Raising a teenager can be overwhelming, even on a good day. The surge in hormones and the gain in independence can make it hard to connect to your teen son. You don't want your interactions to feel forced or fake, but understanding some of the things your son enjoys talking about gives you a place to start when you can't think of what to say. Teen boys won't all enjoy talking about the same things, but a few common topics are likely to draw the interest of most of them.
During the teen years, boys often become self-conscious about their looks and spend a lot of time trying to look just right. Fitting in with peers is very important to most teen boys, so talking to your son about styles he likes can help you enjoy a conversation together and ensure you purchase the right items for him to wear. Ask your teen what hairstyles he might try, what types of clothes all the kids are wearing, piercing trends and shoe styles. Even if you already know the answers, it gives your teen son a chance to open up to you with a topic he knows a lot about and probably enjoys sharing.
If your teen son is like most others, he probably enjoys gaming on his phone, the computer or a video game system. Ask your teen to show you how to play or to explain why the game is so exciting. Chances are he'll have plenty to say about his favorites. Ask your son about his favorite characters in the game, where it takes place, how to get powers and use them and why he likes the game. Listen without judgement so your teen knows its OK to share with you, suggests family therapist Susan Stiffelman, even if you are just discussing the features of the new video game your son likes best.
Many teen boys are into sports, whether as players or spectators. Your teen son probably knows plenty about the rules of the games, stats on the professionals and which teams are better than others. If your teen son plays sports, ask him about practice and let him tell you what new skills he learned that day. If your son prefers to watch from the sidelines, sit with him and ask him to explain what's happening. Not only does he get to share one of his favorite activities with you, but he gets the chance to display his knowledge to you at the same time, which is fun for both of you.
Talking with your teen son about his hopes for future is a fun way for him to share with you and an easy way to stay in touch with his likes and interests. Have a discussion about what his dream job is and where he wants to go to college. Ask him what he hopes to accomplish in the next five, ten or twenty years. You might be surprised how long your teen will talk with you about what excites him as he grows.