It can be hard to get kids to open up and talk to us. A lot of times they feel interrogated by all our questions. I find it works better when we just make ourselves available. That’s why I love this tool, closet listening. Closet listening is just hanging out with our kids and not forcing conversation by asking questions, rather just being present if they feel like talking. Often we’re so busy we don’t take the time to just be there for our kids. Making a conscious effort to just sit with our kids can be very effective. At first, they might wonder what the heck you’re doing hanging around.
I remember I started this with my daughter. Just sitting in her room or bathroom while she got ready. At first, she was like, “What do you want?” I replied, “Nothing, just hanging out” It didn’t take long before she started talking about her day and what was going on in her life. The important thing to remember is that when they do start talking, just listen without judging, defending or explaining. With my boys, long car rides were the best. Something about sitting side-by-side rather than facing each other really helps kids open up.
My kids have gotten used to me just hanging out in their rooms. They don’t always feel like talking, but they know I’m there if they do. As my children get older, it’s ever more important that they feel they can come to me with anything and know I won’t judge them or lecture them.
These conversations have been cherished moments. I encourage you to try it. If they don’t open up at first, just keep making yourself available. Just remember to resist the barrage of questions.
Your Parenting Coach,