I went into this expecting something profound.
I left it crying in laughter. I feel seen and heard and understood by mothers everywhere.
A transcription for those who can’t watch or listen right now:
“I wanted to share with you a beautiful exchange that I had with one of my kids over text the other day.
And, you know, I’ve made some other videos about the kids, but at the root of it and at the heart of it, the relationship that a parent and child share is really unlike any other. It’s a beautiful thing. And I wanted to share this with you. I have to warn you, you might need some tissues.
So this is from me:
Hi babe, I just wanted you to know that we are so proud of you. You have been working so hard and I know this semester is tough but I also know you’ll nail it. You’ve been doing so many hours at work and you still manage to always have a smile and to be an amazing brother to your sisters. They absolutely adore you, and so do we. Love you, boy.
And here’s his response:
As a parent, I felt this deep in my bones. However, here are two things that I’ve learned about communicating with teens, particularly boys, when they’re in this stage:
1. Let them come to you.
Yeah, there are going to be times you’ll have to do the initiating—but I’m not talking about the necessary discussions we need to have with our teens. I’m talking about the chats. When they let you in to see who they really are at the core. When they drop little hints about what’s going on in their lives, and at school, and in their friends’ lives. When it comes to those kinds of chats, let them decide when and how they happen, and unless there’s an issue of safety or health, don’t pry.
2. Once they’re there, intend to listen, rather than advise.
This is key, and I know it’s tough, because as parents, it’s our duty to help and guide and teach. But consider this: who starts a discussion with someone looking to get preached to? Whether they’re telling you about something that’s happened in their life (good or bad), or they’re talking about a problem, unless they specifically ask for advice, our goal is to just be there and help them feel it out.
Over time, our kids learn that talking to me about their lives won’t result in being lectured, even if they share things they think parents would lecture about, the more they will open up, unsolicited. We must build trustful and safe communication.
For those of you still in the “K.” stage, I’m with you in solidarity.