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My Teen Daughter Answers Every Question with “I Don’t Know”


My 18-year-old daughter answers "I don't know" to every question I ask her. She’s been doing this for years, and we’re not sure how to interpret it.


Your daughter's behavior has to be very frustrating. As kids get older, it’s somewhat normal for them to not want to communicate as much with their parents. They are attempting to break away as they approach adulthood, and they’re trying to become more independent. This could be what your daughter is doing. Her "I don't know" response may likely mean “I don't want to tell you.” 

However, as long as your daughter is still in your home, she should be communicating with you. Pick a time when things are calm and there are no distractions (cell phones off!). Talk to her about your concerns that she is not talking with you in a meaningful way. It also might be helpful to establish specific times where you can get together for an activity or go out to eat. Often, teens are more receptive to talking when they don't feel like they’re being forced to talk, such as during quality one-on-one time with a parent.

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