2. Calmness is miraculous
Here is the secret weapon for getting (and staying) close to your porcupine: a calm demeanor. No matter what you hear, or what you say. Stay. Calm.
Countless kids told us they shut down communication for one reason: they believe their parents will “freak out”, or overreact. So keep your equilibrium when your child mentions (or you find out about) the latest drama at school, so-and-so getting caught with drugs, a falling-out with a friend, or even the results of a practical joke. Keep an expression of calm interest, calm concern, calm sympathy, or calm amusement on your face and in your voice.
Especially if you’re responding to something upsetting (like that disrespect we mentioned!), your child will be on a hair-trigger. You will gain great credibility with them by remaining calm as you address it. You can issue corrections, make disappointment clear, and express worry – but when you speak in a matter-of-fact tone, they will hear it so much better.
And you will hear so much more from them going forward, because they know you are “safe” to share things with.