2. Meet them where they are
While kids probably aren’t juggling a million things outside of themselves (bills, in-laws, parenthood, etc), they are juggling a million things inside themselves.
They’re in a quagmire of their own development and the pressure society places on them to always be good, smart and successful is so overwhelming that kids live in a constant state of anxiety. They genuinely feel as though people lie in wait around every corner, just to catch them doing something wrong and judge them. It becomes an “always on” feeling, where they sense that peers, parents, siblings, teachers, clergy and strangers lurk in the shadows awaiting their screw ups — every misstep makes them an ambassador for their entire generation as a “lost cause.”
Your child’s struggles are just as real as yours, they’re just different. Empathy and compassion for their struggle helps them trust you enough to at least talk about what’s going on in their world … and, if you’re lucky, they may even do a little listening, too.