Manic: How fast your son goes from being a little boy to a big strapping teenager. My 16-year-old guy is now 6’1 and towers over me…and he doesn’t always want to hang out or chat with me like before.
Managed: Got some good advice from a few moms that have raised teen boys ahead of me and from my hubs, who our boy (very thankfully) hangs out with quite a bit, thanks to living in Phoenix where golf courses are aplenty and close by.
If you are like me and are adjusting to your boy going from an affectionate, chatty and interested little guy to a busy and not near as interested in Mom teenager, take heart. This is a normal part of your teenager making his way to manhood and it is actually good that he is establishing his independence as he prepares his wings for take off in just a few short years.
It doesn’t happen suddenly and at first you may not even notice it, but as the changes emerge, a boy’s loving Mama may feel a little lost on how to go about spending time with and getting that boy to look her way and engage in a conversation. I hadn’t even planned on writing about this topic until something got my attention the other night and then I reflected on the evolution of raising boys to young men.
Two nights ago I stopped folding the laundry, got off the computer and sat down on the couch with my guys, who were watching a movie. A few minutes into the film, my big guy surprised me by leaving his comfy chair to come plop next to me. He laid down and placed his big feet squarely in my lap. At first, I didn’t think much about it and right when I was about to make an excited comment, I remembered some advice that hubs shared with me recently when I admitted to him that I was a tad bit envious that our boy seems more interested in spending time with him and not so much with me, his doting Mama!
Hubs responded that our son probably won’t be that interested in me for a few years because that is pretty normal for a 16-year-old male at this point in his busy, hormonal and quickly moving life. He gently suggested that I refrain from asking for kisses and hugs and that when I get one, to NOT make a big deal of it. I hadn’t thought of that because I tend to be a loving and verbal Mama…which is not so cool at times to a teen boy.
So I remembered this advice and simply patted his feet. We watched the movie and a bit later he went to get a snack and retreated back to the chair that is across the room. To my surprise, after the snack was consumed, he returned to the comfy spot next to me and the teen feet once again plopped down in my lap. I liked that.
Hubs was right. Since I didn’t make a big deal about my kid’s display of affection (and yep, I will take that in the form of his feet on my lap) he spent some time sort of cuddling with his ol’ Mom. I have also heard some good advice from my Mom pals. Take a look at their teen boy communication tips…
*Always have food on hand. Teen boys are hungry all the time and they especially like when Mom offers grub to their buds, too. So I have worked on this and to my delight, my son thanks me when I make him a good meal. Awesome tip.
*Listen in the car. If you have one with a driver’s permit, this is your top time to take advantage of checking in since you will be spending a lot of time in the car….followed by hardly any car time….once the license is earned. At times when my driving teen started to talk, I quickly turned the radio down and bit my lip to really listen. We had some great talks during this learn to drive time. There were also tense driving moments and times with silent rides, so really listen when that boy does begin to chat with you.
*One friend told me to not despair because they come back around at 18, so be patient with the years leading up to that, because even if they act disinterested in you, they still really love and need Mom. It just may not be cool to show that.
*Another gal pal told me to remember to praise him, but hubs reminded me to do it in a relaxed manner, without making my compliments a big deal. Teen boys really do want and appreciate your admiration of the things that they do right, but they also want independence from you to try new things that you may have done for them before like making a grilled cheese sandwich or washing their own hockey gear in our case.
And here are two tips from me that I have recently learned. First, remember that it is OK to be human. Once when teaching my son to drive, I let a not so nice word slip right out of my mouth….and I was yelling it quite loud! My son was shocked, and although I don’t recommend this way of doing things, it did get his attention and he decided to heed my last second driving advice. But, I did apologize to him and I told him that I made a bad choice losing my temper in such a way. I could tell that he appreciated my humility and that I was setting an example to be accountable when in error.
And my last Mama teenage son bonding advice is let him drive the bus sometimes. Recently I invited him to accompany us after several of his hockey games during a 3-day tournament to a post game meal. Each time he declined our invitation to instead meet up with his buddies, so we sent him off with our blessing and a curfew. At the end of the last game, he finally accepted my invitation to meet me for a breakfast out. This time, I asked him where we should go and he was pleased to pick the restaurant and proud to give me the directions.
It was a great meal that served up fattening, teen loving fare. The first few minutes of our meal was spent in silence looking over the menu, so I asked him what to order and about his prior experience at this eatery. That started a fun conversation and we had a good time…worth every calorie! As we went our separate ways, I thanked him for a fun time out meeting up with his Mom. It strikes me that it all comes back to the advice listed above….food, listening and not making a big deal out of him meeting me for breakfast. I also chose to not mind one bit that he chose me because his buds were unavailable. Instead I decided to cherish this time with my ever changing little boy who will continue to grow…and, before I know it….go (hard swallow and tears in my eyes as I type).
Until then, make the most of that time with your unique and pretty darn special teenage guy. Teen years can really be fun and the advice from my hubs and gal pals make great sense and work pretty well, too.