I know every kid is different. But it can get frustrating when you have one child that tells you everything and another that’s tight lipped.
My son and his girlfriend broke up last weekend. I’ve been trying for days to find out what went on but when I ask, he tells me he doesn’t want to talk about it. I really don’t know how to respond to that.
Why wouldn’t he want to spill his guts to his mother? Doesn’t he realize that mothers need to know what’s going on in their kids’ lives — every sordid detail of it? Doesn’t he realize that a mother’s advice is the best advice any son could ever get since mother knows best?
I’m ashamed to admit in my quest for info, I’ve resorted to stealth tactics that would make James Bond proud. I’ve tried listening outside his door when he was talking to a friend. I’ve tried searching through Facebook for clues. I’ve tried sending my younger son in to see what tidbits he could learn. I’ve even tried stretching my eyes to catch a glimpse of his text messages.
Finally, I gave up. I gauged my son’s mood and he seems okay so I decided he would share what he wanted with me when he felt ready.
A friend of mine with adult children gave me this advice for raising teens: “stay available.”
Last night, my son was in a pretty good mood and I asked him if he had spoken with his ex-girlfriend lately. I almost fainted when he responded with a small conversation and some details rather than a grunt.
By now, I know better than to give advice. Telling a teen that hurt feelings will pass is not effective because they live in the present an their pain is immediate. The only thing I could say to him was “breakups are a learning experience.”
By now, I would have known every sordid detail if the break up would have happened to one of my other kids. I have no choice but to accept that my son is more private. It makes me think about how tough it must be on parents whose kids keep bigger problems to themselves.
One mom says her opportunity to learn what’s going on happens when her son’s friends are over or in her car. “I just keep my mouth shut and listen. My kid knows I’m there but he is more willing to say things than if I was speaking to him directly.”
How important to you think it is for parents to know what is going on in our teens’ relationships and friendships? Parents, how do you get your teen to open up to you? Do pointed questions work for you?