Parenting the Silent Tween

Not every tween has a gift for gab, here's how to parent the silent tween

Some children just aren't as talkative as others.
You can encourage your child to open up by sharing information about your own day and experiences.

 Having trouble getting your tween to open up and share details of his life with you? Does your child remain silent or only offer up one word answers to your questions? If you're raising a silent or uncommunicative tween, don't feel like you're alone. Even once talkative children may suddenly become tight lipped when they are older. Tweens and teens are known for their aloofness and silence is often a part of that.

If you're frustrated that your child is no longer as talkative as he once was, the tips below should help.

How to Relate to an Uncommunicative Tween

Don't Take it Personally: If you're raising a silent tween, don't take it personally. Tweens may go through phases that are developmentally appropriate, and not necessarily a reason for concern. Your child might not be talkative simply because he's flexing some new found independence and doesn't feel the need to share everything with you. Or, he may just be one of those kids who shares only what he thinks is critical. Either way, don't take his silence as a form of rejection, because he may have nothing to do with you.

Don't Compare Kids: It's easy for parents to compare their children with each other and with themselves. You may be an extrovert but your tween may be introverted. Be sure you accept your tween for who he is, and that may be someone who just isn't up for long, drawn out conversations.


If Your Tween Won't Talk to You, Talk to Your Tween: One way to encourage your tween to open up is to share details of your day with your tween first. Don't dump your negative emotions on your child, just give him some insight into what your day was like -- what happened to you that was funny, interesting or unexpected.

If you get the conversation going your tween may join in.

Be a Good Listener: One way to encourage your tween to confide in you is to make sure you're a good listener when he does. Be sure your ready to listen whenever your tween is ready to talk. Take advantage of opportunities such as the dinner table and car trips to gently prod your tween into conversation. Finding topics that you both find interesting is a great way to get the conversation going.

Notice Behavior Swings or Changes: Some children just aren't particularly talkative, and if that's the case you probably already know how to deal with your child and have nothing to really worry about. But if your child has gone from being a chatty Cathy to saying little or nothing, there might be something wrong. Look for signs that your tween's aloofness is the cause of anxiety or worry, due to academic problems, bullying, peer pressure or other challenges. If you think something is troubling your tween, let him know you are there for support and that you want to help him deal with any problems he might be facing.

If your tween's behavior at school has also changed suddenly, you might want to meet with his teacher or school counselor.

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