25 answers

My 16 Year Old Seems Distant

I'm worried about my 16 year old.. I'm not sure if that is common, normal for teens of his age..
He tends to close the door and stays in his room, Always on cellphone.. He doesnt commicuate much with me..
I talk a lot with him, let him know that I'm there for him and such. I feel as Im losing him.
What else can I do?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for your help. I forgot to write in of what happened.
It was bit of work but he has came around, he now sleeps nightly in his room with the doors open! He hardly don't hang out in his room, he would work out in there since we bought him weightlift set for christmas!
He been taking some girls out to date, he made sure I met them, he totally approve to show off who I am, it was so nice.. He texts me and always said "hey mah, love you".. Hell come home and tell me how much fun he had w his dates, with friends..
We set our boundaries and rules, all. We spend one hour together during and after dinner, just to talk and play games.
Works wonder!

Featured Answers

L. - I hear ya, girlfriend. I'm going through the same thing with my 16 year old son. I am a single parent. What I do that seems to help some and he and his friends even think I'm kind of cool, sometimes, that is. I try to have an "open door" policy for his friends. They are never afraid to come over or just call to talk. I mostly listen but it shows my son that I care about him. His friends appreciate someone who will just sit there and listen - not try to fix things. They know that I would help any one of them.

Good luck and let me know how it goes.

Keep doing what you're doing and one day he'll come out! He's fine. He's a teenager. That's how many of them are. Most of my friends didn't speak with their parents throughout high school and there was never anything wrong. They just didn't think their parents "got it". It's very normal for teenagers to not want to interact.

More Answers

Does he have a computer in his room? Take it out- put it in the same room as yours. We have "my" computer and the "kid's" computer on desks that form an L shape. That way you can keep an eye on what he is viewing-may or may not be something you approve of- and it is a wonderful time to talk. At nights my son sits on his computer playing w/ his iTunes and I play Solitaire and he will play some "cool" new Death Metal tune for me. Much to his dismay I have found some of his music that I love this way. (Altho he says it kills it for him when I like some of his music-truthfully I think he wouldn't show some of these bands to me if he didn't think I would like them. Of course- he also tries to shock me with some of the bands.) Also -TEXT him. If he doesn't have unlimited text- get it for him AND you and USE it. I have gotten more "I love you"s on my cell phone than ever before. Also handy if he is out w/ a girl- I give them an hour or so of "hanging out" and then send a text- "Whatcha doin?"- just so he knows I'm thinking about him-and so he remembers that he has a family w/ values that he should be remembering! They are much more likely to respond to a text than answer the phone. Stock LOTS of food in the house and tell him he and his friends are always welcome. My husband and I lose a lot of sleep on the weekends w/ big ol' nocturnal boys tromping around up stairs - but at least I KNOW where they are. And they are FUN! And funny. And when you ask a group of them a question- you'll be surprised at what info one of them will let slip out!
But otherwise- hiding in his room is pretty normal. Unless you have a gut feeling something is wrong- don't fret too much. If you are worried- do a search of his room-discreetly-while he is at school- just to rule out drugs and hit Control H on the computer to check the history of what he has been viewing. I also have a MySpace page so that I can occasionally check his MySpace- altho he just made his private since that is basically his email. But I go to his friend's pages occasionally....really I don't want to know TOO much- just that he is safe and not up to something he shouldn't be. Also I MADE my son find a volunteer position- he volunteers at the food bank once a week- since his grades are volatile (he has math issues) and he needs to tutor which makes a job a challenge. The volunteering has brought out a political and social side of him that I had not seen before. He is more aware of the goods and bads in society- it has connected him. Hang in there. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful

I have 2 boys 18yo & 16yo,and one preteen 11yo girl. My oldest one was very outgoing and very social. He never stayed in his room. My my middle one is a gamer, so he is always behind closed doors. As mentioned earlier dinner together is a must. We love our dinners, we laugh, and get caught up with each other. I also know all their friends. I am Momma to everybody in the neighborhood. We cook alot and always have enough for extra friends. My kids tell me they love me everytime we talk on the phone, no matter who is around. I am very blessed. Of course we have had our problems, they are NOT angels. But I think the key is communication. And always letting them know that NO MATTER WHAT, you love them and are there if they need you.
Good luck!! Like the cartoon Maxine says, MOTHERS OF TEENS KNOW WHY SOME ANIMALS EAT THEIR YOUNG!

1 mom found this helpful

It is normal and common. I have two of them at the house, a girl and boy. They seem to be in thier own little worlds. My two do the same thing, be in thier rooms with the door closed, texting thier friends, watching TV or playing video games. It seems the only time we communicate is when they need something or want to eat:) At that age they are trying to find thier independence while still trying to figure out how to let you know they still need you because he does. I use to worry about it also but as long as they know you are there for them no matter what, they will talk to you when they feel like it or when they feel they need too. We do alot of texting. I am not sure how you feel about that but at least we are able to communicate about the small things. The big things we communicate face to face. You are not losing him, that is just part of the growing up process. TEENAGERS!!! hehe

hi L.,
I think it's really important and a crucial time to be invloved in your kids life at that time. Because for many reasons it can be a defining moment in your kids life.
Start planning stuff for just the two of you to do or with the rest of your family but try to focus on him and start really talking to him as a friend and when he opens up to you with things that he likes like rock music or rap music or weird goth stuff or whatever strange things or not so strange things, he may like or not like, really try to relate to him. Try to let him know its ok to try new things to see if he likes it or not.Support his exploration, and at the same time try to protect and warn him of the dangers that may come with it. He may find it corny at first but don't give up. Maybe make it a goal of yours to get him to laugh with you-alot.
He probably feels like he has been given alot of independence from you because he is not like your younger son who really needs looking after and he thinks he needs to do things on his own. Just remind him that it is not the case and that he is not a grown up yet and there is still alot for him to learn from you.
Good luck!

Check out loveandlogic.com... they have resources for dealing with teenagers...
Do you have family night? Game night? Do you go on vacations?
Do you have a hobby or interest you can share? You didn't mention his father. Does he have an older male friend or relative that you trust that you could encourage to spend more time with him?
Get him out of his own little world and into the real one...
I know it must be hard. He may feel like he has no control over anything. "Love and logic" has creative ways of giving choices and responsibilities and appropriate consequences to kids to give them confidence, etc. Hang in there!

That it very typical teenage behavior. I have a 15-year old and same thing. She does interact with us but at home she likes her own space and we give it to her. I wouldn't worry too much about it. We make sure dinner time is our sitdown interacting time. I will tell you if my husband and I are talking to her she knows to put the cell phone up. It's a priviledge that can be taken away. Just think back when you were a teen. I'm 39 and I remember staying in my room listening to music and on the phone (landline, of course). It's called surviving the teen years.

I remember what my mom did with me at that age was to make sure we ate dinner as a family. I was kind of distant but there was just always at least dinner time for us to communicate. She also did her best to have us in a good church family. She didn't really "make" me go, it was just understood that that is how it was in our home. I made some mistakes along the road but turned out to have a great life and great relationship with my mom. Oh, and of course she prayed alot!! :) Best wishes to you and your family!


I feel for you as I do not look forward to that, but I do think it is totally normal. you're doing the right thing. Maybe take some time to plan some thing to do with him that he likes, from time to time. I know when I was 16 I fought spending any time at all with my parents. I was not involved in anything bad, I guess I just did not find family interesting. I was busy in my own head and thinking about my life at school. I was also hiding in my room the fact that there were still parts of me that were a child. I watched tv shows for tweens and did not want anyone to know, not even my parents.

I would hesistate to put a computer with the internet in his room. I just worry about involvement in pornography as it can be habit forming.

I wish you peace. And rest assured that he'll come back to find you some years from now.

My parents made a rule that we couldn't lock our bedroom door and if we stayed in our room for long periods of time they were constantly checking on us. Keep letting your son know you are there for him and be nosy. I grew up with all sisters and my son is only 6 months. I am nervous for the teenage years. I wish you luck.

He sounds like a normal teen. Keep the lines of communication open...he'll come around. If it really bothers you, you could institute a family afternoon, day, night, etc. Keep up the communication. You're doing great!

Keep doing what you're doing and one day he'll come out! He's fine. He's a teenager. That's how many of them are. Most of my friends didn't speak with their parents throughout high school and there was never anything wrong. They just didn't think their parents "got it". It's very normal for teenagers to not want to interact.

Same as previous, just remember he is 16 and thinks he is an adult and can conquer the world, respect his space but this cannot come at the price of the family. I have a 15 year old girl and a 6 year old boy, the latter seems to require more time and attention during important ages, since 6 year old was born, they understand but the need that time as well. Just one more thing, remember "Cat's in the Cradle"? Can even happen if you are at home.

Good luck!

Start texting him. It will make him laugh.

Try limiting the cell phone time. Eat dinner together then let him be on his own. If he seems depressed then you need to step in. But if he is talking on the phone he probley isnt depressed. At this age people usually break away from their parents to "find themselves". Think back to when you were a teen. We all did it. At this age he could get a part time job also! A little self respect earned for him. It kind of worries me that he stays in his room too much. Get him out of there if possible also take the computer out of his room. Good luck!

L. - I hear ya, girlfriend. I'm going through the same thing with my 16 year old son. I am a single parent. What I do that seems to help some and he and his friends even think I'm kind of cool, sometimes, that is. I try to have an "open door" policy for his friends. They are never afraid to come over or just call to talk. I mostly listen but it shows my son that I care about him. His friends appreciate someone who will just sit there and listen - not try to fix things. They know that I would help any one of them.

Good luck and let me know how it goes.

Hi L.,,,
I raised 2 boys and believe me your son is acting exsactly as he is for his age ,,no they don't want to talk to use about there feelings or anything else .We as mothers have done alot to help them,,,now is the time they are trying to figure out just what life really is .I had a case worker or counsler which every you choose to call them ,,,that boys are not settled till up as far as 26yrs old.
hang in there it can be a bumpy ride for awhile ,,,,,
good luck L.

I think it is great that you continute to talk with him, even though he doesn't seem to talk back. Don't stop that. If you don't already, I would make it a priority that your entire family sit down and have dinner together every single night! Have them help too. Set the table, clean off the table, whatever it might be. However, if this is something new, I would reward them for it. Set up some sort of reward system (even for your 16 yr old). I think at that age, I would be annoyed if my parents introduced a new chore. This is a good way to force everyone to spend some time together (whether communicating or not). When I was 14-17, I was kind of the same way. I found my mom and step-dad, overbearing and could not relate to them. All they ever did was say "no" and never gave me a reason. They also didn't respect me. They loved me but just didn't treat kids with respect. We were just "kids" and they were the "boss." Looking back on it now, I kind of felt worthless. It sounds much more dramatic than it really was but my point is that I would avoid them and they certainly weren't the ones that I would go to talk or share my feelings. It doesn't sound like you are this way at all. However, I think some of this just comes with the age. When he matures a little, hopefully he will open up. In the mean time, don't stop what you are doing. Continue to show him the importance of family, even if it seems he doesn't care right now. He's in the midst of needing to be "cool" right now. I think it's even worse with boys. Good luck to you. I'm stressing so much over my 4 year old boy already and I can't believe the problems are going to getting even harder. UGH. Oh, one last thought...maybe you all can go camping together. The weather is nice and I bet boys would LOVE that! Take care of mom, build the fire and such. You can rent the equipment at various places.

I really don't have any good advice on what to do since I don't have a teenager yet (I have a one year old boy). But I do want to suggest a book that might explain some of what he is going through and might give you ideas for helping the situation get better. It is called "Raising Cain" by Dan Kindlon, PH. D and Micheal Thompson, PH. D. It is about the emotional life of boys. My husband read it first and said that it was so true on what boys face growing up and how our society steroetypes them. I am now reading it and it really has opened my eyes that boys really are as emotional as girls and don't always have the resources or knowledge of how to let this emotion out.

Good luck!

sounds pretty normal to me. i would just say you should make it a point to do things one on one with him that he enjoys and also do things as a family where there is no TV, cell phones, computers, etc. allowed (picnic, hiking, miniature golfing, etc.) that way there isn't any distractions between you and him and just let the conversation flow, not like a confrontation, or he will just withdraw more. hope this helps

This is very normal. Lines of communication are important, but that doesn't always mean face to face talking. Texting is what teens like and how they communicate these days & that is a great way to stay connected. I will even text my son from downstairs just to say "U ok?" - He texts back "Yes Mam"...I text "U ready for dinner" - etc... Things stay much more calm when I am not always in his face yapping (as teens see it). I do the same when he is gone. This way, when I do really need to "talk" to him, he is willing because he doesn't feel I am in his face or business all the time. Sometimes we have to enter their world of today to stay connected - they are up with the technology - make it a good thing!

This is normal, for teens. It might help if you can come up with something that includes some of his friends. Maybe a pizza night with soft drinks and games on the Tv something that is geared to their age. This way he will know that you are Cool as in their words. This will also let you know something about some of his friends in your home. Your husband or mail friend might could take them to play pool some where also. This is something that they may not have done before also.

Glad to hear your news. I work with teens and they often tell me that it is something that triggers inside them and they don't know what it is. It seems like they are very depressed or withdrawn, but I think it is just coming of age and finding your place in the world.

The best thing you can do is have patience, express your support and give them space. You did the right thing and ultimately it worked out. Happy for you both.

The first thing you do is limit cell phone use. When does he do school homework...I imagine he has some. Require that he spend a certain amount of time with you, even if it's only at mealtime. You need to know who his friends are and what he does at and after school. I have always believed in the open door policy at night. He knows you are there for him, but is it in a judgemental way or an understanding and encouraging way.

What are all of you trying to accomplish? Kids biologically grow detached from their parents, as it is an essential part of survival. Please, calm down. This feeling of "losing" your kids is something that you just have to endure- trust me, its the best thing for them. The only problem is that this biological change comes at a time when kids are still financially dependent on their parents. Let your kid sulk and figure it out themselves if he or she wants; its part of becoming an adult. Stop trying to reel in your kids. Rather, push them forth and help them succeed by helping them with schoolwork if they desperately need it. Otherwise, live your life, and yours alone.

I know that I am a couple of years late, reading this, but this is exactly what's happening for me. After reading the responses, I know that it is not me. My son is 16 and seems to have stop talking as much as he use to. But now I realize, he is 16 and not my little baby boy any longer. I ask him if anything is wrong and he says no, We still have our mom and son conversations and fun times. So I will give him his space, and make sure Im there when he needs me.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.