28 answers

Seeking Advice on 12 Yr. Old Thats Pulling Away from "Mom Time"

Help ! My husband and I have two wonderful children and I am struggling as a mom with the fact that they are growing up.....My situation is this: I have a 12 yr old son that is going to be turning 13 soon. We have always been close but the last year or two he's beginning to pull away and not talk to me much any more. We have a very close family and are very involved in our childrens lives ( school, sports, friends, etc ). Just today, I was talking to my son on the way home and was trying to engage in a general conversation and to no surprise.... I got a few remarks here and there and that was it. What bothered me was afterwards he made a statement that if something was ever wrong- he wouldnt talk to me about it....and that broke my heart !!! Any advice ? I obviously told him that I would hope he would feel comfortable talking to me about anything but if he didnt, I would hope that he would talk to dad or an adult someone that could help him...or listen....he commented that if he ever needed to talk to someone- then maybe he'd talk to his friends. Anyway- this could be a typical teenager response- but nonetheless, it didnt sound like my son. I've bought him teenage books but he doesnt like to read them , I'm encouraging him to get involved with a youth group but he doesnt want to. He know he has excellent role models in his life and alot of people who love him so I know there are people around if he needed to talk...but I've just been trying to give him space. But how do I get him to open up to me again....and keep talking. How much space is too much ? I've always kept the lines of communication open in hopes that if he ever did need to talk to me about something serious- he would feel comfortable...but now my worst fears are happening. We all talk to him and just reassure him that we are here if he wants to open up...he has a few times- but for the most part- keeps things to himself. Any advice out there ?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

A huge thank you to all you wonderful moms out there ! I tried to reply to all but i received so many wonderful comments that i have yet to thank everyone individually.
I have soaked in all your advice and have decided to back off, give him his space and pray that he makes the right decisions....in hopes that some day he'll come to me or someone else when he really needs to talk. In the meantime, i've picked up some books and am re-educating myself on raising teens.....thank you again !!

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Alas, it is the teenager's job to pull away from us, but we don't have to like it. I found that taking my teen out of town on a road trip or a train trip helped when communication lines were down. Maybe a weekend here or there? Somehow, leaving the city limits for a few days helped.

Also, driving her and her friends places while I kept my mouth shut gave me insights into what was going on in their lives.

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Im a single mom, and I have three boys. My youngest doesn't have much of a father in his life, so he tends to find a male role model to talk to. My conversations with him have changed. He tells me things when he wants to, or I hear it from his friends. Going into manhood, boys are growing up, and through changes. Don't give up, with new friends, they want to spend time with them. I know my son is into girls, and my son is popular with the girls.
My son started yelling at me if he doesn't agree with me. Sometimes boys think us mothers don't understand. I grew up with sisters, so boys are a handful.

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Hi K.C.
BACK OFF! I know it doesn't seem right but it's really o.k. that he's claming up. I raised two sons, 11 1/2 months apart & remember it all very well. They are now 20 & 21 and this is just the first time in the next 6 years that he'll do this dance with you. I wish I had the books available that I read back then but here's the main message on boys. They want to know 3 things. Whose the boss, What are the rules, and Are there consequences? This gives them a very clear road map to how life works. Next thing to know is that "teenage" boys communicate much like grown men. If you have something to say to them keep it to 5 words or less! Anything more than that is seed that falls on rocks...wasted. The author of this book ---boys? spoke at the Regional Center for the Arts Theater in Walnut Creek about 10 years ago. Most of the moms I went with had boys and we were rolling in the aisles laughing at how well he knew our lives. The other aspect of your sons behavior is that he wants to have control. If you keep asking him questions, then you're in control. Try ignoring him...not in a mean way just try zipping up and turning up the music in the car. Without fail, when my boys were that age and I picked them up from school or was taking them to little league etc. they wouldn't say "boo" until one of my favorite songs came on the radio and I turned it up and started to sing along. All of a sudden, they had a whole story about somebody at school they had to tell me about right then.
Another thing about teenage boys that emulate grown men...when women/girls talk/communicate they can sit down across the table and just chat away. Men don't do that. They talk while "doing" something like, golf, basketball, woodworking, fishing, watching a ball game etc. So here's what I'd suggest to keep connected to Mr.Quiet: Do not ask questions unless it's an emergency; Stop telling him you're there for him (he knows you are); Tell him "find an activity you like" instead of making suggestions (he'll shoot them down just because you suggested it); Never tell him you know about something...always include a 3rd party as the source of information i.e. "I heard that...or I read somewhere that..." This gives him the information without it sounding like advice from you. As you cut back on your conversation & questions with him he'll naturaly start to feel the space HE NEEDS and eventually want to fill it up, a little. Give him a week or so and I'll guarantee he'll start offering conversation himself.
As for you, I'm sorry about your mom & mother-in-law. I'm sure you feel their loss very much and so does your son. He may be a little freaked about losing two key women in his life and be a little afraid about losing you as well.
Maybe he's starting to protect his heart from loss by pushing you away little by little. Just keep loving him and letting him know you're there (quietly, fix his favorite food, don't say anything). Maybe start a part time job doing something you really love while he's in school. My boys got excited for me when I started working and started showing more respect for my time. I think the name of the book was "all about boys" and the author was a comedian turned psychologist. Great logical insight.
Best of luck - chin up!

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Alas, it is the teenager's job to pull away from us, but we don't have to like it. I found that taking my teen out of town on a road trip or a train trip helped when communication lines were down. Maybe a weekend here or there? Somehow, leaving the city limits for a few days helped.

Also, driving her and her friends places while I kept my mouth shut gave me insights into what was going on in their lives.

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Your son is SO testing out his crappy little independent wings. And I say "crappy" because that's how it makes a mom feel when your kid acts like they don't need you WAY before either of you are truly emotionally ready for it. It's just an act.
As a mom who has been through this, my son is 12, the first thing to do is make sure that expressing feelings are okay. It's okay to be mad, scared, frustrated, tired, etc., but you don't get to take those feelings out on someone else. You NEVER get to be disrespectul because you are having a bad day or feeling a certain thing. ESPECIALLY not to mom. If you want to talk about it, fine.....If you want to say, "I am feeling upset and I want to yell for a second, but it's not the same as yelling at YOU Mom," then fine. Let's face it. It's hard enough to be an adult in this world and communicate effectively and properly. This age is very difficult, I think especially for boys. "Leave me alone! Wait....Don't leave me alone!" It's a confusing time. And the last thing we want is our sons to grow up and not talk. "If you don't feel like talking right now, that's fine, cool off, but you are obviously feeling something so when you settle down, let's talk about it. You talk.....I'll just listen." This has worked wonders with my son. I just tell him that I love him and I can tell something is wrong. If he says, "Leave me alone right now" I respect that. After just a little while, here he comes to me and tells me everything and we have such good talks.
My other prescription is laughter. People die and get sick and stuff happens, we have been through so much. But we always laugh. Every day we have a little laugh session together. My son melted me the other day when he said, "You know....I love you so much. No matter what happens, I can always count on you to make me laugh." Find what tickles your kid's funny bone. Just let him know that when he says GO AWAY.....you will. But only until he can compose himself and have a normal, decent human conversation with you. And you are willing to wait. You're not going anywhere and at 12 years old, neither is he. As long as he's not being disrespectul to you, you can slide a little with the space thing. But you have to know that what kids really need, especially then they fight against it, is the assurance that they are safe and their parents will reign them in when they can't do it for themselves.

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Hi KC,

I can relate a little to your son; I'm the eldest of a large, tightly knit family and I wouldn't ever want to repeat my adolescence, ever.

My problem was that I craved air to breathe. With all of my sisters and my parents and relatives, everyone was always attentive and everything, it was so difficult just to get a sense of my own identity and figure out what I would do with my life.

I think you sound like a caring, loving parent. It seems like you're doing everything you know how to in order to maintain a positive relationship with your son.

My advice is this; from what I can tell of the story is that your son is readying himself for independence and self-sufficiency. A young man needs his space. Actually, everyone does.

What I hear him saying when he says he'd more likely confide in his friends than in his family, is that he wants to make a positive contribution to the family and he needs to figure out how he'll do that, on his own, as an independent person.

What I do in order to prepare for my eight-year olds eventual development, is to read books geared towards adolescents and young adults. When I do this I'm reminded of the challenges I faced; I can step back and allow the outcome of the small problems and the greater gains. After all, one day he'll be full grown. He'll be a man, hopefully a mature young man with good manners. Respecting the space of others is a critical skill.

All the best,
M.

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Dear KC,
I went through this with my son who is now 16 and I am going through it with my 14 year old. Buckle your seat belt and pray, because this is a hard time for a "hands on mom". This is totally normal and they do come out of this phase. I know that with my older son I was so unprepared when this happened that I took things personally and he saw my distress and sometimes hurt. This caused him even more discomfort and more pulling away. Sometimes we as parents at this age feel the separating they are doing and our attempts to find out what is going on in their lives feels more like interogation to them. The best advice I got was to just back off, be kind and loving no matter how cold and distant they are and just spend a little bit of time "being" with them, even in silence, if that is what happens. Find something he likes to do and go have some fun (short times once a week or so). Play a video game with him, take him for a Jamba Juice or ice cream, whatever it is and don't ask a lot of questions just be with him. This is also a time where he needs his dad to step up in his life and really connect with him at a new level. In the next year or two his dad will need to set boundaries with him about how he treats you. You represent childhood to him and he is becoming a man and the conflict in him about YOU is huge. He may be very mean, disrespectful ect . . and your husband as well as yourself have to set boundaries. A good "You don't treat my wife like that!" talk is a really good thing for a young teen boy to hear. He does need you and he knows it and that is what the conflict is all about. Look at how you are parenting him, at this age you have to move to the coach or mentor style as much as possible and let him try out his decision making process and experience his own failures as much as possible in the areas that are safe. Stop micromanaging his life (which we all do for younger kids) and start letting him make as many decisions as possible, of course he still needs lots of boundaries from you. I know I made this mistake with my oldest. Hang in there, I heard all kinds of hurtful things I was told "I don't want friends over here to be around you!" " I am moving out of here as soon as I can!" "You are ruining my life" "Everyone else can do X and I am the only one who can't!" The good news is that they actually do grow out of this stage and my sixteen year old, more secure in the young man he is becoming, comforts me when his little brother starts acting like the young teen that he is. He even said to me, "Did I act like that??" and when I said "yes, and you were worse" we both laughed! He comes to me for advice now and hugs me for no reason, but I had to work hard to get here and it took time. Telling him you love him no matter what and anything you are doing to ruin his life is actually because you want him to have a good life helps too. He will act like he is not listening to a word we say, but he is. I am proud of my son and the decisions he is making in his life and person he is becoming. He was just hidden under a thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen year old fog for a while. I read as much about teens as I could about teens and asked advice of experienced parents and even sought family counseling when he was really getting seriously involved with a young lady at his youth group. The relationship with us and this young lady is much healthier and balanced now. This will be one of your hardest parenting times, but you can do it and remember he loves you and needs you. The image I leave you with is one my friend gave me. Your teen is just a larger version of a 2 year old trying to dress themselves for the first time and tantruming because they can't do it, but refusing any help from you! They want to do it themselves and are angry when they can't!!

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Hi KC,
I think you should just see this as a teenager remark, back off, this ais a very vulnerable time in their life, do you remember your own teenagerhood or maybe your husband can share his, since he is a boy, I think being to pushy will only close him up more, just be happy with what you have right now, he is still talking right? He is becoming his own person and there is nothing that you can do to not have that happen, I wish you the best in teenger kland, it is wonderfull if you let them have the feeling it is theirs. C.

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Hi K.C. I am a family therapist specialized in helping teens and their families get from 13 to 18, so your story isn't new to me. Giving your son space is exactly what he needs-- he needs a chance to 'be his own man' separate from you and his rather-- whether you all realize it or not, he's closer to being an adult than a child now, and he needs to start figuring out who else he can lean on besides his parents. If you haven't read 'How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk' by A. Faber, I highly recommend it. It's got lots of ideas on how to get kids to open up. For the most part, though, you should hold your tongue, avoid questions, which will just sound like 'getting grilled' no matter how general and well meant they are, and stay neutral as best you can. And keep your hopes up-- this stage does not last forever!

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Dear Mom, I'm a mother of 4 sons. THey are all all adults now. When my youngest son was 10 I almost died . My older son sent him to school before I came home from the hospital. He was worried that I might die and leave him alone. At 1st he didn't want to go to school in fear I wouldn't be home when he got home from school. As he got older he stared pulling away which is normal in the teen years. Inside he still felt like he might loose me so he acted like he didn't care but that wasn't true. You just lost 2 ladies in your life maybe he is affected by this and you don't know. When my son got older he shared with me that would was to painful to think he might loose me and he didn't to get hurt so he tried not to care. This might not be your case at all. It might just be that your holding on to tight. Give him a little freedom at a time. Also watch out for the 1st signs of possible drug use. If he is getting good grades and he is involved in sports thats great. I pray many blessing on your family.

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Most boys start to pull away at that age. Did you have the same relationship with your parents, a lot of times they role model what they see.

Teenagers generally go to their friends first.

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Sounds like you have a normal pre-teen on your hands. It also sounds like he has a great support system - good for you.
This is a totally normal process that needs to happen (separation.)
I will give you some advice that works for me (hopefully it will help.)
If he feels like it bothers you that he doesn't talk, he won't talk. Sometimes he'll do it to purposely piss you off, and other times he will just simply be repelled from your NEED (he will feel smothered.)
Its OK to ask him questions, but don't let that be your only way of communicating. No one likes to be interrogated.
I've found telling stories to the kids about interesting things that have happened to me is a great way to communicate with them. The key to this is you need to make it relevant to whatever situation you two are in at the moment and you need to make it sound super casual (like you're talking to a girlfriend.) Its a great (and sneaky) teaching tool. If you made a mistake, tell them. Ask what they would've done.
Also give your preteens lots of positive feedback. Middle school kills most people's self esteem. Help them see themselves for who they really are - great little people.
Tell them especially when you are proud of their decision making, when they've been responsible, any good behavior.
Sound like you're doing a great job. Keep it up :)

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Dear KC,
I am not to your point yet, but have two boys that I love very much. I am reading Dr. James Dobson's book Bringing Up Boys. Just finished reading a chapter about moms and sons. Your son is at the age that he is trying to pull away from mom and be independent. He may do and say some things that are hurtful one minute and then act as if nothing happened. It is a stage in his life. According to Dobson, try not to take it personal. Direct him to his dad. He is trying to be more of a man and his dad is the best role modle. I'm not looking forward to this time in my life. My oldest boy is 4 so I have awhile. Blessings. I am sure you and your husband are raising a fine man.

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Hi K.C. - As a mom of 2 daughters now 20 & 22, I have been through all the different stages and from my experience, what is happening with your son is completely normal. As hard as it is on their parents, they have to start pulling away and becoming their own person. But take heart, as trying as the teenage years may be, they do get to the other side. My daughters and I are closer than ever and we have a relationship now that I could only have dreamed of. You sound like a very balanced, loving mom - just hang in there - it really is going to be okay!
Keep smiling,
K.

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I too went through this very same angst about a year ago. My son is 13.5. 6 months of hell. Nothing but grunts in replies and complete isolation from his life. I gave him his space, tried to remember not to take it personal. He simply had to pull away from his mama to assert his independence and validate that he didn't need me. We're back on track and he's the sweet loving boy ( most of the time ) that he used to be at age 8. Give him love and patience. He'll come around.

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Well....unfortunately your son does need some privacy. And I say that very lightly because they do need to be watched like hawks and guided very carefully through these crazy adolescent years. He is trying to figure out who he is and that is embarrassing for them. I don't feel like there is anything wrong with going in and checking up on letters/texts and making sure the context is appropriate. Guys really don't like talking face to face, but are more likely to open up when your doing something together, cooking, cleaning up the yard or garage or what-ever. Does he have a cell phone? Try texting him or if he's on Myspace make your own profile and connect with him there. The kids of this generation are very techy. And mom if you have a feeling about something you are probably right so don't try to be his friend be his mom and put your foot down, he will respect you in the end. You have to choose your battles and make sure you win those important character building ones! Do something silly to throw him off something he wouldn't expect. There is a great curriculum called "Running the Rapids" by Dr. Kevin Leman Adolescence is often the most critical time to understand and relate to your child. Learn to relate to your teen with this seminar by Dr. Leman. He is entertaining to watch and listen to and he has some great principles. You can get it online or at the christaian book store. We did it within our small group bible study, which if you have access to I highly recommend. It sounds like you have a great network and that is the most important thing we believe in raising kids today. I could go on and on so I'll leave you with that and hope that it helps! Although I do have to plug in that Horizon Community Church has an awesome youth program that the kids truly enjoy hanging out and learning how to apply a bit of the Word to their lives today! Just a side note...If you want to stay connected to what is going on in his world be the "hang out" house. You will learn all you need to know from their conversations as long as you don't allow them to just hide in the room with the door closed. It might cost you a little more in your grocery bill but well worth not losing your son!

A Bit about Me.....
I am a happily married 34y.o. mother of three. We have two daughters who are 15 & 11 and a son who is soon to be 7. We too are heavily involved with our kids between sports, school and church activities. We have vowed to breaking the cycle in both of our families of alcohol and dysfunction. Our Christian family and network of friends have been the biggest blessing and most treasured!

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Hi, I know this is a real hard time for you. I have a 14 yr old son and I had "anxiety" over him pulling away from me. What helped me a lot was trying to talk to him about things he is interested in. If I asked him about a video game that would lead to a conversation about it and sometimes it would branch off from there. The more you push the more they will pull away. Whenever he approaches you drop what you are doing , because they do not wait. My son pulled away around the age of 12-13 and since he turned 14 things leveled out. Make sure he has good friends. Also my son and his dad became real close. It is normal for a son to pull away from his mom, it's health. I know it is hard, it gets easier . You both need to adjust to the change in your relationship.

Good Luck, I know what it is like and I still struggle with it....

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It is totally natural for your son to behave this way, and it is the result of good parenting. You've given him the foundation of love and support to feel confident in himself, and the tools to make decisions on his own. Now he wants and needs the space to practice using them (within the parameters of a safe and healthy family life). He needs the space to try things out, to make mistakes and to learn from them, and find out who he is by trying out different characteristics. All teens need this time to "practice' before they are really out on their own...as he will be in just 5 or 6 years.
He knows he can come to you and can tell you everything, but it now needs to be his choice. If you keep bringing it up, he is more likely to clam up because he feels pressure. And you might look at whether your needs are playing into this; it is heartbreaking to feel less connected to your child, but he is changing and the close level of communication of a young child to his mother is bound to change in the teen years. Mourn the loss, but keep 90% of your focus on how healthy it is for his self-growth. Teens are all about themselves and they are moving from family-center to peer-centered living. Then it's on to independent living, and then back to family life! It's a bit like they are a stream that goes underground for a few years, then reemerges again into the sunlight!
Leaving him be in his self-absorbtion does not absolve him of his family responsibilities nor participation in family gatherings. (Although he may protest vehemently as he grows older, he would feel abandoned if he were really left out). He must be respectful of the household rules, which was a struggle I had with my teen age daughter. She felt that they were an attempt to control her, but finally she understood that we were simply asking for everyday respect (like calling home if she was spending the night, and letting us know where she was going, and with whom).
The teen years are an inward time, and teens really want to be left alone to process their thoughts and feelings. They want to practice their emerging "independence." It is a good time to find a part-time job or a volunteer project for yourself: your children can begin to see you as a person and not just "mom." It serves as a good role model for them, to see your adult role as well. Plus, it makes provides a foundation for the more adult-adult communication your teen might find interesting (instead of "what did you do today?" it becomes "this is what I did today...") and takes the spotlight off of him (in this inward time, teens don't like to have attention placed on them).
I hope you find some comfort in the fact that your child is right on track, behaving normally for his age. I suggest giving him his space and privacy in his free time, when he is not performing family duties (his chores, or coming to meals). The breakfast and dinner meals give you two opportunities to observe your child, and to maintain your connection (even when there is no conversation). You will be able to see if there ever is something REALLY wrong (and I would not hesitate to act in that instance, but I doubt that will be the case). And rejoice in the fact that your son is growing in his individuality!

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Im a single mom, and I have three boys. My youngest doesn't have much of a father in his life, so he tends to find a male role model to talk to. My conversations with him have changed. He tells me things when he wants to, or I hear it from his friends. Going into manhood, boys are growing up, and through changes. Don't give up, with new friends, they want to spend time with them. I know my son is into girls, and my son is popular with the girls.
My son started yelling at me if he doesn't agree with me. Sometimes boys think us mothers don't understand. I grew up with sisters, so boys are a handful.

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Hi KC,
I live in Brentwood too! We also have a 12 and 11 yr. as well as an 8 yr. old. You mentioned that you have tried getting your son involved in youth group. I am an adult leader with our Jr. High YG at Neighborhood Church. It is quite a challenging age group! Do you know the Youth Pastor well enough at they YG you are interested in for you son, that he might invest some time in him? He could be going through typical teenage syndrome or maybe something is bothering him and he just feels uncomfortable talking with his parents. Feel free to email me if you'd like to chat.
God Bless,
T.

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This is a normal stage for a 12 year old going on 13. I think you need to let go. Our children start pulling away and asserting their independence, good for him. Hopefully you have built a good foundation with trust and communication (sounds like you have) and your son will probably come to you if there is really something going on.

Hi, I hate to say it but this is typical teenager behavior especially boys, they start pulling away from you, but sometimes they do come back. I was having an issue with my son who is 11 about to be 12 and he loves to hang out with his friends, and I would call him on his cell phone and he would brush me off because he's with friends, I was very sad about it, but spoke to my sister who now has 2 grown kids and went through the same thing and her kids are now very close to her. So don't worry, keep the line of communication open and he may act like he doesn't care, but at least he knows you guys are there for him.

I have an 18-year-old son and a 14-year-old daughter. I remember when my son started to "pull-away", so I know how you're feeling. I would strongly recommend a couple of books to you by Michael Riera - he's an educator and has many years of experience with teenagers. I've read his books and heard him on the radio, and he really "gets teenagers". The pulling-away is a very normal part of entering the teen years and I would advise you to also pull back a little. Believe me, he knows he can talk to you, and will, when he really needs to. My son did. Take care and be sure to "google" Mike Riera - he's spot-on when it comes to understanding and dealing with teens.

Your son is right on time. His job right now is to push you away, reject you, rebel against you, and find his own identity. He isn't going to sound like your son because he is working to remake himself into the man he is going to be. The very best way you can keep him close is by giving him the room he needs to separate from you, and to respect his newfound competence and independence.

It's amazingly like having a 2 or 3 year old. They struggle to get away, run and hide... and then run back to "touch base" and make sure you haven't left them alone while they were out exploring the world. Just because your son says he won't come to you doesn't mean he won't. And just because he says he isn't listening doesn't mean he doesn't value your opinion. If you listen carefully you will discover that he is master of the casual comment that is fraught with meaning and need. Answer back just as casually and just as matter-of-factly. He will listen intently--as long as you don't try to insult his intelligence by offering advice overtly.

You have given him all the tools he needs to navigate this treacherous time; good role models, the knowledge that he is loved and that you are available etc. Now you need to trust that you have done a good job and let him work things out for himself. He is your child and you will know how much space is too much. Just remember, it will be too much for you before it is enough for him. Your job as a parent is still to suck it up and let him push your limits in order to find his own.
Good Luck!!!

I have a 7 year old soon-to-be-step-son in my life. I'll never try to ever be his mom (he already has one who loves him very much), but I do want a healthy relationship with the boy. I got the book "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk" by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish to help me.

Not only did the basic techniques work with the 7-year old, but surprisingly they also worked with my boss, my fiance, my friends, and my clients. It's been great. I get more information from everyone & I feel as if I'm truly communicating. Maybe the book can help with the teenagers too.

It's going to be interesting being the step-mom of a teenage boy. Any advice for me? (We have him half of the time.)

Well, first welcome to parenting a teenager, I have twin boys that are 14 and I still have days that I feel like an alien has taken over my boys and the way we as a family use to be. I am finishing up a book called 'The Five Love Languages of Teenagers' by Gary Chapman and it has been a total blessing, I truly feel that every parent of a soon to be or current parent of a Teenager should read it. We as a family have had to realize that some of the family things that we do together they are not going to be there for, but we keep doing them and we have also included them in planning some of those events or activities so that we are doing things that they are interested in. Hold on to the moments that you do get with him, at this age I have come to realize that I am just not cool and I am o.k. with that because I also have realized that I am a constant they always return home where there heart is and we will always take them back unconditionally even if it is just for a few minutes here and there right now.Being in prayer for your son and his growing independence is very important, not just for your son but also to help your 'mommy heart'. It does pain a little bit (ok sometimes a lot) to watch them grow but that is the hardest part of being a parent, letting go, just start letting go of his hand one finger at a time, because we (parents) and them (children) will never let go with our hearts.Stay connected but let him grow as an individual, he has great supportive roots, he will be just fine, remember when he started to walk, now he wants to fly.

Hi,
I'm a mom of a 13 year old son and an 11 year old daughter. We too have always had an open line of communication with our son, but have noticed that he would rather be with his friends and at times will get embarrassed with his parents. But, the good news is... give him his space. If he knows he is loved, there is a strong foundation at home, he'll talk to you or your husband. It may be that he may have more delicate issues to talk about and he may feel more comfortable talking to a male. I have noticed that he talks more to his dad about feelings, girls, confrontations with boys etc.. He is also on a wonderful swim team where there are great male role models other than family. He has also bonded with them, and they in return (his coaches) will tell us what's in his head at the moment.

Perhaps having a "spy" in the mix, filling you in on what your son is into might work. What ever you do, don't give up. And what I hear from my friends the teen-age years have just begun. Get ready!...

Plus, I too have lost my mother several years ago, I feel your pain and loss. Stay strong, and give yourself time to grieve. You owe yourself this.

KC,
I have to admit that I too am going through the same thing with my now 14 year old son. Interestingly enough, we have always called each other best friends. He began to pull back on our talks about a year ago. I told him then as I often do now, that best friends don't treat one another this way. Believe it or not, that will often get him to open up to me. Most of the time he just says I would rather not talk about it. He has been seeing a therapist for about 2 years now and at first he would talk to her. Which was fine with me as long as he was talking. He once made the statement that that was the only person he trusted. Needless to say, that broke my heart. Anyway, now he won't even talk to her. I keep trying, but I think it is all part of that awkward stage they are at right now. Just continue to let him know that you are there for him. I don't know about you, but I chose not to push too much. I don't want to push him farther away by continually harping on it, but he knows I am always there for him. Good Luck.

Unfortunately I think this is a teenage phase. If you feel there is a problem definately hook him up with a counselor. Many times teens will open up to a non family member. Also, keep talking - you think they're not listening but they are. Good luck!

If there are no other changes in your son's life -- if he still has his friends and is doing well in school and his sports and hobbies -- he is probably just hitting puberty and this is a natural phase he must go through.

Remember that you are your boy's first love, and he has to transition away from you in order to become a man and love another woman. This is part of that breaking away.

It does hurt your feelings a little, but think of what a social geek he would be if he were still a mommy's boy in his teens.

Once they have fully made the transition (over 18 sometime) they can come back and be closer to you again.

My 19 year-old finally started saying "I love you" again. He hasn't said it in years. But I always knew he did, so it was ok.

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