When Rocco left school, my question was standard: 'How was it at school?' and then I always got the same answer: 'Good'. I also received that answer, if it did not go well, but I did not find out until months later. But that aside. I can not be caught for a single hole, so I just kept asking. "Can you tell me something more about it?" Also on that question I always got the same answer, namely: 'School is just school.' Really nice conversation. Not.
I want more!
Of course I wanted to know more than just that truncated uninterested adolescent response. So I always fired a few questions at him:
Do you have any figures back? What did you do during the break? Have you had any tests? Did you get any homework?
Rocco always got the hang of all those questions and more than a "No, nothing, no, no, can I have some goodies?" I did not get it - the last question was most important to him - and that made me pretty frustrated. We could not find each other clearly in that area. So one day I decided to tackle it completely differently!
Like every day, Rocco comes to my office immediately after returning home. Instead of my standard questions, I start this time differently:
'Goh Rocco, did a UFO land on the schoolyard today?' I see him looking confused and thinking 'What the hell is she talking about?', But I also see that I have his attention. He has to laugh first and then I hear a "No, unfortunately not!" That is the reason for me to ask. I ask why he finds it so unfortunate and there is a pleasant and especially extensive conversation. No one-liners at all, nothing not a cut-off yes-no, but just a nice conversation. At the end of this conversation I still ask him about his school day and I get better answers!
Try to trigger it
Meanwhile I have all thought up nice questions for him to trigger him. For instance:
Are there today classmates eaten by a T-Rex?
What have you laughed about today?
What would you like to change about your school?
Have teachers got the hiccups?
What is your favorite spot at school?
Have you blown up the lab with chemistry?
If you yourself were a teacher, what would be your main rule?
If there was a time machine, what time would you like to go back to?
And that's how I can come up with a lot more questions. Rocco likes them and answers with enthusiasm. And when we chat for a while, the answers that I would like to hear are also discussed. These questions may seem out of the blue, but you will see that you know a lot without knowing. For example with the question about the T-Rex. This turns out to be the perfect question to find out with whom he can find less in the classroom. But that applies to many more questions. Via a small detour you can hear exactly what you want to hear. Namely how it goes with him.
Not that crazy
In itself, his attitude is not that crazy. My questions were not really inspiring. And if I ask a disinterested, repetitive, uninspiring question, I obviously should not expect him to be full of energy and creativity. He is also tired after such a school day, in fact he only has one pressing question he wants to ask: 'Mommy, can I have some goodies' and I have to win it with that ever-recurring question or question.
However, if I challenge him with other questions, questions that he does not expect at all, I seem to catch his attention and a nice conversation starts. In fact, according to me, he thinks it's getting even better and he comes to me with the thought: 'What will she have thought up again today?'
Everybody is different
Of course every child is different and each child is challenged by other questions. The point is that you can trigger your adolescent with your questions, catch his attention. That is difficult, but that is certainly not going to work with those standard questions that you now fire after him after school. If you can just crawl into his world of experience and get inspired there to really nice questions, then you can definitely come to a nice conversation with your adolescent!
The miracles are not yet out of the world!