I know you. I talk to you everyday. You email, you post to social and some of you even call me. When I ask you, “What’s the single biggest challenge facing you right now?” And one big question is “how do I get my child to open up and talk to me?” You say things like:
- “Connecting with my son on more than just video games.”
- “Connecting with my teen in a busy world. Teaching the kids a biblical worldview without exasperating them.”
- “Communication: aligning my intentions with my words and getting through to our child.”
But, one big question I hear from you is, “How do I get my child to open up and talk to me?”
I have you covered in this post. I have seven ideas for helping your child open up and talk to you. You can do this. We can help.
#1 Be patient.
Unless you’re the perfect dad, building a relationship with you child takes time—way more than you think.
Connecting with your child is like working with a contractor (sorry contractors)—the job always takes twice as long and cost three times as much!
Now, if you’ve never done this type of thing with your son or it’s been a while, relax, work from the start to be transparent and open.
But understand, it’s going to take time. Be patient.
#2 Let the conversation roll.
Assuming you’re using one of our handy, dandy 1 on 1 guides
, don’t get hung up on finishing a full session every time you sit down.
The content should yield to the conversation, not the other way around. Whatever you don’t get covered in the first session, that can be what you cover in the next time you get together.
The point? Be intentional, but be flexible and let the conversation happen over time. Treat this time like a business meeting and you’ll kill it before it starts.
#3 Shorten the horizon.
Tell your son that this is around a six-week gig and you’re looking forward to the process of engaging over that time. Just do one study at a time.
Take a break after completing the six sessions from Embarking 1 on 1
. Then come back and decide which topic to tackle next.
I’d suggest not telling your child, “Oh, I have an entire year of bible studies we can do together!” While that sounds awesome to us. It probably sounds less awesome to your son.
#4 Emphasize prayer.
This will help turn the conversation to a more intentional time together. Invite the Holy Spirit to lead, guide and help you guys get the most out of your time together.
Time is short. Everyone is busy. We want to connect authentically.
#5 Have a sense of humor.
Not gonna lie, this may be difficult for some of you. If something goes wrong or something gets awkward, don’t sweat it.
You’re embarking on a journey of biblical fatherhood
so there will be some rocks in the shoes along the way.
Think funny thoughts, kids.
#6 Grab a snack.
Nothing brings dad and child together like food. You can enjoy food and drink before the meeting starts, in the middle of it, or at the end. Your choice.
Heck, make your meeting time at a local coffee shop and you win all around.
#7 Don’t pressure your child to speak.
If your son doesn’t want to open up during that first conversation. Fine. Ask a few questions, talk a little, set some expectations without sounding like a business meeting, let him know your goal and then move on.
You’re goal here is to start. Doesn’t matter how well—just get started. God will bless your efforts. We’re here if you need us. Just keep repeating steps one through seven.
This guide will help you and your child learn to five biblical truths. Visit Embarking 1 on 1 to learn more and get your free sample.
Question > Which of these seven things do you need the most help with? You can always email me or tweet @ManhoodJourney.
Ryan Sanders is the Director of Outreach at Manhood Journey. Ryan is married to Tonia and they have two daughters and one son. He lives in Reston, Virginia, serves at McLean Bible Church as a regional leader and is a die-hard Washington Redskins fan. Learn more about Ryan here and find him on Twitter @RyanSanders.