I'd like to tell you a secret about me....I don't like Pokemon Go! I don't play it, don't quite get it, and definitely don't want to walk around outside staring at my phone in hopes that Pikachu will appear.
But guess what?
My kids love it!
So we talk about it.
If you listen to their interests, their hobbies, their current obsession (and do so genuinely) children will get excited that you are actually paying attention to them. As you listen more and more to their interests, they will begin to trust you with the bigger stuff. They start to say "hey mom listened to me before so I guess I'll see if she'll listen to this".
Here are some tips to start conversations with your child:
1. Learn about their interests. Since they are the expert, ask your child questions about it to learn more about what they like about it. If we are on the topic of Pokemon Go, questions like "what happens when you run out of pokeballs?" or "how do you get Eevee to evolve?" are good starters.
2. Remember that kids will view things and think differently than you do as an adult. Try to understand the issue from their perspective. It might not be a big deal to you but it is to your child.
3. To let your child know that you are listening and understanding, you can repeat back (re-phrase) what he said. This is also helpful in making sure you really got it!
4. Show that you genuinely care about what they are saying! You can do this by putting your phone away, looking at them while they speak, and encouraging them to keep talking by saying "tell me more" or "and then what happened?".
Just remember, if you don't listen to them now your kids won't tell you anything later. Make an effort to listen to your child talk about the most recent YouTube video, what happened on their favorite show, or how many Pokeballs they have left. Your child is then more likely to talk to you about bullying, peer pressure, sex, and drugs.