Some of the best times with my oldest daughter are spent around a deck of UNO cards or swapping foodie ideas while cooking together. She is usually an open book who is outgoing, laughs a lot, and likes to spend time with her family. So it struck me as odd when I got home from work one evening and my wife met me at the door. She had just had a new encounter with our soon-to-be teen. My wife got the silent treatment after asking an innocent question. Without saying a word, our daughter’s teenage body language told us so much.
Teenage body language is a jumble of peculiar messages parents must learn to decode. Teens don’t always want to talk, but they are always saying something. Slouched shoulders, angled feet, and more can convey subtle hints and insight into how they’re really feeling. Teenage body language can give parents a window into what teens think and, more importantly, need. Here are 8 things your teen’s body language is telling you.Teenage body language can give parents a window into what teens think and, more importantly, need.
1. I’m lying.
Fidgeting is a sign of uneasiness usually associated with lying. Moving hands and fingers, tapping a foot, and looking off into the distance could all mean your teen is fibbing.
2. I’m stressed.
Blinking, especially rapidly, is something teens do when they are feeling overly stressed. This can pop up when a teen is dealing with a major problem or worries about something significant at school, work, or with friends. Breathing quickly or rubbing their eyes is another sign your teen is stressed.
3. I’m disinterested.
Lack of eye contact can mean a lack of interest, but the pupils can give away a teen’s mood, too. When a person does not like something, his or her pupils generally get smaller. Crossed legs, leaning back, and angling your body away from the person speaking all show disinterest as well.
4. I’m interested.
Just like a lack of eye contact indicates a teen may be trying to hide something, genuine, prolonged eye contact shows interest in what you are saying or doing. Leaning forward or pointing feet directly at the person speaking shows an interest in whatever is being shared.
5. I’m nervous.
Shifting body weight and breathing quickly are both indications that a teen is nervous. People who smile insincerely, without involving their eyes, display nervousness.
6. I’m ashamed.
Lack of eye contact says this, but specifically looking down during a conversation conveys a feeling of shame. Slouching in a seat or turning your body away entirely shares the same message.
7. I’m anxious.
If your teen has crossed arms, he may be feeling anxious. If he is holding something against his chest, that could mean he is not feeling protected and is attempting to steady himself. Anxiety can bring this on.
8. I’m angry.
Clenched fists is a sure sign of anger, especially if your teen is trying to suppress that emotion. Narrowing eyes and a tapping foot mean similar things, along with sighing, grinding teeth, and widening eyes.
Sound off: What messages do you think you’re missing by not understanding your teen’s body language?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you think you need to do to read someone’s body language?”