Open honest communication is crucial to effective and rewarding parenting of a teenager.
They like straight answers and are supersensitive to fudging, hypocrisy or pretence. Remember words are not the only forms of communication - eye contact, the affectionate pat or arm around the shoulder and quiet patient listening often mean more than words. Teenagers' self-esteem is very fragile. Maybe that brooding sulkiness is his way of telling you he is feeling very low and unsure of himself and that things are not going well at school. Be patient, as it is hard learning how to be adult. Also your teenager is not as practised as you are at making conversation.
Always show respect. Don't make disparaging comments such as "You've got a lot to learn ..." or "That's stupid ..."
Avoid judgmental comments as they kill conversation. Don't fly off the handle with remarks like "You mean, they didn't get home until two o'clock in the morning!" And minimise giving advice unless it is asked for.
"Did swimming go well?" is likely to get a conversation-killing yes or no reply. So try to use open-ended questions such as "How did swimming go?"
Be genuinely interested in your enquiries too as the teen quickly spots when you are being polite but disinterested.
Try and negotiate rather than make demands. "We agreed you would keep your room tidy. When can I expect you will fix it up?" is much better than "Tidy your room now!"
Try finding time together as you would with a friend. Use the unexpected opportunities such as being in the car together. Alternatively suggest going for a coffee together or some other adult-like special activity.
Sometimes there will be a really important issue that you want to discuss. Don't rush in, venting your concerns in an unplanned way. Instead arrange a time when you both can be calm. Wait until your feelings of anger or disappointment have settled. Set out your concerns calmly. Listen to her point of view. Be sensitive to her feelings, especially the unspoken ones. Try and negotiate arrangements that works for both of you.