I just want to connect with him. I've spent fifteen years with this kid. He used to rattle off every thought that went through his head, but sometimes it can get very quiet, awkward even. We've always been so close, and now I might sit by his side and can't think of one single thing to say. I don't want to say the wrong thing and push him away. I don't want him to think I'm trying too hard. I'm baffled.
I just want to connect.
That awkward scenario doesn't happen too often with either of my teen boys and I'm super thankful for that. Overall we have kept a healthy connection as they have entered their teenage years. But still, teenage boys will have these moments, and us moms...we need to deal with it.
When those moments do happen, I've discovered a little trick to help us connect. I sort of just stumbled upon it, but the more I practice it, the more certain I am that it works.
Connecting with your teenage son can be as simple as BEING IN MOTION with them. Boys need to move--a lot, and physically doing things with your son is a sure-fire way to open up communication.
When I want to chat with my boys, I will often get outside with them. We shoot baskets together, pick fruit, or take the garbage down to the street together. With almost no effort, I find the conversation flowing. Sure, there may be some quiet moments, but soon the chatting begins. Taking a walk or hike is probably my favorite way to open the channels of communication.
It doesn't have to be playing sports or going outdoors. I might ask one of my sons to help me fold laundry or do the dishes. As we work, there is a natural connection. We may not talk non-stop, but a little joke here, a comment there...which often lands us in a real-live conversation.
The car can be another magical place and it's for that reason that when I'm alone in the car with one kid, they put phones and iPods away. A little background music and the car provides a great place to chat.
THREE DAILY REMINDERS
Though teenage boys can seem like quite a mystery, I find these these THREE DAILY REMINDERS help me find a connection with my boys:
1. My teenage boys are NOT who they used to be. I need to let go of what I considered "normal" in his little boy years and allow him to grow into the man he is becoming.
2. My teenage boys still need me. Though my role has changed, I am still important in their life. They might actually want to tell me about the things going on in their life, but perhaps aren't sure how to start the conversation. It is my job to look for opportunities and stay open for when the time is right.
3. My best chance of connecting with my teenage sons is when we are moving. If I can find an activity or a project to do with my sons, they will be much more likely to open up.
Parenting teens is one of my favorite things in the world. It has taken me some time to adjust, but I love what we are growing in this new season. I encourage you to let go of old expectations or sentimental notions. Embrace the teenage years, have fun with your son, and pray for him as he is growing into the man you've been preparing him to be since he was born!
With Aloha, Monica
Monica Swanson lives on the North Shore of Oahu with her husband and four surfer boys. She home schools her boys, and has a passion for all things family, health and faith. She loves to share encouragement and inspiration at her blog: www.monicaswanson.com.
This post is a part of our series on building relationship with our teen sons. Click here to read them all!