If you have a teenage son, sometimes it can feel difficult to speak to them.
It isn’t uncommon for a young male not to know how to talk about how they are feeling, or seek the support they need, so creating an environment in which they can speak to you openly is important.
Due to the way society portrays masculinity as being strong, with a lack of any form of expression, it can be scary for a teenage male to want to talk, especially if they feel it isn’t ‘manly’ for them to do so.
Because of this, as a parent it can be extra difficult to have a conversation with your son when it comes to more sensitive subjects.
When doing so, you will want to make sure that they are encouraged to be able to express emotions without negativity.
When that happens, they will recoil back into their shell and assume that as a male they are not allowed to openly express how they feel.
Because of this, let’s take a look at simple yet effective ways to speak to your teenage son.
Make Sure The Timing Is Right
Whilst on TV and films the parents sit their teenage child down for a discussion, this isn’t the right way to go.
Also, avoid the urge to approach him as he comes in from meeting friends or being at school.
The best way to talk to your son is to be casual about it.
Doing it spontaneously is best, such as when you are both in the car together, or perhaps relaxing in front of the TV or in the backyard.
When there is no pressure, and the discussion comes naturally, he won’t feel that same wall go up that probably happens when he knows what is coming.
Also, perhaps keeping your eye on the TV, or whatever you might be doing at the time (heck, knitting even!) can actually help your son to open up.
It creates a more relaxed environment when you are not trying to stare directly into his eyes.
Do Not Talk Down To Your Son
As a parent it is really important that the conversations you have with your son do not end up belittling him and patronizing him.
You will want to either come across as equals, or that he has the upper hand and that you are available when he needs it.
To come across this way, ask questions that ask what sort of steps he might take, or how might you help him?
Also, never, ever assume anything. If you think he might be gay, don’t outright ask. Just pose the question genderless and let him speak.
Try Not To Give Your Son A Lecture
With patronizing also comes lecturing. You will want him to be able to talk openly about his life and the experiences he goes through.
Whilst you might not agree with him, now isn’t the time to give him a full lecture on the subject.
If you do end up lecturing him, he will feel like he cannot talk to you or be open with you, so he won’t.
Because of this, he might also not seek any support at all.
To help it not come across as a lecture, keep it as a conversation and remember to listen.
Understand He Will Learn From Mistakes
Whilst you might not agree with what he has to say, mistakes do happen, and there is no better time than as a teenager.
He will have a lot to learn, and when he makes mistakes, he will learn from them.
Also, it is a part of growing up. Think about how you were as a teenager, and the kind of person you are now because of them.
Make Sure You Listen And Stay Positive
The important thing is to listen to what your teenage son has to say without getting your own two cents in.
The whole point of trying to start a conversation is to hear what is bothering him.
This means not talking about your own stories halfway through, or giving an opinion.
Just listen to what he says, and then you can both figure out how he moves forward.
There might be a reason you don’t actually agree with him, but try your best to stay as neutral as possible.
For him to stay honest and open, now is not the time to be judgmental.
Instead, show that you would like to understand it from the view he has.
This way, he will then listen to what you have to say, for example if you have an alternative view.
You could perhaps suggest a different route to figuring out the issue.
However, do stay positive and focus on the fact you want to help him.
Don’t Take Anything He Has To Say Personally
It isn’t uncommon for a teenager to react in the moment, so never take what they say to heart.
Being stressed and angry can cause any of us to lose sight of reality, and say things we really just don’t mean and regret.
If he does become heated and starts to say nasty comments, take a break and say you will resume the conversation when he has calmed down.
Understand If He Doesn’t Want To Talk
However, do understand that your teenage son might just not want to talk yet, if at all.
Whilst it is tempting to keep asking him until you’re blue in the face, it isn’t advised. Just let him know that you are open to talk.
However, if he won’t you could always suggest he speak to a therapist or other professional.
Final Thoughts On Talking To Your Teenage Son
If you need to talk to your son about a sensitive topic, it can sometimes be difficult to approach the subject.
So long as you listen, stay non-judgmental and let him know that you are there to help, it should be enough.