Musical Chairs of Parenting Teenage Boys
My triplet boys have become teenagers and I find that I am the one doing all the talking. We have played musical chairs. Lately, I hear myself asking the questions of them all day long. “What are you doing?” “How was school?” “Do you have this or that? Do you even hear me? Helllloooo?!”
Yep. We have changed seats. The music of them chatting at me non stop has come to a halt. I can not help but notice that I converse with myself more often than not these days. While driving in the car I ask them questions and answer myself, “Do you like this song? I do!”, “Don’t you love the cooler temps? I do.” Sometimes they respond to me with that all to familiar “a-haaaaa” and “yes, mom!”
I remember the expert advice given while raising my other kids about teenage conversation (or lack thereof) and the importance for parents to stay engaged. Just keep talking they say. Let them know you are there. Keep talking because they are listening in the same way we, as parents, can cook while taking a phone call and still hear them say they are giving their brother a haircut as they run through the room with scissors. Stuff will get in so just speak! Most importantly, do not take their lack of communication and expressions of disgust upon seeing you talking, personally. Keep trying.
This morning my son was going into school late due to a doctor’s appointment. As we got into the car and drove down the street in silence I took the opportunity to talk to him. I know from past experience asking teens any serious questions this early in the day would not be met with enthusiastic engagement. I went for a question with very low expectation of him answering, “So Daniel, tell me all your hopes and dreams for your future!” He looked over at me and could not help but laugh as he said “Mom, you’re so weird!”. I’ll take it! I will take the positive from what little response I was given by my sweet teenage angst son. I have been assured he still recognizes me as his mother and his laughter tells me he hasn’t completely tuned me out. Even being called weird assures me that he is comfortable with me enough to not candy coat his true feelings when having such ‘deep’ parent to son conversations.