Teenage boys… are they speaking another language? Actually most of the time it may feel like they aren’t speaking at all! Connecting with your teen son can seem challenging, if not impossible, especially when you feel like you’ve “missed the boat” or too much time has passed. Thankfully, it’s never too late to connect with your teen son, as intimidating as it might seem.
The first obstacle to overcome is your own pride, discomfort, or embarrassment. Sometimes parents miss out on conversations with their teen sons because they feel too awkward or uncomfortable to even begin a conversation, let alone continue it! Decide that you don’t care how silly or “lame” you may sound, and make talking with your teen son a priority. If you’re not sure how to start, here are a few effective ways:
10 Ways to Connect With Your Hard-to-Reach Teen Boy
- Take advantage of small, regular moments throughout the day. Begin making it a habit to chat with your son on drives, during TV commercials, whenever you can! Even if it’s just one-word answers, keep at it.
- Attend a concert, sporting event, or activity one-on-one with him. Bonus points for letting him choose the activity!
- Host a family movie night and let him pick the movie and treats. Then use the opportunity to talk with him and your family about the movie afterward.
- Text him – and not just when you need something. Regular, open communication is key for ongoing connection with your teen son.
- Ask him to teach you something he understands that you don’t – like a new social media platform, how to use a new piece of technology, or a meme or slang term you don’t understand.
- Regularly praise him – to his face and to other people. This can have a life-changing impact for some teen boys.
- Read his favorite book and talk with him about it. Or try his favorite video game if he isn’t a reader.
- Ask him about what he hates. Often the advice is to connect with teens about something they love, but the trick is that teens usually find it easier to talk about something they dislike! Being a listening ear is just one crucial step when you are dealing with a troubled teen (more helpful tips here).
- Do something difficult together. Whether it’s yard work, a hike, or anything else that may be hard, doing it together can be incredibly strengthening.
- Confide in him. When you tell your son something personal, private, or even negative from your own life you are communicating a level of trust that helps him feel more mature and secure in the relationship.
If you find that after your best efforts you are still failing to connect with your teen son, and you fear he may be in trouble – don’t wait. There is help out there for troubled teen boys, and the sooner you get it – the better.