Get past the one word answer utilizing military tactics.

EatSleepDad Life Lessons, Parenting 0 Comments

Don’t make dinnertime conversations like an interrogation session.

One word answers.  Thats usually what I get from my 11 year old daughter when I ask how her day went.  Funny how she can so deeply describe each detail of her 7 hour day at school with just “fine”.

If you’ve got pre-teen or teenage daughter, you know the deal, it’s the age when they begin to push you to your limits and start exploring their independence.  You’re probably getting some rebellious attitude and snappy back talk too.
But there’s a way!
Back to that one word answer.  I’ve been giving it some thought these last few days, wondering how I can get her to open up.  I took a few moves from my warfighting book and came in from the flank, rather than head on like usual, while laying down a smile as suppressing fire.
While laying suppressing fire, approach the objective from the flank.
“Tell me something funny that happened today”, I asked.
“Umm, Melissa tripped and Samantha and I laughed a little”, she said.
BAM!  Just like that, I found the key to open that door and finally got an answer.  I proceeded to ask why Melissa tripped, then expanding into conversation about how orchestra class is going, upcoming projects and even some more jokes about her best friends. 
In speaking to an acquaintance who happens to be a child therapist, she recommended avoiding the direct question, which usually makes my daughter shut down, and working around it by finding something that interests her.  In my opinion, start with “what’s something funny that happened today”, it’s been working like a charm.
This was a 100% dad win.
I’m still trying to figure out the psychology of what makes a girl this age tick, and when I do, I’ll be sure to report it here.  Until then, it’s a day to day work in progress. 

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