“Oh … never mind! I don’t want to talk about this anyway.” Have you ever heard this from your teenager? It can be exasperating to get your teen talking. Think about why they don’t open up to you. Seek first to genuinely understand what they are saying. Show them respect by paraphrasing their meaning and check to see if you got it right. Then, you will have their attention and the chance to begin a real conversation. Trust comes before truth. You need to build trust before your teen will reveal their true thoughts and feelings. You will never succeed with difficult conversations if you can’t have easy ones. Asking a bunch of direct questions won’t work. Anyone will feel interrogated and become defensive. Don’t assume (you’ll usually be wrong) and don’t give advice unless requested (no one listens anyway). Once your teen asks, they will be more open to actually hearing what you have to say. Give them credible, rational reasons for what you are doing and saying; explain yourself. Don’t lecture. Humor and a light touch works best. Stay accessible and be available to listen. Earn their trust and establish your credibility by being congruent; walk your talk.