What to do when your kids won’t talk with you
Some of you have told me stories about your kids refusing to talk about sex. Hands over ears, fleeing the room, slamming the door.
I’ve been asked, “What should I do when my kids flat out refuse to talk?”
That stonewalling can be very discouraging! And…the ball is in your court. You, the parent, the adult, have to decide if this is important to you. I know it is, or you wouldn’t be here right now.
The first step is to acknowledge their feelings. Your child is telling you that they are uncomfortable, and that’s a boundary to be respected.
If, in the past, you’ve overrun your child’s boundaries, they might be very forceful about this situation, very loud, glaring, storming out of the room. They might have learned to be that defensive, because a lighter touch didn’t work so well.
If that’s your situation, you might need to apologize. Soften things by acknowledging that you haven’t always respected their feelings, and you’re listening now.
There might be a lot to process here, a lot of listening to do. The key is to not become defensive yourself. Let the “you never”s slide. It’s not actually true (we all know that!), but it is an accurate description of how your child feels and what their self-talk sounds like. Instead of trying to convince them with your words, let your presence and tone right here right now contradict what your child is saying. Rather than hearing it, they need to feel it to heal.
Maybe that’s not it, though
Maybe your child has absorbed from our society that we don’t talk about sex or porn or whatever…especially not with our parents!
In that case there’s no wound to heal, just a new precedent to set. It feels foreign and uncertain, a little scary. You’ll need to create some safety by acknowledging feelings and respecting boundaries. Maybe the talk doesn’t happen today, but you plan for when and how it could happen in the future.
Whatever you do, don’t give up!
Your child may be uncomfortable now, but with the right strategy, you can move past that. Wounds heal and boundaries move and comfort zones expand.
But it can be very confusing when you’re in the thick of it, and your uncertainty will be felt by your child, adding to their uncertainty. An outside perspective maybe just what you need to give you the calm confidence you need. If you need some help, let’s talk! Grab a spot on my calendar and we’ll figure out how to get those open ongoing conversations started. Let’s move you forward and get this ball rolling.
In support of you,
P.S. The Opening the Conversation group program starts next week (woo hoo!), and it covers all the foundational skills you need to have open ongoing conversations about sex and relationships, in a beautiful community of other parents who get it. If you’re ready to have these deeper conversations with your kids, let’s chat and see if it’s a fit.
P.P.S. Up for a challenge? Check out the What to Say When webinar for important conversations you can have with your kids.