Why Your Teen Boy Won't Talk to You

teen boyYou know everything we've been taught about the mystifying (read: infuriating) workings of the teenage male psyche? (Which, come to think of it, is actually not very different from the 25- to 45-year-old male psyche, but that's a story for another day.) Anyway, get ready to do some serious conceptual backpedalling.

According to a recent study, all that drivel about how guys really do want to talk about their feelings but they're just afraid of seeming weak or mushy or whatever isn't true after all. No, boys opt out of discussing their emotions for a much more practical reason, it turns out ...


Guys don't bother talking about their feelings because they don't see it as a "particularly useful activity." Heart-to-heart chats are just a waste of time.

So the same utilitarian tendency that makes men love Home Depot and little boys love LEGOs turns teenage males off to sitting down and spilling their guts. There's no guaranteed outcome to talking about one's feelings, so why bother? A lot of it has to do with expectations. Girls expect to feel better after venting about whatever's bothering them, but boys figure that focusing on their problems is just going to make them seem bigger. Distraction is a better way to deal, they reason. Whatever, I'm locking myself in my room and playing video games for hours.

Essentially, this means making a huge effort as a parent to create a "safe environment for sharing" isn't necessarily going to get you anywhere. Guys are problem-solvers by nature, so to get them to open up, we're supposed to convince boys that all the chatter will in fact lead to a solution for whatever their problem is ... the concept you're selling here is "Conversation as a Tool." (Remember, Home Depot.)

If only I knew all this when I was a teenage girl!

How do you get your teenage son to talk to you?

Image via husin.sani/Flickr

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