Why Late Night Conversations with My Teen are the Best

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: Why Late Night Conversations with My Teen are the Best

I have to confess, I’m not a night owl. In fact, the older I get, the earlier it seems to get late. I used to be able to stay up until 11 o’clock or even midnight. Now, (if I’m being completely honest), I start to lose my zeal after dinner and my energy takes a nose-dive from there until I’m basically a red-eyed, exhausted walking zombie.

Why Late Night Conversations with My Teen are the Best



The funny thing is, right about the time I’m ready to crawl into bed in my coziest pajamas and fall asleep within seconds of my head hitting the pillow, my 16-year-old daughter suddenly becomes a total chatterbox.

I mean, really? It’s not as if she even tries to talk to me when I’m fully awake earlier in the day.

Before school, she typically has no interest in striking up a conversation with me. No matter what question I ask, I get a barely audible muttered answered that sounds something like “I dunno,” or “I guess,” (but I really can’t be sure).

And, when she walks in the door after school and I enthusiastically asked her how her day was, how she did on her chemistry test or whether she still has that annoying sub in math who sings to the class, again, I get a two or three-word answer before she grabs a drink from the fridge, swipes a bag of chips from the pantry and heads to her favorite escape – her bedroom.

After hiding out in her room doing homework, studying, listening to music, face-timing her friends for hours on end and only coming out long enough to grace us with her presence for dinner, something shifts later at night. Suddenly, she changes from a closed-off, tight-lipped, two-word answer teenager into someone entirely different… and, to me, it’s nothing more than magic. Suddenly, my daughter wants to talk.

That’s why, no matter how tired I am, when my daughter walks into my bedroom at 10 o’clock at night (sometimes even later), plops herself on my bed and wants to talk or hang out a while, I do it.

Because this time it’s on her terms, not mine. Because she wants to be with me. Because she’s starting the conversation, not me. And, because these are special moments I don’t want to miss.

As silly as it sounds, her interest in striking up an unprompted conversation with me offers me the mom validation I need.

It’s a reminder to me that maybe she doesn’t dislike me after all. Maybe I am doing something right. Maybe she’s starting to realize that I really do have her very best interest at heart despite making so many unpopular decisions that fire her up. Maybe she’s figured out that I’m not quite as outdated and old-fashioned as she once thought and that I’m at least somewhat “cool.” Or, maybe she’s realizing that I love her, that she means everything to me, that I’d do practically anything for her, and that I want to spend time with her no matter what time it is. 

Sometimes, we only talk for ten minutes, other times we talk an hour. Sometimes, we talk about the latest fashion trend or some drama she’s going through with her friends or a funny post she saw on Instagram. Other times, we chat about school or deeper topics like boys, relationships, or how she sometimes feels overwhelmed and anxious about going to college.

There have been plenty of times, too, when we didn’t talk at all. We just snuggled up together and watched silly TikTok videos and laughed like a couple of young kids, while other times we dove into the fridge and whipped up a late-night snack because she had the munchies.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter to me what we talk about. Even if it happens to be what seems like (to me) a trivial, insignificant topic, I know that to her, it’s important. And so, I listen.

I listen to the big stuff and the small stuff, the important stuff and the seemingly unimportant stuff, the serious stuff and the silly stuff.

I listen with all my heart.

I listen because I care.

I listen because she needs me.

I listen because this is our time. 

I listen because it won’t be like this forever. 

I listen because I want to take in these moments and always remember.

I listen because this is when she’s open and relaxed and feels the freedom to share what lies deep in her heart. 

I listen because it’s times like these that strengthen our relationship and remind my daughter that she means the world to me and that even though I need toothpicks to keep my eyes open, I love her enough to listen because it means something to her (and to me).

I listen because it offers validation to her that she can come to me, that I’ll always welcome her with open arms, that I can be her confidante during life’s highs and lows and that I can (at least temporarily) step down from my parental pedestal and offer her tender, non-judgmental advice like a friend.

I listen because, in my heart, I know that her coming to me is her way of subtly saying “I love you and I need you.”

Mostly, I listen because it helps her gain trust in me and reinforces my unconditional love for her.

It’s not always easy to stay awake and sometimes, I’m just too tired, but I always try. Because late at night when the world is asleep, when the house is quiet, when life is calmer, when she’s had time to reflect and ponder her day – that’s when my daughter wants to talk and I want her to know that she can always count on me to listen. Because those late-night conversations with my teen are always the best. 

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy reading: 

The Five Powerful Love Languages of Teenagers

10 Things Teenagers Love (Even Though They’d Never Admit It)

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