Getting your teenage son to open up

Michael Gurian, MFA, CMHG Family Counselor & Author, explains why communicating with your adolescent son can be difficult and shares tips for parents on how to help their son open up to them
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Getting your teenage son to open up

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If you're wondering, you have a son and you're wondering, how can I help him discuss his feelings and let's say that he's older, he's in puberty or moving beyond puberty so that he's not talking about it quite as much as he used to, a number of things you can do. First thing is to have different expectations than when he was 10. Testosterone is flooding through his system. It's affecting the male brain. Male and female brain are set up differently. They're already set up differently for emotions. So we won't tend to spend as much of every every day being emotional anyway. And then after testosterone hits he'll still be emotional but he'll do it in spurts. You know, and you just have to be there. You have to be ready for that spurt of emotionality. But he won't do it when you say, let's talk about that, or he may not. So understand the adjustment. Understand it's going to be different and look for those spurts of emotional energy. Also if you're desperate to talk to him about something and he's clamping down or clamming up, take him somehwere. Go do something. Take him shopping with you. Go out for a walk. Go out and rake the yard together. Whatever it is, do something because you can get more emotions out of this guy's brain if he's moving around or doing something. If you just sit and look him in the eye, he may turn away. Remember that for adolescent boys who are hit with testosterone specifically sitting and looking at someone in the eye is actually confusing because what they're trying to do -- testosterone is an agression and hierarchy chemical and they get confused by that. They don't really -- They want to pay you the respect by not looking you in the eye, actually. So that whole thing is going on and sometimes you need to be shoulder to shoulder, doing something with the guy.

Michael Gurian, MFA, CMHG Family Counselor & Author, explains why communicating with your adolescent son can be difficult and shares tips for parents on how to help their son open up to them

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Michael Gurian, MFA, CMHC

Family Counselor & Author

Michael Gurian is the New York Times bestselling author of 25 books published in 21 languages. He provides counseling services at the Marycliff Center, in Spokane, Washington. The Gurian Institute, which he co-founded, conducts research internationally, launches pilot programs and trains professionals. Michael has been called "the people's philosopher" for his ability to bring together people's ordinary lives and scientific ideas.

 He has pioneered efforts to bring neuro-biology and brain research into homes, schools, corporations, and public policy. A number of his books have sparked national debate, including The Wonder of Girls, The Wonder of Boys, and Boys and Girls Learn Differently!, and The Minds of Boys.



Michael has served as a consultant to families, corporations, therapists, physicians, school districts, community agencies, churches, criminal justice personnel and other professionals, traveling to approximately 20 cities per year to keynote at conferences. His training videos (also available as DVDs) for parents and volunteers are used by Big Brother and Big Sister agencies in the U.S. and Canada.

 As an educator, Michael previously taught at Gonzaga University, Eastern Washington University, and Ankara University.  His speaking engagements include Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, Macalester College, University of Colorado, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and UCLA. His philosophy reflects the diverse cultures (European, Asian, Middle Eastern and American) in which he has lived, worked and studied.

Michael's work has been featured in various media, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, Newsweek, Time, People Magazine, Reader's Digest, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, Parenting, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, and on the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, PBS and National Public Radio.

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