Are you feeling a bit disconnected from your pre-teen or teenager, and tired of monosyllabic answers to the question, "How are you doing?" Do you have any unchecked "stories" running in your head about someone who matters to you? If so, I would highly recommend trying this simple question and answer game.
This weekend I told my thirteen year old son, Skye, how I remembered that when I was his age I didn't feel comfortable telling my parents things I thought might upset them, even if it was true for me. I had, just the previous night, connected with my own mom about our different communication styles and needs in a way I had never done before, and I wanted him to know that he never has to "pull his punches" with me because I'm a big person who can take care of myself, and I would never punish him for telling me his truth. Then I owned that there were some things I had been wondering about his experience during this recent period of big changes in our lives. I asked him if he was willing to answer me truthfully with yes or no answers, and he agreed.
So I would say things like, "I may have been telling myself that you are feeling like ..... when..... is happening. Is that true for you?" The important part from my side was to acknowledge that these were stories in my head that I wanted to check.
To my surprise, he would answer me each time in a way that I trusted was authentic! This went on for about ten or more minutes, with lots of genuine concerns being addressed and things getting clarified for me, as well as some silly puberty questions. We laughed a lot and felt really close by the end. My only regret is that I didn't give us a chance to switch roles!
Does this sound like something that might support connection with someone you love? Please try it and give me any feedback that you have.