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How to Talk to Your Teenage Son

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It can break an affectionate mom’s heart: that first time her tween or teen son stiffens in her embrace or pulls away. The little boy who used to cling to you around the clock is now shaving, is taller than you, and has a voice as deep as his dad’s. Other girls are vying for his attention and it feels, at times, like they’re taking your place. But in your heart and mind, he’s still your little boy! How can you relate to your teenage son in a new way that maintains closeness while allowing him to become a man?

In fact, the phrase “new way” is one of the keys here. You can still be close, you can still maintain parental authority (even while looking up to meet his gaze), and you can even grow your relationship if you understand that you must adapt to where he is now. There may be areas of life he would rather discuss with his father or another trusted male, rather than you—and that’s OK. There may be times that he just needs a little space to work things out on his own without talking it to death. Some of what you have learned about communicating with your husband will now be applicable to that man-child down the hall.

Learning how to relate to your teenage son is important—he still needs your guidance and support! Here are 3 ideas from iMOM Director, Susan Merrill on how to make those conversations happen.

1. Be Purposeful.

Look for opportunities to talk with him. Don’t give up!

2. Be Thoughtful.

Be sure to ask him questions that don’t just have a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ answer. Ask questions along the lines of, “Who was there?” “What do you think this was about?” —this will get him talking.

3. Be Available and…Willing!

If and when he asks something of you, drop whatever it is that you are doing for a time to talk.

Have you seen the 10 Compliments Your Kids Need to Hear? It’s becoming one of our most popular articles ever – don’t miss it!

Tell us! What has worked with your teenage son?


What’s your favorite thing about being a boy/girl?

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