You may be convinced that your teenaged son needs you less as he grows older. While this is true to a certain extent, he also needs you more, just in a different way than he did when he was five years old. Your work as a parent is not done, and your role is still very important.
Leave your son love notes. They don't have to be mushy, but put a sticky note on his mirror or in his lunch that says, “Good luck on your test!” Maybe he is having a rough week. Stick a note in his backpack that says, “I'm thinking of you today.”
As tempting as it can be to withdraw from your son's life as he grows older and seemingly less interested in anything you have to say, he still needs you. While some of his teen years are spent learning how to be self-sufficient and laying the foundation for life on his own, he's not ready just yet. He needs to have firm boundaries and to know you are always there for him.
Try to remember the idea of “teachable moments,” often discussed in the context of parenting small children. When children ask a question, it is a particularly brilliant opportunity to teach them something about what they are asking. Your teen son will occasionally still ask such questions. When he does, be ready to teach him at this golden opportunity. He may also ask questions indirectly, so sometimes you need to step up and offer your help, even without being asked.
Be sure to ask your son questions. This is an easy way to show you are paying attention to him and care what he has to say. “How was your test today?” “What would you like for dinner tomorrow?” Be sure to pay attention to the answers!
As your son pulls away, separating himself from you, you may feel left out. It is your responsibility to pull him in and be a part of his life. This does not need to painful. There are many ways to stay in touch with your son and to be a part of his life.
Find out what interests him and jump in. If he is a part of a sports or academic team, you have an easy way to be with him. Simply begin attending his events. He may say he doesn't want you there, but secretly he's pleased you care. It also gives you a chance to see the people he spends a good part of his time with every day.
If the two of you have a mutual interest, take advantage of it! Does he like golf? Take him to the driving range. Maybe he likes music. Go with him to a concert; even though this may not seem like a lot of fun, you might be surprised. Even if you don't have fun listening to the music, being with your son is a reward in itself. Other ways to spend time with your son include:
Causes he holds near and dear
Clubs and groups
Sharing interests can help you forge a bond with your son as an adult. Your role as parent is defined, but he needs to know that you are capable of viewing him as more than a very tall kindergartner.