Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Doctor Love: Mother


Readers, email your question to [email protected]. Your letters are edited solely for grammar, spelling, and length.

Dear Doctor Love,
My only son turned fourteen last September, and since then it’s like I live with somebody from another planet. He’s like an alien who stares into the fridge for hours a day and uses grunts and eye rolls to communicate.
I expected long talks with him about growing up and watching his mind develop. Instead, my sweet boy that I always had such a very open and loving relationship with has become a sulky shadow lurking around the house, He’s always just out of the reach of my curiosity and pushes aside the wisdom it has taken me a lifetime to accumulate. I imagined us bonding as he seeks my advice on how to win his first crush. Instead, I get a deaf, mute, blind kid whose mouth only opens to eat or argue and whose interests lie in sleeping and beard growth. He doesn’t even shave. Where did I go wrong?
How can I get him to talk to me?

Dear Mother,
Welcome to the teen age boy. He’s a new member of your family, a stranger you will need time to come to know. He’s not doing anything wrong; he’s just moved into a place that you can’t follow. At least not if he senses it.
He’ll not easily open up, he is trying to become his own man, and that means working it out for himself. But if he does mention a problem he is having, are you willing to hold your tongue and not launch into a lecture about how it was done when you were young?
Can you listen without trying to pull every last detail from him? Sometimes he just needs someone to listen, and if he feels a speech coming on, he will insert his ear buds, pull his cap over his face and disappear into the nearest chair, not to be seen again until the growling of his stomach brings him out of his state of semi-hibernation.
Learn to be a sounding board. Be a good listener when he does want to talk, and he’ll begin to talk more often. If he wants advice, he’ll probably ask.
Remember, it’s okay if he does things differently than you think he should. He’s finding what works for him and the best way for him to figure that out is to try some things and adjust his actions accordingly. Unless you see seriously troubling behavior like drugs or bullying or deep depression just be there when he does want your advice. As long as he knows he has you to turn to, he’ll do fine.

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