I have a friend who reminds me so much of my sixteen year old daughter. I decide to ask this wonderful friend what helped her connect so well with her mother–especially since the two have such a great relationship now in adulthood.
She tells me to ask my daughter to “tell me a story” about her day. It’s such a simple question: “Do you have a story about your day?” She loved it when her mom would ask her this question.
Something about inviting children of any age to tell you a story of something that happened to them makes them feel less stressed out, less interrogated, and less closed off. It’s a non-judgmental question, too. And I’m learning that everyone likes to tell a good story.
I plop down on her bed while she’s getting ready for work, and I ask, “Do you have a good story about your day so far?”
My friend also reminds me to let my daughter share as many details as she wants because, to her, they matter to the story. I’m normally telling my teen to “get to the point” or “bottom-line it” but that just shuts her down and harms our connection.
So I ask for the story.
And then, I hear all the great stories.
She feels loved, and I feel connected.