GUEST BLOG POST: Communication with Sons - by Renee Martinez, founder, www.raisingboysworld.com
As women, caring for a girl is familiar. We share the same bodies and for the most part, we know the twists and turns that life will present her. We may have lived through the mother/daughter dynamic and know what to expect at various stages. We lived through it.
Mothers of sons are a special batch. We have an opportunity to shape the men of our future. We’ll never know what it’s like to go through puberty as a boy or to be one of the guys. We’ll likely not understand the unique pressures boys in our society face firsthand, but being different doesn’t mean being distant.
Oftentimes, I’ve heard moms say that they can’t relate to boys, that playing with trucks doesn’t appeal to them and that they find it difficult to connect. How well sons communicate when they are young often impacts their success to handle interpersonal relationships as they grow into men. With that said, the most wonderful gift you can give your son is to keep the lines of communication open so he feels comfortable sharing with you. Working to build a relationship of trust will have tremendous benefits at various stages throughout his life.
The key to any successful relationship is communication. On the drive to school, take the opportunity to ask him questions about what’s going on, what he’s concerned about etc… Tell him about your plans for the day. When he starts chatting about the baseball game in detail that you could care less about, don’t push him away; listen and ask questions. He’ll come back and talk with you when it’s something important because he’ll be comfortable and know you care about what he has to say. When approached, stop what you’re doing and look at your son, listen as you would to a friend or colleague. Give him the respect that you expect him to give you. Listen, listen, listen and try to avoid being confrontational. Don’t finger point or criticize by pointing out problems, instead try to work together to come to a realization of the problem and an appropriate solution…as if you’re playing on the same team.
Getting your son to open up as he grows older can be a huge challenge if you never took the opportunity to make him feel like you could relate when he was young. Why would he suddenly want to open up with you if he felt ignored when he tried to before? Keep in mind that while forging a friendship is nice, he is your son, and your role as a parent is to guide him, not to be his buddy.
So the next time you hear someone say they feel like boys are from another planet, tell them it would be wise to take the time and connect with him and live in the same world with him before he finds living in another universe preferable.