How to communicate with a teenager

My son, who will be seventeen this year and who is prone to that syndrome peculiar to many teens and certainly most boys, monosyllabicism, has forwarded me an enlightening email. His apparently ambivalent attitude towards conversation (unless he needs something, obviously) and the fact he’s at boarding school for most of the year means I get quite excited when I receive any communiqué  from him: a text asking that I call, a banal Forward in my Inbox.

Ordinarily I bin most Forwards. I tell myself they are time-wasting and since I’m able to time waste perfectly adequately on my own, I don’t need any assistance from outside. That said, I have read 3 of same this morning.

Anyway. son and heir sent (in response, no doubt, to demands from his father, ‘when are going to bloody well write?’) one of those questionnaires that asks things like what time you got up (5.55 in his case), what you usually eat for breakfast (a lot) and what you listen to (Disney classics and a bit of Beethoven, spelt bathoven in case you were about to be seriously impressed by my musical prodigy who – by the way – wouldn’t know who Beethoven/bathoven was if he came and bit him on the bum). Aside from discovering nothing about my son’s taste in music and something about his eating habits (he hates burgers I read), I also learned he wants to visit India; if he was a crayon he’d be dark green and that his favourite restaurant is local Tabora Hotel (‘because it’s such a surprise when your food arrives’ which it is).

His sense of humour was evident, what pets do you have revealed ‘2 cats, 2 dogs, a tree (?!) … oh. And two sisters’ and hair colour? Bald, apparently. It’s dark brown. As were his vulnerabilities: when did he last shed tears: he last cried on receiving results to recent French test, I discover. I doubt he actually cried but it does show he cares. I think. I hope?

So. If, like me, you become frustrated at your teen’s reluctance to provide details about what’s going on in their lives, wing them an asinine email: you have no idea what gems you might unearth.

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13 Responses to “How to communicate with a teenager”

  1. nuttycow Says:

    Ah, I have filled out that email many a time… I think my answers change every time I do it. I was always quite good at writing to my parents when I was at boarding school. Looking back at them (when I unearthered them in the attic a couple of years ago) I think it was more of an excuse not to do prep than anything. Much like blogging is an excuse not to work 🙂

    Have a good weekend.

  2. daisyfae Says:

    nice that he shared it with you – even if it’s silly. both of my children are away at university this year, and much to my surprise, are enjoying my ‘self-medication in the ether’ (aka blog). it’s opened an additional path for communication…

  3. R. Sherman Says:

    I’m fortunate that my daughter (17 in July) still talks to me; although the fact that I have access to the money necessary to support her extravagant expenses may have something to do with it.

    Cheers.

  4. Iota Says:

    What? You mean you’ve never heard of that famous 16th century lute composer Bathoven? Where’ve you been? Oh, Outpost, yes. Ah. That explains it. They’ve only recently discovered the lost manuscripts which have catapulted him to popularity…

  5. Roberta Says:

    Ha! I lived with monosylable grunts for so long that when in their 20’s they wanted conversation I didn’t know what to say!

  6. Mark Says:

    Blimey, I have a six year old with an attitude problem, what fun I have to look forward too!

  7. Expatmum Says:

    God, I would give anything for monosyllabic grunts. My three NEVER stop talking. Yesterday I went and sat in the loo with People magazine for a five minute “silence” break!

  8. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    thank you.

    nuttycow – yep, letters home from boarding school definitely a shirk tactic. now kids msn. or send text. or forward emails to their mothers …

    daisyfae, how nice that they read your blog. i think that’s great. though sometimes i’m quite glad my big kids don’t (usually); they’ve threatened to disown me some of the stuff I’ve posted.

    Mr Sherman: keep the coffers open the the lines of communcation are bound to remain relatively intact!

    Iota: God! how embarrassing that my cultural ignorance has been outed, and by my son too. def getting bathoven to listen to …

    Roberta: i love that. what with mono-grunts and outpost living I’ll be mute before i’m 50 (would like to have said 30 but alas long past that one)

    Mark. You do so: have fun to look forward to

  9. Mark Says:

    I wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

    Easy to say when he is asleep and looking angelic though!

  10. Maggie May Says:

    I was going to say, wait until he is a biker clad in black leather, but I guess that won’t happen in the outback!
    Communication of ANY kind is welcome, grunts or email.

  11. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    i agree maggiemay. butno, leather clad biker is perfectly within the realms of possiblity when my kids flee outpost nest.

  12. Alice C Says:

    I have two teenagers at boarding school and we speak most days. My own record on letters and texts is terrible so they have to call me to chat. My husband maintains an ongoing dialogue by text – particulary with son (18) – a lot of it is trivia and sport related but it is the fact that they communicate that it important. My blog is also very useful for letting them know what is going on at home – which is a feature I hadn’t thought of when I started it.

  13. lyra Says:

    Hilarious! What a great cartoon. You will never guess how I ran across your blog…you sent an email to the American Council for Voluntary International Action, which I looked at when I was going through their backlog of general info emails, which included the link to your blog…a great find:)

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