“Most families tend to rush through dinner, especially the kids. They can’t wait to get back to their computers and cell phones and iPods. But they’ll stick around if the conversation is interesting. And the biggest determinant is YOU. If you see yourself and your life as a crashing bore, your kids will see the same thing. But if you see your life as an endless succession of miraculous and fascinating events, your kids will be transformed by it.”
Notice the little conversation openers your kids offer, and drop everything to respond. How you respond to his overture is crucial in building closeness. To him, it’s an indication of whether he can count on you to talk when he needs you. And much more important than any conversation you try to initiate, like when you try to get him to tell you what happened at school today. Parents who have close relationships with their teens often attribute their closeness to their willingness to be available if their teen signals a desire to talk — even if it’s 1am and her boyfriend just broke up with her. This can be difficult if you’re also handling a demanding job and other responsibilities, of course. But teens who feel that other things are more important to their parents often look elsewhere when they’re emotionally needy. And that’s our loss, as much as theirs.