Reasons Your Teen May Not Always Share About Their Day

As a Gen Z individual, I’ve realized the generational divide can be a significant obstacle in parent-child communication. My perspective on life, the way I communicate with peers, absorb information, and perceive the world, all seem distinct from my parents’ experiences during their youth. There’s a broad chasm that presents several reasons your teen may not always share about their day. My own high school years witnessed this separation, where I often held back from discussing school events or friend-related issues with my parents, fearing they wouldn’t understand or offer valuable advice.

If your teen only gives you a one-word answer when you ask how their day was or goes straight to their room when they get home, there may be barriers to conversation that you don’t know about. To get through these, you need to be conscious and aware. Here are some of the things your child may be thinking about and some suggestions for connecting with them as a parent.

“I should only come to you when things are really serious.”

We know you’re busy, stressed out, and both our biggest fan and our biggest critic. Most of the time, we come up with a threshold of things to say to you to get around these hurdles. We don’t tell you about it if it’s not a matter of life or death. Why? For example, you might think you won’t be interested or don’t have time.

What parents can do is reassure their offspring that they are paying attention to their every move and that their concerns about their children’s social lives and athletic endeavors are not trivial because of their age. Hearing from you in those small ways makes a difference in our lives.

“The person I’m becoming is different from what you thought I’d be like.”

It’s natural to think that other people share your views. But when it comes to your child, it can affect what we tell you about our lives. We’re all different; even though we’re your kids, we’ll still be our own people. And it doesn’t start when we turn 18, either. Every day, we grow into our own unique people.

What parents can do: If we know you’ll accept us for who we are, no matter what you want for us, we’ll know we can keep being ourselves with you. That means we want you to support how we look, sound, choose to identify, or even how we dream, love, and explore. This can start early by helping us with our always-changing hobbies and getting to know what we like. We need to know that our parents are there for us as we go through these changes.

“I’m not perfect, so I worry that you won’t be proud of me.”

If a teen confides in their parents about an uncomfortable topic and receives a negative response, it’s the worst possible scenario. Or if our parents move quickly and don’t give us time to explain what happened. When this happens, we know that our parents aren’t thinking about how we feel at the time. These reactions can scar us for life and make us less likely to come to you when we do something wrong or really need your help.

What parents can do: Try not to jump at us when we tell you something you don’t like. Instead, be gentle. If you do something bad, we can take you off our list of people we talk to, and before you know it, you’ll be back to get one-word answers.


Ask your kid what they did that day and really listen to what they say. This talk shouldn’t be something you can check off your list as it happens. We need to know that what we say is important to you. You can show that by making an effort to be in our lives. That’s how my parents find out about what I’m doing.

Meaningful articles you might like: 20 Questions to Ask to Connect with Your Teen, Discussing Mental Health and Suicide Prevention with Your Teens, Top Online Counseling Services for Children, Teens, and Adults