When I saw this month’s topic of staying connected to your teenage son, I laughed. I’ve got the answer for you, you’re just not going to like it! Here’s my advice: Stay up late and listen.
At my house it looks like this…I’m exhausted and really want to be in bed, but the trouble is that I’m so tired I don’t want to walk upstairs, so I sit there piddling around on social media. Finally, with my eyes about to start bleeding, I reach to close my computer and stumble up to my room and fall into bed.
Not so fast there, Melanie,
“Mom? Have you got a minute?”
My insides let out a gut-wrenching NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! while I calmly reply,
“Sure, honey. What’s on your mind?” I glance around frantically noticing that my dear husband has slipped upstairs and our son and I are alone. My heart sinks. (Hey, I’m only human and I was utterly exhausted.)
“I just wanted to talk. I’ve got some stuff on my mind…” he confesses and an hour later I’m even more tired, but I’m so glad I stayed up.
Those times when everyone else is in bed are rich. They’re parenting on steroids. Always stay up when they ask. Always. No matter how much it stinks. Just get some coffee or something, okay?
The other part is listening, which is harder than it sounds.
Sometimes teens talk on and on about things we don’t care about at all.Listen anyway. Sound interested. After all, you are interested in your son, aren’t you?
Sometimes they are worried about things that are silly. Or determined to talk about something urgently that’s not urgent at all.
Sometimes they just want to chat at really inconvenient times. Seriously, their melatonin production is a couple of hours off and they get sleepy later and wake up later. Pry your eyelids open and listen. Before you know it, they’ll be off at college. Listen while you can.
I am laughing, but every word is true. Teens want to talk late at night, alone, at inconvenient times. You may not feel like you want to listen, but teens are quiet when you feel like talking and open up when you feel like sleeping. It’s worth it, though, because when mom is there to listen when they need her, when she listens to what they care about, they keep coming back. They keep asking for advice. You can’t beat that.
Our adult sons have become some of our best friends. We enjoy them so much – and they enjoy us. It took a lot of late nights to get here, though, so grab a cup of coffee and say, “What’s on your mind, son?” and listen. You’ll be glad you did.
Pray with me. Father, please help us to remember to be gracious when our guys want to talk late at night. Help us to remember what’s really important and not all we have to do tomorrow. Help us listen and give us wisdom to give our boys. In Christ’s name.
We have three great webinar series for parents that will help you navigate all these things: Preflight, for teens and their parents, will help you get them ready to launch into the world. Boot Camp 9-12, for parents of boys nine to twelve or so, will help you get past the emotional swings and addleheadedness to get them geared up for the teen years. Boyhood Boot Camp is for parents of younger boys who want to learn all they can about raising godly sons. We’d love for you to join us at one of them!
Yours in the battle,
Great post! This is so true. My boys are just going into their teen years and I’m already seeing how vital these late night talks can be. You’re so right! Fight your tiredness and listen, listen, listen. A few nights with less sleep are a small price to pay for a closer relationship with your sons. 🙂
Ah – my husband is so good at this, with all of our children. Thank you for the reminder that it is worth it to sacrifice!
Oh my goodness – I JUST had this conversation with my husband yesterday morning. He asked if I had gone to bed late and I replied, “Parker was up and making a snack so I stayed up and ‘hung’ out with him.”
YES YES YES…moms need to take advantage of the opportunities to have time with our boys when they are feeling “open” to talk. With busy teenage boys it is a challenge. There is so much I want to share with our son but a lot of times he’s breezing in and out…school…sports…work. I don’t want him to roll his eyes when he sees me thinking “uh oh here she comes.” Let’s be honest in the hour between school and sports I am dying to check in…”How much homework today?….We need to make an orthodontist appointment you know…Did you do your chores yesterday?” I have to catch myself and tell myself to slow down or he will dread walking through the door. So I pace myself and turn some of those moments into “Hope you are having a great day – can I make you a snack before practice?”
So I do have to take advantage of some late nights when he’s finally sitting still to have the chance to share with him and just as importantly him share with me. And those times are priceless.
That’s why God made coffee. 🙂
my 16 yr old will want to talk about his day and cars late at nite its so funny just last year you couldnt get him to say 3 words in a row now just about every nite 30 mins before bedtime he will look at me with this sheepish smile and say mother would you come here at first i thought on no( but with a house full of teenage boys i have learned that sometimes they just want mom and a quiet room )but it has been great he talks his face kinda glows and smiles and im going to enjoy each and every “mother would you come here”
SOOOOOO true!!! Thanks for the reminder. With two in college, I can’t stress this enough. I have spent many hours listening to video game recaps, and although somewhat painful at the time, I wouldn’t trade it for ANYTHING! Wish I could hear some more, honestly. Be blessed!