If you have a teen who doesn’t talk, you know this question or starting any conversation about their thoughts and emotions can be more challenging than expecting (take your pick), a clean bedroom, a reasonable bedtime, or ignoring their ringing mobile phone.

The chatty munchkin who only yesterday couldn’t wait to tell you all about, well, EVERYTHING, almost overnight has become mute or barely able to offer, “fine”, “good”, same as yesterday”. So you give them a little time, and hope the poppet you know and love just needs a little space.

Hormones have much to answer for, but more than likely, you will have to become more creative about reconnecting. The simple questions you once asked to help you understand and check-in with their development and state of mind may no longer be effective. You may also need a more subtle approach if your teen suddenly has also become secretive or defensive.

Try a little humour. You will probably look uncool, weird, and just plain old, but if you get more than a monosyllabic response, you have leapt a great divide.

So here are a few openers:-

As a nanny and a parent your skills as a therapist, tutor, chef, and the many other hats you wear require regular modification when you have a teenager. What you do one day with success does not mean it will also work next week. It’s not always easy but it can be fun. Well, sometimes.