Parenting

How To Communicate with Your Teenage Son

Have you noticed your teenage son slowly drifting away from the rest of the family? He may be spending more time inside his room, and come out only at meal times. If you are finding it challenging to communicate with your son, here are some rather unconventional guidelines for you.

1. Make good food available

Healthy teenage boys eat like there is no tomorrow if the food is good. You will do well to either cook food that he likes or make such food available. He will feel good about eating such food, and will develop a bond with you, mostly that of gratitude for good food. But hey, that is a good beginning!

2. Build a bond much earlier

If you had a strong bond with your son when he was younger, and he respected and loved you from then on, chances are that his teenage years will be easier on you. This means that communication with a teenager starts when he is much smaller. You have to earn his trust from the time he is born.

Related reading: Top Life Hacks for Parents of Rebellious Teens

3. Never divulge his secrets

Protect his ego and never divulge his interests to anyone. Even his siblings or your partner. It is difficult to earn a teenager’s trust, and a major part of that trust involves confidentiality. If you aspire to be your son’s confidante, never divulge his secrets, however trivial they may seem to you.

4. Know his interests

What are his interests? His hobbies? If you want to communicate with him, there should be something to talk about other than just his school performance and grades. He may be interested in cars, so when you go for a drive, ask what car he would like to own when he is older. Or ask his opinion about how sturdy the car in front of you actually is.

5. Be non-judgmental

Do not judge, but try to understand. When your son is shutting himself up the whole day in his room, try to understand why he is so, instead of arriving at the conclusion that he is doing something wrong. When he wants to grow his hair longer than usual for a boy, try to understand why he is doing that instead of criticizing him outright.

Related reading: Tips On How To Parent Teenagers While Looking After Yourself

6. Don’t nag

We get it. He is not doing his laundry. He wants to wear the same jeans over and over. He doesn’t want to mingle with family. But do not go on nagging him about it. You have already told him once or twice. After that, leave it. He knows what is acceptable behaviour, and he will come around to it.

7. Be silent together

The value of silence is often underappreciated. Silence can talk and comfort. If your son has been in his room for a long time, not coming out, and you feel something is amiss, go into his room, and sit by him silently. Let him know that if he wants to talk, you are there for him.               

8. Appreciate the positives

Catch your son doing good things. It could be something as simple as helping his younger sibling with homework, or helping father with some yard work, or doing well in school. It could also be him just making an effort to mingle with family. Appreciate it with positive words such as ‘that was good of you. I really appreciate it.”

Related reading: How to Motivate a Teenager Who Doesn’t Want to Study

9. Set family rules

Some teenagers may be rebellious, but they need structure in their lives. They should be clear about the consequences of an action. They should also be clear about the kind of behaviour expected of them. For example, when guests come home, they have to come out of their room and greet them. This is the rule in the house and they have to follow it no matter what. Such rules should be communicated to them when they are small onwards.

10. Use of acceptable language

It may be fashionable for some teenagers to use four-letter words that are considered improper by others. Children in general get familiar with these words mainly from movies and their peers. If your son uses such words, calmly inform him that such words are not to be used because they are considered impolite. If he continues to use them, repeat your instruction calmly, without raising your voice. If he still uses them, do not worry. He knows your stand about it, and he will come around eventually when this rebellious phase is over.                                             

Related reading: A Guide for Mothers of Teenage Daughters

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