Communication: Why you need to be open with your sons

The way you communicate with your son will change across the milestones of their life; from playing trains, kicking around the football or having a mature conversation with your teenage son. It’s important to always keep the lines of communication open and find opportunities to communicate with them.

Keeping the lines of communication open allows you to have a better understanding of how they’re traveling emotionally, mentally and who their friends are, how they are going at school, and when they need help.

Dr Bruce Robinsons’s tips for communicating with sons

  • Build a comfort zone. Create a safe space for chats, this could be around the breakfast or dinner table, watching sport together, driving to and from a sports game, drop off or pick up to school, walking the dog, taking a hike or surf together.
  • Make the first move. Don’t wait for your son, find a story to share with them that you want their opinion on – ask them a comfortable question, one they will be interested in participating in.
  • Show you are listening and empathise. Say something like ‘I understand how you feel, or I remember when that happened to me, or that must have been pretty tough’…then you can expand to ask them if they need some guidance or help around the discussion.
  • Stay calm, express your emotions respectfully. Don’t get angry or cut them off, or speak over them, they need to know they can share their voice with you and you will not judge them.   
  • Don’t always give advice. Help your son come up with his own solution first before adding in some words of wisdom.
  • Remember what they’ve said and follow up. Send them a text message after the discussion to show you genuinely care – share an emoji, or send them a funny picture, with a short message of support. The family cat or dog are often the best conversation starters!

We hope some of these tips come in handy. Remember, you don’t have to tackle it all at once. But using these tips as a starting point will make a big difference in his life as well as yours.

Have you enjoyed this article? For more insight on social issues affecting fatherhood, check out our blog.

Mondays with Fathering Project founder Dr. Bruce Robinson
We want to foster connection, sharing, and collaborating in this time of isolation and need. The Fathering Channel is an online community hub and a source of research-based advice, support, and information. Tune in every Monday for Bruce’s weekly video – packed with fathering advice and tips.
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