Finding a Time and Place to Talk
One of the hardest things to do is to find just the right time and place to talk with your son. Don't assume you can have any conversation anywhere at any time. The right time and place can actually make or break your conversation.
There are days when you may feel like you have not seen your son at all; indeed, you may not have. If you have busy or opposite schedules, it's entirely possible to go a day without seeing him even if you live in the same house. While this should be the exception to the rule, it does occasionally happen.
Let your son know what you want to talk to him about. If you don't, you may make him worry needlessly until the appointed time. If you can't really say what it's about, be sure to let him know he is not in trouble.
Scheduling a good time to talk provides you both with ample time to have the conversation. Some conversations are five minutes long; others may last a lot longer. Keep this in mind when picking a time to talk.
You will need to look to your son for his best times to talk. Very few teenaged boys are morning people, so avoid times of day when he is not at his best. One or both of you may actually have to alter your schedule to make a discussion happen. If you wait for the exact perfect time to talk, you may never find it — a good alternative could be to orchestrate a situation that is as close to ideal as possible.
While a good conversation can happen almost anywhere, there are a few places that are not conducive to meaningful talks. Avoid places where your son's friends will be around, unless they need to be a part of the conversation. School functions, sporting events, and other social venues are the wrong place to discuss anything of substance. You may also need to avoid having important discussions in earshot of some family members, particularly eavesdropping younger siblings.
Avoid places where your son may feel he doesn't have an equal footing. Sitting in the living room feels very different from sitting in your office with you behind your desk. The latter gives you the upper hand. Neutral places that often work well include the park, small cafés, the car, or other places where you are not near friends or family and yet your son will not feel you are trying to dominate or intimidate him.