Q&A: Staying connected with growing teen

Q: My son has always been very open with me, but now that he’s in secondary school I can barely get him to tell me how his day went. How can this worried mum stay connected?

A: By the time children enter secondary school, their march toward independence is well under way. It can be a confusing time for parents. 

When a child spreads his wings, it can feel like he’s turning his back on you instead. But that’s not really the case. Your growing teen needs you as much as he always has. In some ways, more. He just needs you in a different way than he did in his formative years.

That requires us as parents to strike a delicate balance with our secondary school children. As author Cynthia Tobias says, you have to relax your grip while never taking your hands off the wheel. If you back off too much, you’ll leave them drifting and flailing. But if you lean in too hard, you’ll push them away or embarrass them.

In practical terms that means you have to lean in to your son enough to take his problems seriously. The events your growing teen faces may seem of little consequence to you as an adult, but they can represent a teen’s whole life. So don’t minimise their adolescent struggles. At the same time, you have to relax your grip and not force solutions on them too quickly. As one secondary school student put it, “Don’t be gorilla dictator.” Instead, listen closely to their heart, not just their words, and help them discover an answer.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

Share

Share on facebook
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

MORE

MARRIAGE

Making Marriage Work

Marriage is not an event but a process. Men and women are different in many ways, and that will affect how marriage works. Learn the difference and similarities between men and women that can influence marriage.

Read More >

PARENTING

Disciplining Children

Parenthood can be frustrating, especially when you don’t have a game plan. Explore how you can effectively raise disciplined children with 6 guidelines to discipline and a healthy parenting approach.

Read More >

Your Chores or Mine?

It can get pretty frustrating when children refuse to do their chores. Heather Beers shares her brilliant idea to successfully convince children to get the chores done, improve their attitudes, and even check things off your to-do list, all at once.

Read More >

FAMILY Q&A