SOMWaD: Talking to My Son
Way back in the last century, I majored in Communications. I am a BIG believer in communication. Sharing information is vital to the success of a business. Relationships can only thrive if people respectfully talk and listen to each other. I'm a talker and a writer. I try to be a good listener. (Emphasis on TRY!) So it really pains me when I say that I can't seem to talk to my son.
I could just brush it off as that pre-teen/tween thing kicking in and that once a kid gets to that stage of life communication between parent/child becomes an issue for everyone. I don't want to brush it off. I want to find a way around it.
I am sure my issue is typical. Let me set the scene:
Boy sitting on sofa, watching TV, building Lego creation or thumbing through a Lego catalog.
Me: Hey, you're going to need to come upstairs in 10 minutes. Please pick those Legos off the floor.
Boy: Ok. (Or no response)
10-15 minutes later I either call him to come up and he's says he's not finished cleaning or I go downstairs and what I have asked to be cleaned up still isn't. (This is not to say there is a big mess, but there seem to always be a few pieces scattered around that should be put elsewhere.)
You know what happens next. I'm annoyed (and maybe even a bit angry) that this hasn't been taken care of. I tell him to clean up (probably in a tone that reflects my feelings) and he gets angry. He may make a fist or put things away angrily before stomping upstairs.
The scenario is the same when I ask him if he thinks he should study x before heading to school in the morning or asking him to review x again later in the day. (He does homework and studying before I get home from work; so my request would be after dinner.) He either ignores me or gets angry. Then I get angry. And then...you probably know how it goes.
So how do I fix this? How do I communicate better with my son? How do I prod him gently in the right direction without sounding like a nag to him? How do I make him realize that I want to HELP and not be a pain in the butt? What do I let him know that I am trying to get him into a positive pattern so that I DON'T have to remind him about studying, cleaning, etc.? I know he can evolve into someone who won't need me to prod because he will do it for himself.
Right now, I don't have a plan and I don't have answers. Maybe someone out there does, or can make a suggestion on how to better approach. If my tween communication skills are lacking, I'm ready to improve them in any way I can. Suggestions? Answers? As Frasier Crane used to say, "I'm listening."