THE BLOG
11/15/2016 10:50 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

10 Tips On Learning From Your Teenage Son What He Wants From You As His Father

As fathers we try so hard to relate to our teenage sons only to find we don't feel heard or appreciated. Some of us discuss these difficulties with other fathers and sympathize with each other but how do we really know what our sons want and need? Let's turn the tables around a bit. We often tell our sons what we expect from them, but what do they expect from us?

10 Tips on Learning Our Sons Needs and Expectations from Their Fathers

1. Teenage boys are often quite articulate but they need to feel they want to be heard. Let them know fathers are different, but you want to be the kind of father they wish for.

2. Ask them to be honest and you will be nonjudgmental about their ideas.

3. Ask them to tell you their vision of an ideal father. Listen carefully and don't disagree, just ask for more detail.

4. Ask your son for a time when he felt you were a good father. Once again, try to coax him to give you detail telling him the more you know the more you can repeat what works for him.

5. Ask your son when a father is too intrusive. If he can give examples, promise you won't have hurt feelings. Instead you want to learn.

6. Ask your son when you don't show enough interest in what he does. You want to know what is important to him for you to be mindful of.

7. Ask your son when you don't ask enough or listen long enough to his thoughts and feelings. You want to be able to connect in a way that helps him feel comfortable with you.

8. Tell your son that you want to learn how to disagree with each other without it turning into a high pitched argument. What does he suggest?

9. Continuing that idea, what in fact does he disagree with you about? It may be practical household activities like chores and bedtimes or even politics and social issues.

10. Ask your son how involved he wants you to be with his friends. Does he want you to ask about them? Does he want you to visit with them when they come over? What feels most comfortable to him?

I think you will discover that with these ten tips other conversations develop that help you know your son better. Once you feel he really believes you are on his side, then slowly share your own ideas and ask his opinions about them. Don't be quick to disagree and definitely don't judge, just ask for more detail and hope he'll expand on his feelings about how the two of you get along.

The bottom line is building a father-teenage son relationship where your son confides in you and trusts you will respond carefully and kindly. You can keep your authority as a father and be a collaborator with your son at the same time. It will feel great and very loving.

2016-10-16-1476644966-2801731-Quote1.jpgLaurie Hollman, is a psychoanalyst and author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child's Behavior found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Familius and wherever books are sold. Visit Laurie at http://lauriehollmanphd.com

10. Ask your son how involved he wants you to be with his friends. Does he want you to ask about them? Does he want you to visit with them when they come over? What feels most comfortable to him?
I think you will discover that with these ten tips other conversations develop that help you know your son better. Once you feel he really believes you are on his side, then slowly share your own ideas and ask his opinions about them. Don't be quick to disagree and definitely don't judge, just ask for more detail and hope he'll expand on his feelings about how the two of you get along.
The bottom line is building a father-teenage son relationship where your son confides in you and trusts you will respond carefully and kindly. You can keep your authority as a father and be a collaborator with your son at the same time. It will feel great and very loving.
Laurie Hollman, is a psychoanalyst and author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child's Behavior found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Familius and wherever books are sold. Visit Laurie at http://lauriehollmanphd.com