RU OK day... are you ok?

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Contributor

RU OK day... are you ok?

Hi all! Have you heard of RUOK day? We are starting to think about how we will support the day....

 

In case it's new for you, R U OK?Day is an annual day in September (the second Thursday) dedicated to remind people to ask family, friends and colleagues the question, "R U OK?", in a meaningful way, because connecting regularly and meaningfully is one thing everyone can do to make a difference to anyone who might be struggling.

 

Would love to hear your opinions - what are your strategies for getting your teen to open up? How do you spark a good conversation with your teenage kids?

 

Also, what do think of this article:
Asking questions tha encourage your teenager to talk

Have you used any of these strategies? What worked? What didn't?

Super frequent scribe

Re: RU OK day... are you ok?

I found that it's harder and harder to get them to talk to me. Once they were chatty now it's like pulling teeth....just one syllable is all I get!
But it does worry me, I want them to feel comfortable talking to me, or I guess, if not me that they are talking to someone.

I will try some of the questions in the link
Contributor

Re: RU OK day... are you ok?

What about starting with a simple process?
1. Put your hands on their shoulders
2. Say "I'm here if you ever need to talk"
3. Hug them
4. Go back to what you were doing but repeat at least twice a week.

Sure it will be awkward at first, but I think it can be very powerful too: you are telling them you are there and willing to listen rather than asking them "what's happening with you?" and you are showing your love and support by giving a hug and not making a big deal about it.
Contributor

Re: RU OK day... are you ok?

Love this idea @Mitzi! Thanks!

 

Would love to get input from @ChilliDawg on this one!

Casual scribe

Re: RU OK day... are you ok?

Garr! If I tried asking my teen if she was ok, her head would rotate 360 degrees and I would be incinerated on the spot. The problem is, so much is happening at any one time for these kids, it's like being on a roller coaster ride. Without the ability to see the twists and turns coming up. Some teens think they 'should' be ok so they will answer thus. Others are not self reflective enough to give an answer. Yet others will be suspicious of your reason for asking. Exhausted, frazzled and busy parents will get an automatic -sure, why wouldn't I be? I have asked the question one day to find the next day is completely different. 

After raising two girls already with a third girl now 16 and suffering from a chronic, severe anxiety condition, I can only recollect what works for me when I try to touch base with each of them. 

The eldest girl,  between 16 and 18 years barely spoke to us. She hissed and growled at her sisters. There was a lot of grunting, eye rolling and disdainful looks. 

Her best friend's parents didn't believe me when I described her behavior at home. 

Put her in the passenger side of a car, and no sisters in the back, drive for 15 minutes at least, and she would tell me everything! What she needed was opportunity. And no face to face!

Second dughter told me way more than I ever wanted to know. I was given details, blow by blow intricacies of teenage life and relationships. I'm still suffering from the effects. 

The 16 year old, doesn't know from moment to moment sometimes. We have had suicidal lows, foggy disinterest, beautifully delightful times and out of control angry times. 

During the tough times, I use my mental checklist.

Is she sleeping, eating, drinking? I don't ask her, or confront her, I observe.

Does  she join us at the table,  lounge, garden or wherever we are gathered for any amount of time, or is she avoiding us?

Does she yell at the dog when I let her into the teen's room, or welcome her with cuddles and pats? (My dog can do as many gross and annoying things as she likes, I'm pretty sure my Chillidawg has saved my daughter from self harm many times) 

Can I engage her interest when yabbering on about people we know, events, news or whatever. 

When I ask her if she would like to spend time with me on Thursday or whenever, watching a movie or some such and she gives a yes answer or 'I can't mum, I'm doing something with Blahblah'. That's great. 

Kids with plans are looking forward. 

My sure fire way of touching base with all of them was to confess a worry, problem or difficulty and ask them for their opinion, help or insight. Seeing their parent struggling with something makes you appear more approachable. I'll tell the teen I went out to the shops with my jumper inside out, or that I have hurt feelings from something, and they are more likely to confide when they are feeling lousy. 

Three girls, three very different approaches- occasional success! 

For all three though, being available, quiet and calm was the only real circumstances that worked in our favor. Being there, is not the same as being available and approachable. 

Sincerely though, if they genuinely want to hide how they are from you, no approach will work. 

 

 

 

 

 

Contributor

Re: RU OK day... are you ok?

@ChilliDawg thanks for sharing! You sound like a very considerate parent! I am sure all your girls would benefit from your attitude.

 

I agree too that we as parents should share our emotions and struggles with children and discuss family issues with them frankly.

 

Sometimes, when I don't feel ok, I actually don't want to talk to people either. So it pays to talk to our children when they are actually ok, which will build our communication channel and strengthen relationship.


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