“My chatty twelve year-old has turned in to the teenager who only grunts. What happened?”
If you have a son then what happened is testosterone. Yup, the same critical pubescent hormone responsible for the deepening of his voice and the “peach fuzz” on his face has brought about his grunting. Testosterone interferes with the communication centers in the young man’s brain. So don’t take his lack of communication personally. He actually can’t help it.
And what about your daughters? Well, teenage girls have a tenth the amount of testosterone so it’ a different hormone for them. They have times in their monthly cycle where they have increased levels of progesterone. This predominately female hormone causes her to be irritable and moody. She will likely become incommunicado and if she doesn’t, because she’s so irritable, you might wish she were. As with your son, don’t take her decreased communication personally.
So armed with this knowledge about the hormonal changes your teen is experiencing and the effects that these changes have on their ability to communicate, you can better tolerate the change and realize that it is age related. But here’s one other suggestion. Often parents try to get their teen talking by asking questions. Teens are usually surly in response. That’s because a question is a demand. It requires a response and it feels like you are laying on an expectation. Questions are also viewed as intrusive. You are “prying.”
Instead of questions make observations. Whereas you typically ask, “How was school?” and get a pat answer or a grunt why not try observing that, “You look tired. It must be you had a tough day at school.” While you may still get a grunt you are not demanding a response. You open the possibility that they may willingly offer information about their day.
Remember maintain a loving, positive relationship with your teen in spite of their communication difficulties. Use your knowledge of the stage they are in to patiently abide. As it is said, “This too shall pass.”