Questioner: Christine Pourakbari
Subject: Teen likes his own company
Question: I am a single mom of a 17 yr old son. We have our normal ups and downs and I have done my best to be "involved" in his life (where he is, who he's with, etc.). I should have been more consistent with rules and chores, but I feel I did my best. The problem I have now is, he spends all of his home time alone, watching TV, playing guitar, computer etc.) Every conversation we have ends up in an argument. I really feel he hates everything about me, including the air I breath. I do try to talk to him about his interests,
but all I get is a grunt.
I've read this is how most teenagers behave, and I can accept that, but I do feel he is being very rude, as he does not even give me 5 minutes of his time. He recently got a job and does have friends. I feel I know where he is when he's not home. I also feel he's not involved with any drugs or alcohol as he is involved with the church and in the past has stated how wrong he thinks that is. Will this behavior pass or do I continue to get on his nerves by trying to talk to him?
Answer: Dear Christine,
Welcome to the turbulent teens. You mention your son is active with church, has his own friends and doesn't to your knowledge mess with any substances.
As long as he is still doing well in school all the other behavior does pretty much go along with the seperation of the teen years.
You stated you were a single mom and therefor I can only assume you son has not had someone who can teach him how to be a "man." What this means to me is how he should be treating you.
No you don't have to tolerate disrespect however don't expect he is going to open up and share his soul with you right now. His brain is wired to seperate from you. He is seperating from you emotionally by shutting you out. He needs a wall there. The best way to get past the wall is to wait for him to come around.
Continue to take an interest in him just don't show annoyance with the one word answers. Let him know you understand he is grown up and will have a life of his own and already does however you would like to think you would still be a part of his new life.
Let him know what is really going on under your anger or annoyance at his behavior. What is really going on is a pain a fear of losing him as he seperates from you. So tell him so. He needs to know you want to be a part of his life even though you will no longer be the center or his world.
Interesting enough your opinion of him still matters and will continue to matter for a long time. So be reassured just because you are no longer the physical center of his universe you are still incredibly important to him and as he grow more you will come to understand this.
The good news is you have done a wonderful job of raising him if all he is doing is ignoring you! :) LOL The better news is he will re-enter the human race again around age 22 or so.
Congratulatins on a job well done. Enjoy the fruits!
M Kay Keller