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 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."


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