My Kid Won’t Talk to Me-Here’s Why

Kids wont talk

Picture this scenario. Your teenage daughter blows through the door, obviously distraught. You follow her through the house until she finally sits down and shares through her tears a snapshot of the problem. You listen intently and then make a suggestion. Her response: a glare. Followed by a statement something to the effect of “you simply don’t get it.” The conversation ends as she retreats to her room while texting her friends.

Or how about this, your son comes in, slams the front door, goes up to his room and slams the door again. You would love to talk to him…but you’re simply not ever given the chance.

If you have a teenager, chances are you have experienced (or will) some derivation of these scenarios. Here is a teen translation guide to listening: *

  • “You don’t listen to me” = “You aren’t hearing what I feel”

Listening to our kids means hearing what they are feeling about a problem before working on the solution.

  • “You don’t listen to me” = “Your feelings are getting in the way of hearing mine”

As giant balls of emotions, teens are often scared, and these intense emotions can prevent them from feeling in control or able to listen in a rational manner. The last thing our kids need is for us to fuel their emotion with our own.

  • “You don’t listen to me” = “You appear to make up your mind before hearing me out”

This is especially true when we default to implementing discipline for our kid’s role in the situation.

  • “You don’t listen to me” = “You’re more concerned with making your point than considering mine”

We have got to avoid the temptation of seizing a “soapbox moment” and slipping into lecture mode.

  • “You don’t listen to me” = “You seem to care more about enforcing the rules than about our relationship”

Kids yearn for parents to really discuss things and look at life from a ‘relationship over rules’ perspective.

  • “You don’t listen to me” = “I don’t feel safe talking to you”

Teens feel compelled to share the details of their life with someone. It’s just a question of whom they are willing to talk to.

An ancient Hebrew proverb says, “Happy the generation where the great listen to the small, for it follows that in such a generation the small will listen to the great.”

Well said.


Until next time…



* List and excerpts taken from:

Feldhahn, Shaunti, and Lisa Rice. For Parents Only: Getting Inside the Head of Your Kid. Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Books, 2007.

About Jeffrey D. Potts, Ed.D.

Raised on a ranch in the Texas Hill Country, Jeff Potts, Ed.D., grew up learning the importance of hard work and family values. A graduate of Baylor University, he has master’s degrees from two universities and earned his Ed.D. in teaching and learning from a fourth institution. Potts launched his pedagogical career in the 1990s, working full-time with students and parents. READ MORE→