Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Having trouble communicating with my 12 year old son

Knowledgeability Clarity of Response Politeness  10                       10                           10

Questioner: Guy

Subject: 11 year old son

Question: I have 2 boys with the younger one being 11 turning 12 early next year. I am having difficulty communicating with him for the last few months.

His dad and I are trying our best to communicate but he is quite difficult to get which strategy works. My 14 year old is a fine young teenager who is responsible and respectful to others. My little one on the other hand is a difficult to communicate.

He really good on doing his works at school and home if he only focus. He loves to play especially being outside and playing video. I set rules in the house that playing is not allow during weekdays and allowing him to play with his friends.

He started to talking back and making faces now whenever he is in trouble at school and home. He sometimes talk back and sometimes lies (I think because he scared of getting punish). Usually when we ground him for playing video for at least 2-6 months. Is this correct strategy for him?

I don't want him to stay on TV for a long time and just not doing anything. Sometimes I just want to throw all their video games so we don't have anything to argue in the house. He tells me sometimes that he does not want to be his older brother because he has so much things to do (my older one is very active at school activities).

Both of them are in Honor classes--- thought they are just competing but it seems like my younger son is not liking to become a responsible adult. Can you help me strategizing being a parent?

Thank you.

Answer: Dear Guy:

You have two boys and both are in honor's classes. I hope you realize how successful you are as parents.

Talking back and being argumentative is just part of the process of him becoming a teenager. As for the differences between the two it sounds like your younger child is having a hard time being who he is without living in his older brother's shadow.

I strongly recommend working with the younger child to appreciate his differences. If his differences are getting him into trouble he will grow to resent himself, his brother and eventually you.

Examine your expectations. Do you expect him to be as well behaved as his older brother? Do you expect him to achieve as well as his older brother?

Oldest children often behave differently because they have had more stimulation with adults than later siblings. Which makes your younger son very normal.

As for the restrictions. Two months seems out of proportion for discipline. I caution you to put things in a more positive light. Ask him to earn the privilege of using the electronics and other freedoms. Remember two days for most teens is a long time. Time is different for children and teens than it is for adults. Two weeks for serious actions but two months is not going to be effective for you or him. It will seem punitive and unfair.

Also, try spending one on one time with each of your sons separately doing things they love to do. Sometimes just extra one on one time can set things right even with teenagers.

Best Wishes!

M Kay Keller

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