zoozoo asks:

How to communicate with my 2 twin [pre-teen] grandaughters?

I ask my granddaughters questions about their day and they always answer it was OK, but never in detail. I ask what they did for the weekend and they answer "nothing" It's hard to get any answers from them. They are very aloof. I try to get them interested in a variety of activities, but nothing excites them. They are eleven years old. They are not very warm towards me even though I have been their there for them since they were born. They have started acting this way for a couple of years now, but it has gotten worse this year.
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges, Communicating with my child (The tough talks), My child's grandparent(s)
> 60 days ago



Apr 19, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Hello and thank you for writing to JustAsk!

"Congratulations"- you and many grandparents are finding it hard to relate to their tween grandchildren. This is because you have just stepped in to the age of tweens that is often resistant to talking with adults about anything of substance.  Sorry to say that this is somewhat normal for the age and takes some being creative behavior on your part to break through.

I believe that one good way to communicate with your twin grand daughters is to divide and conquer.  Take each one out on a special outing with just you.  That way you get to know them as individuals.  Ask each one what they would like to do?  Go to a museum?  The mall?  Amusement park?  Bowling?  Out to dinner?  Look for puppies at a shelter?  Volunteer together? Have their friends visit at your house for pizza and a movie?

The goal is to make this time together meaningful and personal.  Instead of asking questions try engaging them in a discussion.  Such as- " I need to look for a new car ( or purse, shoes, book, etc.)- do you want to help me pick it out - I would love to hear your advice". This gives some control of the situation to your grand daughter.  Many times tweens don't like to be engaged with lots of Q and A as they find it intrusive.  Also, take time to see them engaged in their school activities such as sports or theater.  You may not get the "together" time that you wish, but they will appreciate you in the future for your attendance.

Keep in mind that a few minutes may be all they are willing to "offer" at first.  But, once they mature and find that you are accessible then they may feel more comfortable and having longer times together.

Here is a website to help you find out what is the current "pulse" of most tweens and young teens-


Good luck and hang in there.  Soon they will be young adults and you will have them back - full sentences and all!

Louise Masin Sattler, NCSP
Nationally Certified School Psychologist
Owner of www.SigningFamilies.com
Host of Learning and Laughter with Louise (http://www.toginet.com)

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Additional Answers (1)

CPollock writes:
Here's a link to some tips from pre-teen/teen expert Bobbi DePorter on ways to connect with teens (applies to pre-teens as well). You also may want to check out the summer enrichment program she started 28 years ago,SuperCamp, which teaches middle school and high school kids life skills such as communication, leadership, and teamwork. Sounds like a perfect fit for your granddaughters. I hope this helps!

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