Yep, nope, whatever. How to get through the ‘grunt’ stage

Father and son sitting on a bridge in a forest, close up

As boys move into their teenage years, many parents are left perplexed at how to talk to their offspring. How did their chatty 10-year-old become this monosyllabic teenager who communicates with grunts and eye rolls? And how can a mere parent keep up with what’s going on in their lives?

The key to communicating with teenage boys is establishing patterns early. “Ask about their days,” says childhood behaviour consultant Nathalie Brown from Easy Peasy Kids. “Be passionate about what they’re passionate about, not what you’re passionate about. Be interested in what they’re interested in – not what you wish they were interested in.”

“Be interested in what they’re interested in – not what you wish they were interested in.”

Nathalie Brown, Childhood behaviour consultant

6 more tips to help chat with your grunter

  1. Take a softly, softly approach. Don’t go in hard with the ‘big questions’. Take a relaxed approach. If you’re stuck, start the conversation with a newspaper headline or something you’ve seen on TV.
  2. Listen If they say ‘I hate school’, don’t just say ‘Don’t be silly. Instead try, ‘I’m sorry you’re not enjoying it. Do you want to talk about it? Is there anything I can do?’
  3. Don’t rush it when he wants to talk. And when your son does open up, allow at least 15 minutes of your time. Be late if you have to be. If you don’t listen now, he may not try again.
  4. Know their friends – mention them by name. It shows interest and that you’re listening to what they’re saying.
  5. Make time for one-on-one. Make time to spend time together every 4 to 6 weeks – one parent, one child.
  6. Eat together as often as possible. No TV. Put some music on and talk.

 On a light note….

Back in 2008 Australian country singer Peter Denahy released this song about his monosyllabic son. Let’s face it, nothing’s changed in 8 years except our kids’ phones are smarter.

Bibliography:
How to communicate with your teenager, Allison Tait, Kidspot, Jan 15, 2013

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