Updated on November 17, 2008
R.S. asks from Indianapolis, IN
12 answers

My boys are constantly making bad choices. Major attitudes. Fighting each other. You name it, they are doing it. We use to be very close and they would come talk to me about themselves, but that is slowly slipping away.

I have tried to encourage them to talk with my husband , but they won't. Afraid of Dad's response I suppose. I talked to them about sex and drugs, they were pretty open about they haven't had sex, but tried weed 2 times.

I am desperate for advice on how to keep the communication going with them. Also, does anyone have any advice on how to get them to talk to my husband. With them being older now and boys, some things as a mom I can't relate. I think this is the time they need their dad more so.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!

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answers from Fort Wayne on

I know it's a lot of work with schedules, but I would try to spend quality one on one time with each of them. Take an afternoon on the weekend and let them pick where you eat lunch and then find something to do they enjoy. It keeps a special closeness there.

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answers from Dayton on

My oldest son is 14. He is going through a lot of the typical things. He is really sweet and all lovable when he goes up the stairs but can come down the stairs like a bear!! Mostly he seems impatient with our questions, like, "hey how are you"? We just keep talking to him, getting on his nerves for the most part. But this is the age that we have to try the hardest to be there for them, to not lose the connection with them. In some ways, even though they will not admit it, it is when they need us the most. Of course, we still give him his space, we don't push him or nag him but we are always there and i am certain he knows that. One thing that helps so much I think in our home is our kids friends are always welcome here. He has his friends over for the night quite often, this way we know who he is hanging out with and can drop in on them for conversations and they never seem to mind. We have good relationships with his friends and their parents also. They know they have to behave here and are good kids. I still do the mom thing with them and bring them popcorn, chips, whatever. Of course, he thinks I am just bringing them snacks but one day he'll know it was soooooo much more. My husband will play a video game with them or just ask how this or that is going. Of course, keep encouraging their relationship with their dad but stay close to them. I think they also need to know there are still rules and expectations. That being a teenager doesn't mean you no longer have to do chores or follow the rules or be respectful. They still need the same structure and security. But for us, so far, it seems that accepting him for who he is and accepting his friends(we have not had to deal with a friend we don't approve of in a very long time) goes a long way for him. I and another mom are always the two parents who take them to the mall or the movies or wherever they may go, we don't leave them there but we don't hover either. At 16 I am sure he will have a bit more freedom but this is where we are right now. We do not mind taking them here or there. We get to be the fun cool parents but not lose the responsible, adult, role model thing either. Offer to hang out with them, rent a movie together, go to a movie together. Find out what their favorite band is and learn something about that band, let them play the cd in the car even if you have to grin and bare it and ask them questions about it. Sure you may not like the music but that is beside the point. As long as it is not totally unacceptable let them be. How many of us listened to music our parents hated? If they love basketball play a game with them or take them to a game, if they are skaters show an interest in it. Try out skateboarding with them or at least knwo how to talk to them about it. Anything you can do to relate to them will help so much! I remember thinking as a teenager that my parents just didn't understand me or what I liked but they also didn't try to either! As I am learning myself teenagers are a whole other breed and I wish you luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Muncie on

Don't push too hard, it's going to be tough to know just how much will be too much, but keep trying to talk with them. Try to find out why they won't talk to their dad. Other than that keep trying, teenage years are hard and confusing. I remember mine and now am very thankful for my parents. Encourage them to be safe and think through their choices before they make them.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

R.- have you told their father HE needs to talk to his boys? If they do not feel they can approach him, he will need to make the first move... and it needs to be somewehre safe... look kids at this age do not want to sit in a pizza joint in abooth talking to mom or dad about theses things. It needs to be like playing catch with a football outside where they can break eye contact run for a few seconds think about their responses and then respond whiel throiwng hte ball.... or while helping to change the oil on the car.... or raking leaves you know something physical that brings them together but not staring at one another.... your hubby needs to step up adn talk to them... I am glad you ahve this type of relationship with them yoare doing a good job. Keep on talking Mom. Keep on explainging your expectations and why you believe that drugs use is not okay... take them to the food pantry and ahve them work a shift and see some of the people who are addicted to substances and most of them started with a few hits of a joint....( Idid not say eveyone)..planthings as a family that are NO WAY NO HOW an OPTION... the more time they spend with you and hubby even if it is dollar movie night and ice cream or game night at home... the more time you have to get things out causually and the better yours adn their relationship will be.. Also... with the fighting between them... here is my advice.... some is normal but, I would not allow it to be violent or too often... Again lots of family time with MOM AND DAD and other sibs doing something other then watching tv together actually interacting and... I would remind htem daily how lucky they are to have one another and if it gets abusive or too mean send them to their rooms... again the expectiation of this family is....Love, repect etc. If you are the common enemy.... that is a good thing. The boys will have stories to tell at thanksgiving in a few years that will bond them together! :-)

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answers from Fort Wayne on

Get the book Yes, Your teen is crazy. I can't remember the authors name right now but that book was the most useful parenting book I have ever read. He also has one out called Yes, Your Parent is crazy for the kids to read. If followed a suggestion in the book with my youngest daughter even though it sounded crazy--I was so surprised when it worked. I got this book for my oldest daughter as my grand daughters are going to be 11 and 13 soon.

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answers from Bloomington on

bedtime chats. go in and sit down on their bed at night, talk about whatever they want to talk about. listen, be interested. don't lecture, just be there. then if they feel like opening up they'll have a time and place where they know you'll be listening. maybe you and your husbands can alternate each night, so they each get a chance to talk with you at least once or twice a week. trust me, it will make a huge difference!



answers from Canton on

I have a 15 yr old daughter and Ive talked to her about pretty much everything. I havent went onto FULL details on EVERYTHING with sex, just the basics (like different positions and the whole what guys can do to girls thing) Unfortunetly school does tell them alot more than we want them to know, and tehre are more expierienced girls & guys who say things we dont yet wnat our kids to know. Its insane! But it happens and we cant stop it. We can however talk to them about the right ways to deal with the situation and just always always remind them that you are here to talk to them about anything & everything.
I want my kids to come to me and talk to me too. So always be open and upfront with them, dont lie and dont make it weird. If your all uncomfortable talkin to them they will sense that too! So you have to keep it cool..lol whish isnt always easy but..
just dont stop lettin them know your there to talk too..even if you write them a lil email or note/letter! They will read it and know!



answers from Toledo on

Hi R.,

I can understand where your coming from. My 2 oldest son's, (now 24 and 21) always talked to me not their father. They say son's are closer to their Mom's more then their Dad's. The best why to keep the communication open is always have a open door no matter what time of day it is. My son use to always want to talk at 1 am. Don't judge them, offer advest and even your experience. When my son's did get into trouble I'd be very upset, my Mom told me all you can do is raise them with murals, teach right from wrong and give them love. What they do with it is up to them. My oldest son has a 11 month daughter, he called me a few months ago and told me thank you for raising him right and that he was sorry he had to learn some things the hard way. It made me cry and realize I did a good job. All you can do is your best, a few prays don't hurt either. Good luck.




answers from Dayton on

When our oldest son entered junior high, there was a parent orientation meeting. The first thing the counselors said was, "The aliens are about to take your children. They will keep them for a few years, but sometime around 18 or 19, they will start coming back to you."

Parenting teens is hard. You have to remain flexible (they never plan ahead!) make reasonable rules, and be willing to punish them (grounding, lost privileges) no matter how much they squawk. You also have to be ready to drop everything and listen when they are ready to talk, and it may come at the oddest times.

Someone told you to do things together; good advice! Boys are usually more willing to open up when their bodies are engaged in something mindless. Do chores together, play catch, play board games, go for walks. If you can, get out of town with them for an outing, long weekend or vacation. Without the distraction of friends and school, you are their only available companionship. Give them the opportunity to talk, and just keep your ears open.

First it will get worse--18 year olds think they know everything, and since they are legal adults they should be allowed to do whatever they want. They forget about the fact that they are still under your roof, and you are still paying for their food and car insurance! But hang in there; it will get better. Our oldest son is 20 now, and by golly, he's back!
The aliens didn't hurt him at all.



answers from Cleveland on

Due to my husbands hectic work schedule, and before, when my teener son was a little guy his dad was always deployed, fighting something bad in some country or another, ( he was an M.P. and PSD agent ) and he never really had a chance to get to know dad..
Now that hubby's home for a while I have been making the two of them go out together fishing, camping, hunting, etc,, and ALWAYS with a " be patient.. be understanding.. have an open mind" speech. My husband is a soldier through and through. The kids say "sir", and "ma'am" must keep a tidy room, do what's expected of them, and exceed in school work... HOWEVER.. there is a time and place for this. When the guys are out " being guys " it's time to leave the rigid rules back and just relax. After a few weekends away, or a few times to a Cleveland Browns, or Indians game, some sightseeing haunted places, etc... they've really bonded and my son says he feels like the big dog is actually his FATHER instead of his drill SGT.
I know this isn't the same scenario as your family,, but after the boys had time to storm, norm, transform and finally perform, with each other, it made for a LOT less stressful son, ( being hoeschooled and at home with mom and three sisters,) and a better Father - son bond with the boys.. Hope this helps,
Good luck,



answers from Indianapolis on

YOU HAVE to talk about the consequences of behavior......good and bad and hope and pray that they make the right choices. Have to talked about what they want in life, what kind of reputations do they want, what careers do they want, do they understand that if they are caught w/ illegal substances that it could prevent them or hinder them from having the career they want to pursue? How do they want females to see them? What behaviors are appropriate & inappropriate? what are the boundaries they need to set for themselves? Sounds like past time to talk about the responsibilities of growing up.

If you have to take them one on one or together out to eat, to a movie or whatever.....you HAVE to have these kinds of conversations in order to have some influence on their values and behaviors.



answers from Columbus on

You are in a tough spot. I have 4 step kids and two of the boys went through their teenage years practically together. It was tough. What I have learned though, is that teenager still value their time with their parents a lot. Just knowing that you are there, gives them peace of mind. I also learned that when I organized outings (like to Hocking Hills, etc) that even though they would voice their dislike in the beginning, they really enjoyed it later. So, they still liked spending time. I also learned that it is far better to give them tools to work things out, to teach them how to fight fair and how to voice their concerns than to let them figure it out on their own. Your sons may keep you at a distance b/c they are trying to figure out who they are but they still need your input and they still need to learn from you b/c you don't want them to learn about life "in the streets". You want to teach them that. There are some good books out there. One is called: Raising Teenage Boys. I enjoyed that one tremendously. As far as their dad not communicating with them, that's a tough one. You basically have to teach your husband how to nurture a relationship with his teenage boys. More than likely your hubby probably has no clue how to do it and neither do the boys. Another thing I learned is that boys need equal time with mom and dad. They don't need their dad more than their mom. It just seems like that (in my eyes at least) b/c they can relate better to dad but they still need the love, support and nurture that they get from mom. Also, you can read books about teenage boys and gain understanding for them even if you are unable to relate... you were young once, you know what it's like trying to establish your own identity, apart from your parents. That's what they are going through too. Oh, and another thing I learned is that it is good for teenage boys to be involved in some type of sport. They need to be out there and exercise... I hope that some of this helps. My thoughts are with you as this is not an easy task to raise boys into upstanding men, but you can do it. Hang in there.

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