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Parenting: How to Connect With Your Teenage Boy

by Karen Kleinschmidt

Mothers and fathers face distinct challenges connecting with their teenage sons. Accepting, rather than fighting, these challenges will help preserve your relationship and keep parents and teenage sons connected. Teenage boys who are separated from their fathers, according to Texas psychologist Carl Pickhardt, author of "The Connected Father," choose their own activities rather than the ones they once enjoyed with their fathers. This gives teenage boys a sense of independence. Teenage sons generally create distance from their mothers by spending more time with their male friends, developing interests that have less in common with the mother, or arguing and criticizing in order to create opposition, according to Pickhardt.

Fathers

Take an interest in what interests your son. Allow your son to teach you about his new interests whether it be new tricks on his bike, a new taste in music, or a new sport or game. That will assist your son in feeling more connected to you and encourage future communication and sharing.

Avoiding criticizing your son. Be open to his ideas. Ask questions and appear open and interested. Continue to embrace your son as the person he is even if you are cringing inside regarding his new-found ideas and interests.

Challenge your son through games and activities while avoiding power struggles over male dominance. Do this by challenging each other to activities you each excel at, this way father and son can compete, excel, improve and gain confidence.

Mothers

Calmly stand your ground if your son speaks to you in an aggressive tone or calls you names. Remind him that he is not allowed to call you names because it damages your relationship and if you allowed him to get away with it he might think its OK to do the same to a young woman in his life. He might be angry, but he will remain connected.

Engage him in conversation and respect his right to choose to speak or not. Stay connected to him even if you feel hurt by the change in your relationship.

Listen to your son even when he is arguing and opposing you. Remain calm and state what you think and feel without telling him what to do. The more you push, the more he'll push back.

Take a break from trying to talk. Offer to do something fun together. Try taking a bike ride, go to a movie, run together or grab a bite to eat. Companionship is often the key to connecting.

Tips

  • Avoid stooping to your son's level during an argument.
  • Continue to model appropriate behavior for your teenage son.

Warning

  • Seek the help of a professional if your son becomes overly aggressive or out of control.

About the Author

Karen Kleinschmidt has been writing since 2007. Her short stories and articles have appeared in "Grandma's Choice," "Treasure Box" and "Simple Joy." She has worked with children with ADHD, sensory issues and behavioral problems, as well as adults with chronic mental illness. Kleinschmidt holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University.

Photo Credits

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