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Poker Face: What is my Teen Really Thinking?

Lady Gaga must be reminiscing about her teen years when she sings about ‘Poker Face.’ If you are the parent of a teen I have no doubt you have found yourself in situations where you are unsure of what your teen is thinking or feeling about an issue. This is especially common during confrontational moments. You are trying to talk to your teen about a concern and you are met with a blank look. How frustrating! If you are lucky you may get some response such as: ‘I don’t know,’ or ‘So.’

But fear not, with the right approach you can have that interactive conversation you were hoping for.

Here are my suggestions:

1.) Often it is not what you say but how. Approach your teen in a cool, calm, and collected manner. If your body language and tone suggest anger and or frustration your teen may automatically shut down in defense.


2.) Talk with your teen, not at him. An angry or anxious tirade will not encourage a response from your teen. Give him an opportunity to talk and really listen. If he feels he is being heard you open the door to a conversation.


3.) Ask your teen what she is thinking. Point out that you can not gauge her reaction. She may assume you know what she is feeling and thinking because so often you do.


4.) Offer assumptions. If all else fails let him know you will have to act on your assumptions since he isn’t giving you much. Although your teen may not seem like he is listening, he hears you but just isn’t ready to talk about this.


5.) Leave the door open for conversation. Let your teen know that you are ready and willing to talk about this. Often teens are caught off guard by their parents’ confrontations. They need time to process the situation and your reaction. This is why the calmer you present the better chance you have that she will seek you out later to discuss the situation.

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