Asian daughter wearing a school uniform and backpack sitting to the left of her mother. She is holding her mother's hand and they are conversing and smiling looking at each other

Try asking these questions when your kids get home from school

HOUSTON – The kids are back at school but are they doing alright? Now they are past those first day jitters and settling into some kind of rhythm how can you best identify if your children are struggling with more than just the regular ups and downs of being a teen and how do you navigate an effective way to help?

You know the question, and can likely guess the answer...

“How was your day?” said the parent.

“Fine,” said the kid.

And, scene.

But, it does not have to end there said Dr. Jeff Temple.

A professor at UTMB, Dr. Temple is a psychologist and the Vice Dean of Research for UTMB’s School of Nursing. He is also the Founding Director of UTMB’s Center for Violence Prevention and is involved in innovative research to prevent multiple forms of violence within communities, including school shootings.

“It has always been tough to be a kid, there’s what we call the ‘storm and stress of adolescence,’ and that’s very true. It’s scary and hard and you have all these developmental changes, and bodily changes, and changes in friends and relationships. And it’s crazy! And then, top it all off with kids these days, with social media and having to be on 24 hours a day, seven-days a week and and then all the stressful stuff that we have in politics and climate in school shootings, it really is tough. I’m glad I grew up in the 90s.”

Keeping an open line of communication with your kids “starts with being a good model,” said Dr. Temple. Setting an example by modeling open communication between you and your spouse demonstrates health communication to your children.

Beyond this, when asking your kids about their day, Dr. Temple said “it’s better to ask open ended questions, and be creative.”

Questions like, “If we traded places, what advice would you have given me to get through this day?” or, “Tell me the funniest thing that happened to you today,” are a couple of examples Dr. Temple shared.

Houston Life’s Melanie Camp sat down with Dr. Jeff for a chat about how we can ask better questions and have more meaningful conversations with our kids.

Watch the full interview to get some tips on how to support your teens and hear why you should go easy on yourself as a parent.

The above story was produced by Melanie Camp with Houston Life.