How Dads Can Connect with Their Teenage Sons
By: Paul Temcio
Raising teenage sons really opened my eyes to the frustration that Dads actually have during this stage of their son’s life. You would think it would be easier the second time around. I have raised one son (now 22 years old) through the teens and he turned out great! Now I have a 14 year old again and I admit I am feeling as challenged as I did the first time around.
No more is my little guy who wants to hang out with me all of the time or tell me his latest exciting news. Around every corner there seems to be the teenage angst, distance from our father and son relationship and more often than not I get an attitude. Sometimes I get irritated sometimes that my son simply isn’t the sweet little boy he was once. Dads, I get it, trying to connect and reconnect with your teenage son is utterly frustrating but it doesn’t have to be. There are ways to work through these frustrating moments of having your teenage son be unresponsive, easily angered or simply agitated to have you in his presence. Here is my advice.
Find a common interest that still exists and run with it. There has to be at least one thing you both still have in common during this age of adolescence. Figure out what your teenage son is interested in that you enjoy too or at least that you can tolerate long enough to spend some quality time together. While your teenage son won’t admit it, he will enjoy being able to have a Dad who relates to something he enjoys in life.
Regardless of how little your teenage son talks to you, keep talking! It is difficult for me (and most dads I believe) not to make every conversation a life lesson. We feel obligated and responsible to impart our wisdom all the time, but it isn’t constructive all the time. It’s important to keep talking to your teenage son and find things that are neutral and fun to talk about. Maybe it is a science article from the news, or a joke you looked up online or they latest sports stats. There may be days where you are frustrated and angered at how little of a response you get from your teenage son but keep talking, he’s listening!
Be the example that your teenage son can look up to. While he may not openly admit it, your son is watching you as his Dad trying to be similar to you. Keep this in mind with every response you have or conversation you start with your son and other people in the household. While a teenage boy won’t admit they truly look up to their Dad, they really do. Instead of focusing on the lack of together time that happens during this stage, focus on how you can set the bar on standards for who your son should go up to be.
Remember that your teenage son is still your little boy. He is adjusting to a large size body and dealing with feelings that cause him to navigate temporary personality adjustment. It’s completely natural for a teenage son to distance himself from what once was a close bond with his Dad. This is part of growing up, everyone one of us went through this stage. Find a way to exercise a bit more compassion and take this stage less personal during the time spent with your teenage son. Remembering that it isn’t personal will go a long way.
Raising a teenage son that once was your little buddy is going to be hard. Days will pass where you wonder if you are losing the bond you both once held. Let go of the worry and fear over the changing relationship, embrace this change as the simple fact that your son must grow up someday and what better way to encourage this growing up phase than to try to be the man he can look up to and come to once he has moved passed all that comes along in adolescence.
How do connect with your teen?
Share your advice in the comments.