Why won't my Teen talk to me?

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My eldest son, BP, is 13 years old and refuses to talk to me most of the time. He is quiet, which is fine, but even with simple things like asking for sweets he is reluctant to do. I have no idea why and sometimes it makes me feel like I'm failing at being his mum. Surely I'm a person he should feel most comfortable talking to?

Of course when I think about it I remember hating my parents when I was a teen, I thought they couldn't have any idea what life was like for me. How could they? They were adults who had everything together and I was suffering at the hands of everyone and feeling like the world was against me. 




So what to do?


I read an article on The Guardian website that I found quite interesting, it was written in 2014 but it makes a lot of sense. In the article Tim Lott says "The reason your teenager won't talk to you is because you're boring and they're not going to waste their time." - now I know that sounds daft but to be honest it's kind of true. As parents we have been through the teen stage and come out the other side, we know that things change but saying that to our teens doesn't help them. It makes us sound like know-it-alls and pushes our teens further away.







Take a step back


Unfortunately now is the time that your child (and mine) is trying to become their own person, they want separation from you and when you ask them to talk to you you're actually pushing them away. Teens turn to their peers for advice, they do everything in their power to not be influenced by you. It is the hardest time for us as their parents though because all we want to do is help, to talk, to impart wisdom. 





  • All teenagers have this desire to somehow run away. 

Joan Chen





Most of the articles I've read on this topic say you should do your best to take a step back. Let your child be themselves, let them confide in friends rather than you, and let them make mistakes. Be open with them, show them you are there if they need you but don't push them to share. 

As a parent who is going through this right now I can say it is so hard to do. My instinct is to protect my son, he is only 13 and I want to know who his friends are, where they go, and what they are doing. I want to be there all the time and know where he is, I want to be his confidant, I want to be the person he turns to for advice. But...

I know he needs to grow up. I know he needs to learn what life is like without me there to turn to every second. I know he needs to explore who he is. 

These two sides are not compatible, I know this, but it doesn't make it any easier. Being a parent to a teen is worrying, frustrating, maddening even, especially when they do everything you tell them not to! But taking a step back and trying my best to not interfere is the best thing I can do for him at the moment. 




Will he ever talk to me?


One of my worries is that by taking a step back I will show BP that I don't care about his life. Maybe he will think that because I'm not constantly asking about his life and trying to get information out of him that I don't want to know that stuff. 

Again articles say that's not true. And when I think about it logically I know it's not true because I talk to my parents now. I tell them things. I share. 

The teenage years are the time your child branches out and explores who he/she is. It is a chance for them to learn to be a person without you by their side every second and just because they don't talk to you now doesn't mean they won't want to when they come out the other side of this stage. In fact if you wait patiently and show them you're there if they need you they are more likely to turn to you for advice later. 

So yes, he will talk to me... eventually. Or at least I hope he will.







Parenting a teen is fun!


Okay so fun might not be the right word, perhaps "testing" is better? While I worry about BP's decisions and the fact that he doesn't talk to me I know he is making the right decisions. He's doing well in school, he has friends, and he is sociable (at least some of the time). He can surprise me sometimes with how old he can act, and sometimes he infuriates me with how childish he can act. But I guess that's just part of being a teen, he's testing, he's learning, he's exploring. 





  • It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. 

E. E. Cummings





I have quite a few years of parenting teens ahead of me, with BP being 13 and LP being 8 by the time BP is almost out of his teens LP will be just entering them. That'll be 10 years of parenting a teen so I ought to get some experience! 

Parenting a teen is tough at times and you can feel like you're the worst person in the world. So if you need a shoulder to cry on or someone to vent to I am here for you. I will listen to your woes and your worries and nod along as I relate to your stories. Us parents of teens need to stick together - there's power in numbers right!?

Does your teen talk to you?


If you're feeling stressed out after parenting your teen why not schedule in some me-time? Grab my me-time planner and make sure you get some time to yourself to ease the stress!





Enjoyed reading this post? Check out The awesomeness of being a mum to school-aged children or 10 things you'll learn from being a parent.

25 comments:

  1. I am lucky because my children aged 12-17 talk to me a lot but yes they probably talk about other stuff with their friends. I hated my lovely Dad when I was 14 so I count myself very lucky that my tween and teens talk to me so openly and are all up for cuddles and so on. My late Mum told me that the problems only get bigger as children get older and I don't think it will ever end until we die. I don't think there will be an age they become where it is all plain sailing as life will throw its curve-balls. I guess there is a lot of support out there via charities like Young Minds and online parenting forums. We do out best and that is good enough.

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    1. You're right Kate. I didn't talk to my parents either so I guess it's just like that but it is so frustrating when you're the parent! You are very lucky that your children talk to you, I can only hope that by being there for him BP realises he is safe talking to me.

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  2. I think it's true even now that if I almost ignore our 8 year old daughter or ask about something in a slightly cunning way, I get more response! We've always enforced and will continue to enforce that we're always here if she wants us and she can tell us anything. Here's hoping that lasts to the teenage years (and beyond) because it's worked up to now. Interesting thoughts Morgan. Thanks for hosting #pocolo

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    1. Thanks Carol, that sounds good. It's funny because our youngest, LP (who is also 8), is much more talkative!

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  3. Sometimes teens will listen to anyone but their parents. Twenty years ago my brother's son wouldn't do anything for his parents, fought with them and even ran away. When he came to stay with me, he did what I said. He had problems and we got him into counseling. After a while he wanted to be back home - his attitude was different. His parents hadn't changed - he had.

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    1. You're right Carol, it's just an inbuilt thing isn't it? It's like they're rebelling. I just hope he talks to us if he needs to.

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  4. I have the opposite problem in that my teen and 12 year old tell me everything and it can be a little overwhelming. I want to go in and sort out all the issues they tell me about but know that it won't help in the long run and I have to step back and let them deal with things in their own way #pocolo

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    1. Oh gosh! Yes I think I'd be the same, I guess we're never happy are we? If they're not talking to us we want them to and if they are we want to help them but can't. It's called being a parent I guess!

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  5. I feel like I am lucky as my teen talks to me...In fact she talks too much and overshares. I find out about every single drama at school and all her worries which in turn worries me. There is no winning. lol Teens are testing but I wouldn't change mine for all the tea in China. #PoCoLo

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    1. Aw that's lovely Kim. You're right of course, I wouldn't want to change BP I just wish he would share more. But as I said, I never shared with my parents so I kind of understand it.

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  6. this is not something i had a problem with, with my boys as teens, until my youngest reached 16, it's been difficult 2 years, but the doors of communication are wide open now once he realised if he didn't share plans/thoughts/ideas etc he just wouldn't be able to get on with things as he doesn't drive or have an income so couldn't do them when he sprung things on me last minute #pocolo

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    1. At least he learned Suzanne - that's good. I'm hoping that BP learns I'm here if he needs me.

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  7. I love this guide - I think it's just being open as much as you can!

    http://lizziedailyblog.blogspot.co.uk/

    #pocolo

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  8. This is tough, sometimes being relaxed they may be more open. Still got awhile to deal with this. Hugs X #pocolo

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    1. Thanks hun. Yes, just be more relaxed about it... I can only try.

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  9. Who'd be a teen? Actually who'd be a teen's parent?! Both sound tough xx #PoCoLo

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  10. Being a parent certainly isn't easy #PoCoLo

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    1. Oh boy no it isn't! I have to keep reminding myself that BP is going through a lot too at the moment with body changes and emotions - it's a tough time for everyone. xx

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  11. We're just getting to this stage now! So infuriating isn't it. I hope you don't mind I've added this to the #blogcrush linky x

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    1. It is Tracey, it's like the world is against them for no reason and everything is "so unfair". I have, I admit, screamed and yelled because he doesn't listen but then I feel guilty because I know he is going through a lot too. Thanks so much for adding it to #blogcrush, that's so lovely of you. xxx

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  12. This really hits home for me, as the father of a 12-year-old boy and an almost 14-year-old daughter. It's not easy to accept that so much rudeness and intolerance is not always personal — aside from the fact that as you say, they find our opinions naff! It is so frustrating sometimes even trying to help when things are going wrong for them. One of the biggest rows I had in recent times with my son was over his refusal to engage with me about a tantrum he had thrown in a football training session. Logically, you would think the obvious thing is for a child to confide in a parent when things are going wrong: with out boy it can be the opposite. Only recently it took us a long time to unravel a period of terrible behaviour at home to discover he was being picked on in school. He is quite a strong character but this type of bullying was around being got at by a so-called popular guy, and my son not knowing how to respond in a way that didn't involve losing face. Great post BTW

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    1. First of all thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I totally get the behaviour thing, I've noticed that when BP has things going on in school he is often worse behaved at home. The bullying thing rings true here too, we had this issue a while ago with BP and after a loooong talk we got to the bottom of it. It's hard to watch them in pain isn't it? Especially when they think we couldn't possibly understand what it's like for them and saying that we do is worse than trying to help! I hope your boy manages to sort out the issues with the popular guy and you manage to make it through the teen years with your sanity intact. ;) xxx

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