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when do my kids talk to me

When Do My Children Talk to Me?

When do my teenagers start deep conversations with me? Conversations about their hopes and dreams, possible love interests, and behind-the-scenes social goings on I’m not often privy to?

when do my kids talk to me

Let’s look at the possibilities.

Is it over breakfast when we lovingly prepare to send each other out into our days?

Nope. In the mornings we are fighting over hot showers and cereal bowls.

Is it at bedtime, the part of the day when we used to read stories together and cuddle?

Nope. At bedtime my teens are eking out their last few moments of access to their smart phones before we ever so meanly take them away for the night.

Is it during time in transit — the frequent trips to practice, to appointments, to and from friends’ houses?

Nope.  That would be just too convenient.

Is it at the very end of these trips, just as I pull up to the garage to let them out so I can squeeze the car in?

With the car running and me unable to traverse the last 10 yards?

With the groceries warming, the ice cream melting? Is this when they say something like I think Cameron likes me or It’s ridiculous how easy it is to get pot at school or One of my friends is talking bad about another friend.  *

Why, yes. Yes it is.

If I kick the kiddo out of the car so I can drive into the garage (they have to get out before I can park) I may lose the moment. I cannot lose the moment.

So I sit there with my foot on the brake and they keep talking. I eventually turn off the car and they keep talking. The minutes tick by, the ice cream gets mushy, and the teenager keeps talking.

I keep listening. It’s good stuff when they let me in.

If this new trend continues, I may have to stop buying ice cream for awhile.

* Fictionalized examples of conversation my teens have launched in the 1.5 seconds it takes me to drive up the driveway.


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Lori Holden, mom of a young adult daughter and a young adult son, writes from Denver. She was honored as an Angel in Adoption® by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Find Lori’s books on her Amazon Author page, and catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.

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11 Responses

  1. That or invest in space ice cream.

    I remember doing this. The idea of picking a good time to have these conversations never dawned on me. It was always something that would just pop into my head, usually due to a completely unrelated prompt (related prompts never worked for me opening up). On the one hand it sucks because it would be nice to plan. But the fact you are engaging despite this is awesome.

  2. I only remember ever having ONE of those conversations with my mother. I was away at college and for some reason she came to the small town close to where I lived. I still remember what she said and that I knew I would never confide in her again. However, my daughters did each confide in me and still do in all varying degrees.

  3. Maybe that’s the time that seems “lower stakes” for them to open up, because there’s an easy exit strategy. (“If Mom gets annoying, I can just hop out of the car!”) (I don’t think you’re annoying – just trying to remember a teen’s perspective.)

    As far as your ice cream goes, I see two possible solutions:

    1. Bring a cooler or insulated grocery bag and an ice pack and throw your frozen stuff in there when you load stuff into the car. We end up doing that during the summers here, so stuff doesn’t melt on the way home.

    2. Keep some spoons in the glove box, so you can all dive in while they dish! 😉

  4. I’m glad the answer is to have the ice cream melt and listen, that is such a gift. Maybe one day they will master the art of timing, but it’s so lovely that they confide in you.

  5. Clearly, you need a bigger garage! 🙂

    I’m beginning to think that’s a ploy – my daughter loves talking to me when I am obviously concentrating on something else. But at her age, 99% of what she says is blather and I can only respond with “mind your own business” or “why do you care how many referrals so-and-so says he has?” She knows I tune her out a lot because she talks non-stop. But she also knows the best time to get my full attention.

  6. I don’t know what would be worse — 11 pm (when I like to tell Josh my feeeeeeelings) or in a running car inches from the garage. It’s good that they’re still confiding in you.

  7. So, this is something wired into the genetic code of the species, eh? Four more years until our youngest is out of her teen years, and we can start buying ice cream again… LOL!

  8. You are so right. I remember trying to finally open up to my mom but almost always she was too distracted to pay attention. Maybe it’s a way for teenagers to court the “rejection” they feel they are going to get eventually anyway. I love how you flip the moment and change it from closed to open. Melted ice cream is also delicious.

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