Q: “How can I develop conversation between my daughter and me? Once she hit puberty, she stopped talking to me. She has always felt comfortable telling me things, but not anymore. She talks all the time on her phone, but never to her mom. Help!”

Joyce: Two things: limit phone use and start a writing dialogue. Kids will define their circle of confidantes, and many times parents will not be in those boundaries.

But, let’s be fair. Why does she need to talk to you when she has unlimited contact with kids her age? You’re the mom. Set some time constraints for phone usage. Also, set some time when family will be together with no devices.

Also, start journaling with her. You begin with some casual conversation: “I need your opinion about an issue with a friend,” or “Someone really hurt my feelings the other day. Have you ever been hurt like that?” Or, make it an opinion about the change of seasons, a fashion idea, or a world event. Start out generic and work your way to more personal conversations. Don’t get frustrated if she doesn’t respond at length or at all. Just keep putting it on her bed each morning, offering conversation about your day, your feelings, your thoughts of her. It’ll work into a great avenue of dialogue when she sees your relentless pursuit of her.

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