HOUSTON – Attention, parents: You know what it’s like to ask your child, “How was your day?” For some, the response sometimes can be, “Fine.” Of course, many of you ask, “What did you do?” Their reply may be, “Nothing.”
As we head into the holidays season when loved ones are gathering, we’re talking with a psychologist on tips to get your child to open up, regardless of their age.
“It’s frustrating… it’s so frustrating. I want them to be open with mama,” explained Lisa Hernandez, a mother by day, and KPRC anchor by morning.
KPRC 2′s Owen Conflenti, father and KPRC 2 anchor, said, “So in an effort to fix that, my wife and I have done some reading that led us to an idea asking our children more direct questions, more specific questions.”
Melissa Tabin, a licensed psychologist suggested, “Ask them something like, ‘Oh, who did you sit with at lunch? Did you play that hide-and-seek game with friends today?’ The other thing that is super important, for children of all ages, is giving them the opportunity to respond on their time. If you respect their space and their privacy, they will be more likely to come to you.”
Tabin recommends engaging with them through an activity like cooking, walking, or shooting hoops.
“Nine times out of 10, we start the game, and then all of the sudden, 10 to 15 minutes in, it stops, and it is pure communication,” explained Tabin.
And do not underestimate the power of car rides.
“They don’t have to look at you, they’re thinking about where they are about to go, what they’re about to do, especially with teenagers that tend not to be as open. That’s really the ideal time,” Tabin said.
As for texting or communicating via messaging: “That’s a good question. I think a lot of us are still old school. I get less on texts than I do in that face-to-face. However, I do think there is a lot of value in texts,” said Tabin.
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