During the final years of driving my daughter before she had her license, I marveled at the long periods of silence in the car. During those rides I pulled out my best attempts to jump-start a conversation. Usually these attempts were met with a shrug or a long pensive stare out the passenger window. In a desperate attempt at humor, I threw out a line from an old movie, “I eagerly await your next syllable,” to which she would respond with a heavy sigh or an even more pronounced eye roll. There are times when we all feel a little defeated in trying to connect with our girls after school.
If we try to put ourselves in our daughters’ shoes, we quickly realize the reasons behind a little sullenness in our teens. Below is a list, gathered from articles and observations, that reminds us of a few challenges they face each day. They are actually pretty good at managing these things on a daily basis, but I do understand why they are a bit taciturn at 3:15. We might stop and ask ourselves how we would fare in a similar situation.
Before they reach the car at the end of the day, they have been asked to do most of the following:
• To try new things and not be afraid to fail.
• To work in small groups with people they may not particularly like.
• To adjust to at least 4-5 different styles of teaching.
• To be corrected and evaluated and to respond with understanding and grace.
• To have a positive attitude throughout the day.
• To be polite and respectful to classmates, teachers, and any adult on campus.
• To accept the decisions of those in authority.
• To eat lunch very quickly.
• To always be on time.
• To always make good choices with social media or anything else in their online worlds.
So in the afternoon when your daughter slides into the seat of the car, maybe just a simple question will suffice. “Is there anything that I should know about your day?” And then just put the car in drive.