That way, he will come to you and will be offered better advice that if he chose to ask his teenage friends for help. Nonetheless, even if we are aware of our objective, the road to reaching it is extremely difficult. Building a relationship with boy in his teenage years is almost like a fine art.
This is why the ModernParentingCenter.com is offering you some advice. Some parts of it will be better suited to your family than others, but the most important thing is to try and understand what works best and what offers the best results.
Always be available
We all complain about being busy. And for mothers things are even more complicated, with the added responsibilities of a household. But when your boy it trying to tell you something, don’t send him away! Even if you feel like you’re about to fall asleep standing, even if your shopping list has not been attended to. A teenager will never cry his problems out. Out of timidity or fear, his mellow voice will try to hide the importance of the issue. Don’t let yourself get tricked into thinking it’s not important. With a teenager, it’s always important.
Have some coffee ready
It’s not a joke! Because teenagers go to bed a lot later that their parents do, and have a lot more energy in the evening, these conversations sometimes pop up late at night, when it’s hard for you to stay awake. Anticipate this situation and be ready: coffee, green tea, hot chocolate. And, no matter how tired you are, don’t condition it: “Come on, tell me about it, but be quick, I’m tired (because I have an early start tomorrow, because it’s late etc.)”
Know how to listen
Just being available is not enough. This is where the art of raising a teenager really lies, because it is much more difficult than you would think. A teenager can talk for hours about things you have absolutely no interest in. About going out, about his friends, about how he plays the guitar, about what this guy in his class did during biology. Even so, listen to him, act interested, ask him questions! After all, this is his universe, his life. And if you care about your son, you must care about the mundane aspects of his life as well.
Spend time together
At least once a month, during the weekends or in the evenings or after school, go somewhere with him, just the two of you. Our advice is to look for some quality time. Go out for a drink or to a coffee shop – today’s teenagers are into coffee shops – have lunch somewhere, maybe at a pizza place – any place that will make him comfortable and relaxed.
He’ll say no at first! But you must insist. Because the message you’re sending is that your time with him is worth the effort and that you enjoy it. Also, it’s important to spend time together, aside from the time spent sorting out your daily issues, conflicts and school related problems, friends etc. Once they reached their teenage years, kids and their parents must spend as much time together as they used to, not less!
Learn how to ask the right questions
A teenager is always in a hurry. And most of them try to limit their interactions with their parents as much as possible, for fear of being criticized or scolded. This is why every moment of dialog with your teenage son must contribute to consolidating your relationship. Better said, everything must be “quality”: carefully chosen and on the right tone. Ask well thought out questions and not the kind that can get you a “Yes” or “No” answer.
Find out how he thinks, how he’d do things in certain situations, where he would go and why. Choose more complex topics, the way you would with a friend or a work colleague. You will be surprised to discover his perspective, the way he thinks and his arguments. And don’t criticize him! After all, did you know all about life when you were his age?
Have a sense of humour
You have many things to worry about, you are stressed out and most of the time there is some sort of money issue in your life. But that doesn’t mean that you need to take all these home with you, or have them reflect in your behaviour towards your teenage son, by always acting worried and preoccupied. This behaviour, that we, the adults, can understand, will not fly when it comes to your teenage son. Moreover, it will distance him from you. Be more relaxed, find topics that will entertain him. When was the last time you both laughed about something?
Even though he is a teenager, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t play anymore, or that you, his parents, have to stop playing with him. Play is a very important part of a teenagers life, we are just talking about a different type of it. Learn the new games, have fun with him. Play computer games, PlayStation, rent a tennis or football court for a few hours, try some paintball. It will not only contribute to a deeper bond with your son, but it will be a relaxing activity to the both of you as well!
But don’t forget about boundaries!
He still needs them. Even if you’re close, you talk about everything, you go out or you play games together, there must be some boundaries. Be very clear about them and let him know what is expected of him. There must be house rules in place that the is expected to obey. Because if you’re too relaxed, or if you try too hard to be his friend and not enough to be his parent, your behaviour will negatively influence your relationship, because you won’t be able to get your point across when you have to.
Discipline must still exist
Don’t make the same mistakes your parents did
Even though you decided you would be a better parent than yours have been to you, there were definitely moments when you acted just like they would have and you regretted that.
Remember your teenage years and how your own parents treated you, in which moments you were discouraged from talking to them, what behaviours turned you away from them and which approach you would have expected from them.
How do you work on building a relationship with your teenage son? What is your secret? What works best in your relationship with your teenage son?