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Q.  My son will be 16 soon. I don't seem to know how to communicate with him anymore. When I try talking to him about his goals, plans, dreams and fears, he doesn't respond. He doesn't seem to really have any set plans for the future. Any suggestions? 

A.  Sixteen year-old boys are not easy creatures to talk with! You aren't the first to notice this - so take comfort! 

Your son is probably feeling a little (or a lot!) overwhelmed with the approaching end of childhood and onset of adult responsibility. Try to back down a bit - talk about plans for this summer and classes he will take in the fall rather than long-term goals and plans. If college is an assumption or a strong possibility, make plans together to take a college tour of 3-5 schools that are within his academic range (and your financial range!). 

You can also alleviate the pressure by asking about his friends and their plans for the next couple of years. Let him talk about them instead of himself. You'll learn a lot. 

Try to help him find a summer job that he'll enjoy but which may also illustrate the value of continued education. A summer working with a veterinarian may help him realize that while he likes dressing casually and working with animals, he'd rather be the vet than the one shoveling out the cages. 

Above all, let him know you love him and will help him any way you can without making his life choices for him. Good luck!

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Last Updated 05.20.2002 | Email Parenting is Prevention | Privacy Policy