word “Boundary” Often When Speaking With Them

 "Boundary" is a powerful word. We should all use it more.

 Sounds like: 

I’d love to catch up and talk with you. But if you’d rather not I will honor your boundary.

 “Can we talk about your grades right now? But if you’d rather do it another time I will respect your boundary.

 “I’m really curious about how you are feeling about this. Yet, I'd want you to feel respected and that I am honoring your boundaries. Can we talk about it?


Teens love boundaries.

The problem is, many teens don’t have the communication skills (or the maturity) to set boundaries in a kind and respectful way. Therefore, they end up setting boundaries in childish, hurtful and immature manner. "Leave me alone. Get out!"


When a parent starts using the word “boundary” it… 

  1. Helps a teen understand they, in fact, have boundaries
  2. Models for the teen a kind way to communicate and set a boundary
  3. Teaches the teen the parent wants to honor their boundary..and won't violate it

Why are boundaries so important when raising teens?

When a teen feels like their parent honors their boundaries, the teen is more likely to open up. They feel safe and respected. In control.


  1. Ask Them If They Like How You Parent Them…and Listen To Their Advice

 Sounds Like: 

“Son/Daughter, I want us to be close. Can you give me some advice? What can I do or change in my parenting approach which would help us to be closer? Do you like the way I am parenting you?”

 As I often say/teach, parenting a teenager should feel like you are in a Win/Win relationship.  But if you want to establish this, you must be willing to listen to your teenager and be open to what they have to say. This is also a form of "authoritative parenting".


  1. Make a Good "Deal" With Them

It’s difficult for some teens to open up and be close with their parent. Teens have many other things on their minds which they prioritize over their parents…and that is ok and normal. 

Yet, there are always creative ways for parents to help their teen to open up and talk with them…and “making a good deal” with them is one.


Sounds like:

Teen - “Mom, can you take me to the mall, I need some new shoes?”

Parent – “I’d love to. Can we make a deal? How about I’ll take you to the mall, we get Starbucks and chat about your friends, your stresses, and your life, all while we shop for the shoes. Do we have a deal? Win/Win?”


Here is another example of a good deal…


Teen – “Dad, can you buy me a prom dress?

Dad – “I would love to! Can we make a deal? How about I give you the money for the dress and tonight you and I go out for a burrito together and you tell me about your dress, the date you are going with and we catch up? Deal?”


  1. Start Having “Heart Talks” With Your Teens

I teach about the positive power of “Heart Talks” very, very often...for good reason.

Closeness with a teen begins and ends with Heart Talks. 

Obedience from your teen has a lot to do with your ability to have Heart Talks.


A “Hearts Talk” occurs when a parent and teen really talk and connect…heart to heart. 

 We have found that many modern parents speak from their heads, and not their hearts, and they struggle with Heart Talks: having them, teaching them to their kids, creating Win/Wins out of them.

Some modern parents were not close with their parents growing up, so being close with their child feels weird or foreign to them.

The number way to get your teen to open up to you...start having Heart Talks with them. 


Action Steps From Here

 1. Attend my latest free parenting class, “How To Break Screen Addiction and Build Motivation".

2. Join the Parents Club.

3. Schedule a private, parent coaching session with Sean Donohue.



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Stay Strong. Be Close. Teach Wisdom.

Sean Donohue

Family Coach, Founder

Click HERE to go deeper with Sean.

Click HERE to read "3 Mistakes Parents Make With Screen Addiction!" 

Click HERE for Sean's article, "Why Teens Need EQ Skills".

Click HERE to read Sean's article, "How To Evaluate Your Teen's Emotional Maturity".


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