07 Jan How to communicate better with your adolescent boy
Megan de Beyer introduces her modern mother’s guide to raising teenage boys in the current#metoo #allmenaretrash era with a look at Parent-Adolescent Communication
While discussing parent-adolescent communication with Grade 9 boys, Jason asked them to answer the following four questions. After ten years of speaking to boys across four continents, I have found these to be pretty common responses:
What do you wish your parents would stop doing?
- Worrying so much.
- Taking out their bad moods on me and blaming me when they have a bad day.
- Expecting me to be competitive.
- Invading my space, for example by coming into my room all the time.
- Not respecting my privacy.
- Fighting with each other.
- Always telling me that I am disorganised.
- Holding me back.
- Holding grudges, bringing up the past and holding things against me.
- Judging my friends.
- Being late for things that are important to me.
What would you like your parents to do?
- Listen to me.
- Ask for my opinion.
- Give me more of a role in making decisions about things that affect me.
- Stop worrying.
- Accept me for who and what l am; not expect me to be someone else.
- Be more understanding.
- Understand that I need my independence.
- Allow me to just do nothing when I get the chance (which is not often).
- Remember the names of my friends.
- Spend more time with me and appreciate having me around.
- Get to know me better.
- Communicate with each other more.
What issues do you wish you could talk to your parents about?
- My future after school.
- My plans for the future.
- My social life and social media.
- What happens when I go out.
- General stuff about me and my friends.
- My life and the things that happen to me.
- Their jobs.
What do you want your parents to know?
- That I love them.
- How much pressure school is.
- How much peer pressure there is, and how much pressure is caused
- by social media.
- That I do care and I do try.
- That I can be responsible.
- That I am different from them and that I have different goals to them.
- That I want them to be happy.
- That my skin is thinner than they think and that sometimes the things that they say hurt.
- That I love them more than anything and I want them to stop fighting (with me and with each other).
The idea of raising a boy with the understanding that he will leave you is a difficult one to make peace with. Separation and rejection issues may arise and should be reflected upon. Our teen son will be unhooking his dependence from us as he discovers his manhood, and this can be a painful process for both mother and son. If you have deep fears around separation, abandonment or rejection, you may overreact, which can complicate this inevitable process.
In this era of #metoo, it’s evident that something is going wrong in the way men progress from childhood into adulthood, and few realise how critical the role of the purposeful and emotionally empowered mother is in a boy’s journey to maturity. Specialist parent psychologist, Megan de Beyer facilitates the popular course ‘Strong Mothers Strong Sons’ and has written an essential book How To Raise a Man. This is an extract.
How To Raise a Man is available at all good book stores from 29 December 2020 RRP$32.99
Author image: Frederick von Heyer