I recently got an email from a mom (who asked to remain nameless) who shared that she was struggling in how to interact with her tween son who was rapidly loosing interest in his desire to hang out with her.
Woe is me — I have been there, and it hurts and it is confusing.
I want to encourage her and all of you moms that is NORMAL and is NOT a reflection on you or your relationship with your son. And I REALLY want to thank my new friend because I got her email just before I was headed to Pine Cove to speak at a Mother/Son weekend and it helped me guide some of what I had planned to chat with the moms about!
There is so much I could say (and did say at Pine Cove) but for now, for you moms I just thought I would share the words that came straight from my heart to this precious mom in my email reply to her:
Regarding your son, when my son started having more interest in my husband than me — first of all I had to tell myself it was normal and natural and not to take it personally or be hurt by it, easy words, hard to apply. Then I had to find ways to enter into his world, but back out graciously so he didn’t feel overcrowded. Even in conversations – I would ask a few small questions, not pepper him for details. Let him know I was still interested, and would continue to be involved in his world, but not smothering. Basically, because he wants to be a man… our “momness” can make our boys feel like little boys and they want to feel like men.
Practically this looked like, if he was playing a video game I would watch for a bit, make encouraging comments “cheer him on” if you will— then slip away. If he was doing a chore in the yard, I would make cookies— call a work break, have him come in and munch and chat some, encouraging him on how awesome he was doing the chore Dad had asked, and then scoot him back out the door. I also would encourage him to invite lots of friends over and I would cook for them. Boys love moms who have an open home with food and fun! You always tried to make it fun by having it be “creative” and get them involved… example – a “meat” party, tell each guy to bring his own meat for the grill and you just make the fixins. Have a cereal party and have each guy bring their favorite box of cereal and you have fruit and cinnnamon rolls or something. A campout and have them roast hot dogs, marshmallows, or even provide aluminum foil and baked potatoes with lots of fixins on a potato bar.
I always am around some for the action…but then would just slip into the background and out of the room, then wander back in and serve in whatever way I could. I was always quick to suggest, hey guys, throw your paper goods away and stick your glasses in the dishwasher or something to that effect so they learned to help out some. Being involved in a way that serves them and even teaches them how to have good clean fun!
So anywho….I hope those suggestions might help as you continue to pursue your son…just in a new way. Think … interact and disappear. That way you are still pursing…but not overcrowding. Does that make sense?
I just lifted up a prayer for you.
Stay engaged mom, it will pay off in the long run! Hugs!
Living for Him,