Parenting a Teen

Hi Brooke,

I have found many of your coaching live calls helpful with regard to parenting, but I am still struggling. I understand that my teenage son can be whoever he wants to be and that I can love him no matter what. But I’m not sure where/when it’s okay to impose “boundaries” and when it becomes a “manual”. So, for example, he hardly talks to my husband and me expect for one word answers (Yes, Ok, No, Fine, etc.) though he is quite chatty with his girlfriend and friends. I know this is normal; but I feel uncomfortable and sad about it at times because my thought is “We should talk more/we don’t have a good relationship.”

I notice too, separately but possibly related, that he is always on his phone. I know that as his parent, I can impose a limit on the phone use., e.g., no phones after 10:00pm, no phones at dinner, no phones in the car, etc. But can I also impose a “rule” that he has to attempt to make conversation with us once/day, during dinner, etc.? Or is that a manual?

I don’t want to force him to talk, so I guess I’m answering my own question here, but we have a long car ride together next week (just me and him) and I am already anticipating silence the entire care ride.

C: Silence
T: We should be talking
F: Uncomfortable/Frustrated
A: Constantly ask questions
R: We are talking but it is forced

C: Silence
T: Silence is fine – he will talk if he wants to
F: Acceptance
A: Listen to podcasts on my headphones
R: Silence

I guess with the second model I have a subsequent thought that we will be distance and not have a good relationship. I see now that with the first model, we also do not have a good relationship.