Most teenage boys don’t talk that much. While they may be quirky, fun, and talkative to their friends, this side of them usually switches off when they’re at home. They become silent and serious. If they answer you with two to three words, that’s alright. Nevertheless, you must not lose patience. Try to communicate with them again. Find common ground where both of you can exchange ideas. Know what interests him the most. And above all, talk to them like how you would speak to your friend. Read this article to give you an idea of the best questions to ask your teenager.
Is It Really That Hard to Deal with Your Son?
Life was somehow simpler when your son was just about two years old. Although you have to deal with constant tantrums and changes in their eating habits and sleeping patterns at that time, you get the joys of raising a toddler. Now that your little one is on a new stage in life, how you dealt with them when they were young will not be that effective as they transition through life. According to Family Doctor, teenage boys will feel various emotions—ranging from irritability, confusion, fear, and sadness—as they undergo puberty. Thus, explaining why some teenagers have anger issues. Moreover, they will try to break free from their parents’ control as they seek independence and new relationships with friends and love interests.
As they deal with these emotions, they also have other things to worry about. Remember, this is also the time when they experience physical and hormonal changes. They may develop acne on their faces, increased sweating, and have oily skin. In addition, there will also be a change in their voice as it gets deeper. Even if these are normal experiences, these somehow bring them embarrassment. Understanding your teenage son is one way to live harmoniously with them. But is it the only way to help them handle the burden they carry and raise them into better individuals at the same time?
1. Can You Follow Rules?
The absence of rules or boundaries may be one of the reasons why your teenage boy fails to respect you. Although he is already a teenager, there are still chances that he can’t differentiate between what’s right and what’s wrong. Without your guidance, he may become disrespectful towards you and other family members, and he will turn out like a spoiled child in the long run. When this happens, it would be hard to correct his behavior.
For the reasons stated above, it is crucial to set rules in your household. And in doing so, make sure that they are clear and firm enough to impose discipline. It is also important to discuss with your children the limits or rules you are planning to implement so it would be fair to them. Furthermore, the basis of such restrictions must be your collective belief and values with your family to maintain harmony in your home. Most importantly, see to it that you are consistent in following the agreed-upon rules for it to serve its purpose. Note that even if one parent is very strict, no progress will still happen if the other is lax. Why? Because your child has the tendency to run to the other parent for them to defend him.
2. How Do You Plan to Be Responsible for Consequences?
In school, the administrators set out clear guidelines for students to follow. Alongside these rules are their corresponding consequences if some students choose to break them. Likewise, consequences are vital if you want your teenager to behave positively. It helps your child know that they have done something wrong, and it needs changing.
In setting out consequences, you first have to connect the consequence to their undesired action. For example, if you are angry with your teenager because he stays up all night to play video games, the natural consequence is to take his devices at a specific time. This way, he will also stop playing at a particular time. Making him do the laundry as a consequence wouldn’t make sense, right? Moreover, you must also be consistent on this matter the same way you are consistent in implementing the rules. Another important thing you must do is to discuss the result of their actions. Ask them, what will happen if you don’t get enough rest because you’re playing through the night? How will your body respond to it? Make them understand why there is a need for them to follow the rules. Doing this will give them a thorough understanding of your intentions and their actions.
Also, remember that there are positive consequences too! And these can be in the form of rewards, praise, and attention. So when your son does something you like, make sure to enforce these positive consequences to make them feel good about themselves and repeat such proper behavior.
3. Was I Too Harsh on You?
Data from the United States Administration for Children and Families showed that approximately 700,00 children in the country experience abuse every year. And sad to say, the parents are the culprit for 78% of child maltreatment. Disciplining your children enables them to realize the consequences of their actions. Thus, giving them the chance to make up for the mess they’ve made, learn from it, and not do it again. However, discipline is not tantamount to severe punishment. An article from Psychology Today stated that you can guide your children without punishing them by: (1) controlling your emotions, (2) empathizing with them, (3) supporting them, (4) connecting with them before you correct, and (5) teaching them how to make things right.
That is why you have to avoid imposing punishment on your teenagers as much as possible. Because aside from pushing them further away from you, physical punishment also has other negative impacts on your children. Studies associate this type of punishment with increased child aggression, mental health problems like depression and anxiety, anti-social behavior, and poor intellect.
4. How can I Be a Better Mom/Dad and Role Model?
There is an old saying that goes, “Practice what you preach.” And this must be something parents have to adhere to. Bear in mind that it is not only the little ones who follow what they see and absorb everything they observe in their environment. For this reason, you must not stop at establishing rules and setting consequences. You must also be your child’s role model. It is not enough for you to tell them, “Do this. Do that.” You have to show them the kind of actions you want them to follow. Remember that you can’t teach something you don’t have.
You can be a good role model by sharing your values and living up to them, be it honesty, respectfulness, reliability, etc. On the other hand, parents have probably known that some teenagers nowadays resort to substance use. In such cases, your son will not listen to you if you tell them not to drink alcohol or take illegal drugs but they see you doing what you told them not to do. Therefore, it would be best for you to limit your alcohol intake and avoid the use of illegal substances. Also, be careful with the risky behavior your son may engage in, including reckless driving, binge drinking, cigarette smoking, substance abuse, and violence.
5. I’ll let You Off the Hook for Disrespecting Us. But Do You Understand That It’s Not Okay?
No, we did not mean that you should tolerate blatant disrespect from your children. It’s just that there are times when you can ignore their mildly disrespectful behavior, like when they raise their eyebrows, shrug their shoulders, or mutter something under their breath. Doing this does not mean that you let them get away with the disrespect they show. In fact, ignoring your children’s mild rudeness enables you to show them that their actions can’t distract you from doing your responsibilities. As a result, they will stop doing this attention-seeking behavior.
Moreover, ignoring your son’s disrespectful behavior at times helps you avoid having a lengthy argument with them. Research involving 2,000 families has shown that an average of 2,184 arguments happens between parents and children each year. Although it is normal to engage in an argument with your child every so often, no one wants to have an intense disagreement all the time, right? Hence, try to lessen such a number in your household, and have a healthy relationship with your kids. Remember, we usually say things we regret when we’re mad. And being the more mature person, you have better ways of handling your emotions than your teenager.
6. What Do You Think Will Help You Become Better?
Lastly, be kind and remain calm. As previously mentioned, adults are more capable of controlling their emotions than teenagers. Reprimanding them a lot won’t help that much. They may interpret this as an attack towards them, which may prompt them to fight or flight. When you’re kind to your children, they will also show kindness to you and the people surrounding them. Recent studies show that teenagers who are helpful to the people they don’t know are less aggressive and exhibited less delinquency behavior. Meanwhile, those who are kind to their family only have a slight tendency to misbehave, and they stay away from trouble and a bad crowd.
Nevertheless, being kind does not only mean remaining calm. You can also show kindness to your son by listening to them, understanding the teenage brain, respecting their struggles, giving them space, and taking part in their hobbies.
Hacks to Establish a Stronger Bond with Your Son
Establishing a healthy relationship with your son goes beyond having regular conversations with him. If you want to form a lasting and stronger bond with him, try these:
1. Watch Movies with Him
Schedule a movie date with your son. And if possible, do it once every week. Aside from bonding with your child, this is also one way for you to relax. Make him choose the movies you two will watch so that you will have a better knowledge of the genre he enjoys. Moreover, try to be enthusiastic even if you and your son have varying preferences when it comes to films.
2. Show Interest in His Interests
Talk about the things that interest him. Although there is no assurance that both of you have the same interests, it would mean a lot to your son if you support him in doing the things he loves, so long as it doesn’t harm him. Or maybe, there is a particular activity that you can do together.
3. Have Dinner Together
In most households, dinner is the time when everyone in the family is present. That is why it would be best to add having dinner together to your routine. Not only does it allow you to spend time with your family every day, but it also has a lasting impact on the lives of your teenager. In fact, a study from the University of Montreal suggests that family meals positively influence the well-being of children.
4. Work with Him
Besides your responsibilities at home, you also have other things to attend to, such as your career. Like you, your son also has to focus on his academics to attain desirable marks. Sometimes, working parents have to bring their work-related tasks at home, and students have to do their homework. Make it enjoyable for both of you by doing your work together. This way, you can help your child in their assignments, as well as share your experiences in work.
5. Be Friendly
You’ve seen how happy your son is when he is with his friends. And who says bonding with your child should only involve the two of you? So, allow your son to invite his friends over and welcome them to your home. You can also take his friends along with you so you get to know the type of people your child hangs out with.
6. Hit the Gym
Adolescence is the time when teenagers are most conscious of their overall physical appearance. You can help them deal with it by hitting the gym together. Through this, both you and your child can maintain a physically fit body.
7. Plan a Family Vacation
Going on a family vacation is the best way to go if you want to spend more time with your child without the distraction from the rest of the world. Note that you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on it. You can take a trip to the neighboring city and book a place where you can stay and relax.
8. Teach Them to Drive
When you see the signs that your teen is ready to learn to drive, teach them right away. At some point, this skill can be useful as they grow older. Other than that, this can also be a good bonding moment between you and your son.
No matter how many times your mind and heart tell you that you are ready to be a parent, unexpected circumstances still happen as your child grows up. And the best thing you can do is to learn how to overcome these challenges. So the next time your son doesn’t respond to your call, review everything you’ve learned in this blog and try to apply them.