Yep. Nuh. Dunno.

© Tanjaru |

© Tanjaru |

I have no idea if I was the sort of teenager who responded to adults with grunts and one word answers, but maybe. (If so, my mother probably would have called it ‘just a stage’. I mostly remember my father hating it when I added ‘right?’ to the end of my sentences. Right, Dad?)

Nowadays I suspect there are lots of people who wish I would give them only one word answers!

Anyway, a few weeks ago I read an article that offered advice to parents of teenagers who would like to be able to communicate better with their kids.

It encouraged readers to take a genuine interest in the other person’s life and ask questions that involve more than ‘yes’, ‘no’ or other one word answers. For example, instead of asking ‘How was school/work?’ ask things like ‘What was the funniest/best thing that happened at school/work today?’*

I reckon this approach can help all of us to avoid monosyllabic responses when we actually want to have a conversation with someone – including with the less communicative breed of teenagers featured in the great video clip: ‘Sort of dunno nothin’ by Peter Denahy.

* Dr Chris Daddis, Associate Professor of Psychology at Ohio State University quoted in ‘The grunt response: typical of teens?’ HealthLogix (July 2013)

Categories: Relationships

Tags: , , , ,

3 replies

  1. It works! I have been doing this with my daughter for several years now. I usually start with, “What was the best part of your day?” then, “the worst?” Generally, my daughter is a ‘talker’ and loves to tell me every part of her day. I have heard boys are different – less talkative. So I will see if this tactic works as well with my son!

    Good post!

    • Hope it works. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get the response you want the first time. I think it works best when people expect the question and they start looking for stories to tell. They may even be disappointed if you don’t then ask.
      Last week someone at work asked me ‘what was the best thing that has happened so far today?’ (She probably read the same article) But it was 9am and i had just arrived at work. I didn’t even have enough coffee in my system to say ‘I woke up?!’ If she asks today i will be able to tell her i received a like & a comment from a fellow blogger! Thanks

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