It’s normal, especially for teens, to put up a little resistance from time to time against whatever the parent is offering or asking. But there are ways in. For instance, if they’re involved in something and don’t seem to want to drop it in order to talk to you, ask them about it. If they’re playing with an iPad or video game, join them or station yourself in a place where you can notice and comment on what they’re doing. They’ll feel like you’re part of it, and it can be an opportunity to talk.
Children, even teens, want to be noticed and feel special. Recognition can be the key to lowering the resistance.
It can also help to have some pre-designed questions to ask when you know you’ll be spending time together, like at the dinner table. Ask them to tell you about the funniest thing that happened to them that day, or something embarrassing, something sad. Asking about their emotions throughout the day can be a little more thought-provoking than “how was school,” and it helps them build emotional vocabulary, which can help them learn to cope with emotions — even ones they might not like.
Think of what you know about their interests, and focus on what’s interesting to them. Once you get them talking, you never know where a conversation might go.
The important part is being open to the opportunity for them to come to you. If they don’t seem to feel like talking, well, sometimes a little silence is OK, too.