Kids Clamming Up? Try These 3 Strategies

Sometimes it’s like pulling teeth to get my kids to share ANYTHING! I’ll ask a question and get one word answers or their body language will tell me they’re not at all interested in discussing whatever I’m asking. Sometimes they’re tired or hungry or cranky and just don’t feel like talking. But there are other times when I recognize that my communication style is actually causing them to clam up.

I’ve found that I’m more successful in getting my kids to open up and have a real conversation if I use the following 3 strategies: 



  1. Don’t interrogate!  Parents are often quick to ask a long list of questions the minute the child walks through the door or gets into the car.  Avoid the instinct to interrogate and simply say…”It is SO great to see you.  I’m really happy you’re home!”
  2. Spend quality one-on-one time with your child each day. Kids are more likely to open up and share their feelings when they feel emotionally connected to us.  Spending just 10 minutes, one or two times a day – when you are 100% present – and doing something your child likes to do will increase your emotional connection and works wonders in keeping lines of communication open.  By making special one-on-one time part of your daily routine, you’ll be amazed at how much your child will share in the midst of your special time together.
  3. Share yourself!  If your child seems reluctant to open up – then YOU do the sharing.  Even if you don’t think he or she will be interested, talk about what you did at work, about something that is concerning to you – what ever is on your mind.  Then, say….”Thanks for listening.  I feel better when I can talk about what’s on my mind.”

About the Author

Amy McCready
Nationally recognized parenting expert Amy McCready is the Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and the best selling author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic - A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World and If I Have to Tell You One More Time…The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling. As a “recovering yeller” and a Certified Positive Discipline Instructor, Amy is a champion of positive parenting techniques for happier families and well-behaved kids. Amy is a TODAY Show contributor and has been featured on CBS This Morning, CNN, Fox & Friends, MSNBC, Rachael Ray, Steve Harvey & others. In her most important role, she is the proud mom of two amazing young men.