So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

I have three sons who range in age from fifteen to twenty-five. In theory, I should be an expert at boy-speak but the sad truth is that I have not yet cracked the code. However, I have made some small inroads and have a few insights which I am happy to share with other parents of boys.

When you try to communicate with the male gender, the silence can often be deafening. Asking them questions generally results in generic, monosyllabic answers which they may or may not be held accountable for at a later date.

Trying to get information from a teenage son is comparable to cross-examining a witness; a hostile witness. But, don’t despair there are ways to increase your odds of getting information and they don’t involve waterboarding. I offer no guarantees.

Here is a list of don’ts:

1–Do not try to speak with them when they are hungry. A teenage boy can’t think when his belly is empty.

2–Do not try to speak with them when they are tired. Again, talking to a tired teen is a complete and utter waste of your time.

3–Do not try to speak with them while they are watching a sporting event (or for a little while afterwards if their team has lost.)

4–Do not ask them about girls (or boys) they may like. When there is something to share in this department they will clue you in.

5–Do not ask them questions in front of their friends. In fact, it’s probably best not to even acknowledge them in front of their friends.


Here are a few things you can try:

1–Do wait until they are in the car with you—the cozy environment sometimes promotes communication.

2–Capitalize on any opening they may give you. If they open the door even a crack with a comment or observation keep the ball rolling, however… (see number 3)

3–Play it cool—pretend you are half-listening. Do not let them know that you are hanging onto their every word. If you act too interested in what they are saying you might scare them away. Do not make eye contact; a good technique is to rummage through your purse while they are speaking and under no circumstances should you interject too much. I realize that this last tip might also be used when dealing with an undomesticated animal; there are definite parallels which can be made.

I consider myself fairly close to my sons yet I know there is only so much I am going to get out of them at any given time. When my boys were in elementary school, they would pass along information which they deemed important when they got home, such as if another child had thrown up in class or if there had been a fire in school (not a fire drill) where men in trucks with hoses arrived. This was memorable and exciting to them.

As they got older, the concept stayed the same, although the details changed. Once they reached high school the information they deemed mom worthy was stuff like a child getting suspended, a medical emergency such as a teacher fainting, or changes to the food program. My youngest son, who is a sophomore in high school, was recently delighted to report that his school was adding a sushi bar to the lunch program. Details about actual learning or results on tests? Not so much. One thing you can count on is hearing from your sons when they aren’t feeling well. Little or big, they will always want you when they are sick.

I believe that there is truly no malice in their withholding of information—it’s just that, for the most part (and I realize that I am generalizing), boys are not wired for small talk. Occasionally, I am annoyed that I have to learn something about my boys from someone else (such as the time I had to hear about my middle son’s first college acceptance from another mom) but despite the apparent lack of communication, I know that my boys and I are close.

Trying to communicate with sons is just not the same as conversing with daughters, who, in comparison, are generally quite talkative (although they too can go through some rough patches during the teen years.) For the most part, I’ve gotten used to the status quo. In fact, after three sons, I’m not even sure I could handle the level of minutiae that girls relay.

Bottom line is—even with experience and advice—you may never know every detail of your son’s life. And while at times that can be frustrating, it’s just the way it is. The important thing is to know that when they need you they will reach out and that you will always be there for them.

Marlene Fischer

Marlene Kern Fischer is a wife, mother of three sons, food shopper extraordinaire, blogger and college essay editor. She attended Brandeis University, from which she graduated cum laude with a degree in English Literature. In addition to Her View From Home, her work has been featured on CollegateParent, Grown and Flown, Kveller, The Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, Beyond Your Blog, The SITS Girls, and MockMom. You can read more of Marlene’s work on her site here:

Mothering One Day at a Time

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding daughter in matching shirts, color photo

As I sat with my growing belly, full of anticipation for the arrival of my firstborn, the possibilities were endless for this little girl. Maybe she would lean toward the arts and be a dancer, writer, or musician. Or maybe she would take after her great-granddad and become a scientist. And maybe one day she would be a mother too. Dreaming about the future was fun and exciting. But then she surprised us with an at-birth Down syndrome diagnosis. Special needs were never included in my dreaming sessions.    All of the sudden, my hopes and dreams for this new...

Keep Reading

Fall into the Arms of Jesus, Little One

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Child walking

I have three younger brothers, so I know how crazy and wild boys can be. Lots of falls, cuts, scrapes, bruises, broken bones, and even a couple of head stitches. My husband has two younger brothers. He’d always tell how they used to jump from the banister down two floors onto the glass coffee table. Why anyone would do that, I have no idea. Pure madness and chaos.  Right now, I have a little baby boy who’s only seven months, but I know he will probably be just as wild as his uncles and dad. But that doesn’t mean I’m...

Keep Reading

I Know It’s Just Summer Camp but I Miss You Already

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Kids by campfire

You would’ve thought I was sending you off to college. The way I triple-checked to make sure you had everything you needed and reminded you about the little things like brushing your teeth and drinking plenty of water about a thousand times. You would’ve thought I was sending you to live on your own. The way I hugged you tight and had to fight back some tears. The way you paused before leaving just to smile at me. The way I kept thinking about that boyish grin all the way home. The way I kept thinking about how you’re looking...

Keep Reading

I Want My Boys To Become Men of Character

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boys with arms around each other by water

I’m a single mama of two young boys. As a woman raising young boys, I’ve thought a lot about how I want them to act—as kids and adults. We joke around that I’m not raising farm animals, and we don’t live in a frat house. I’m trying to plant seeds now so they grow into men with positive character traits. They burp, fart, spray toothpaste on the sink and somehow miss the toilet often, but I’m trying to teach them life lessons about what it means to be great men and gentlemen.  Interactions with other men provide opportunities for us...

Keep Reading

Until There Was a Boy

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother looking at son and smiling, color photo

I never believed in love at first sight . . . until there was a boy.  A boy who made my heart whole the first time he looked at me.  A boy who held my hand and touched my soul at the same time.  A boy who challenged me and helped me grow. A boy who showed me that, even on the worst days, the world is still a beautiful place.  RELATED: I Met a Boy and He Changed Everything A boy who reminded me how to laugh until tears ran down my cheeks. A boy who tested my patience...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Heart Remembers These Sweet Moments Forever

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and baby laughing

Motherhood gives you all the feelings. It’s hard not to be utterly thankful for and grieve the little things of your last baby, trying to take in all of the firsts and lasts. Every bin of clothes and baby gear packed up produces a tiny crack in a mother’s heart, breaking just a little bit more each time she says goodbye. It’s not that she needs those baby clothes, but it’s the memories each outfit held that are difficult for her to let go of. She does not want to forget those beautiful moments. When she looks at that bin...

Keep Reading

I Want You To Miss Your Childhood One Day Too

In: Kids, Living
Kids jumping off dock into lake

What I miss the most about childhood is owning my whole heart. Before I gave pieces of it away to others who weren’t always careful with it. And some, who never gave the pieces back. I miss my knowing. My absolute faith that my mother’s arms could fix just about everything and what her arms couldn’t, her cookies could. When my biggest grievance was not getting my way. I miss feeling whole, unblemished. Before words cut me. Before people had taken up space in my mind, created permanent movies that were ugly and still play on repeat at times. Before...

Keep Reading

No One Told Me It Was the Last Time You’d Be This Little

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young son playing in ocean

No one told me it would be the last time I rocked you to sleep. A cry in the night, the haze of a dimly lit room, our rocking chair worn brown. We were the only ones in a little world. No one told me it would be the last time I carried you on my hip. The way my body shifted—you changed my center of gravity. Your little arm hooked in mine, a gentle sway I never noticed I was doing. No one told me it would be the last time I pushed you on the bucket swing. Your...

Keep Reading

The Only Way to Freeze Time Is to Take the Picture—So I’ll Take as Many as I Can

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two kids sitting in wagon, color photo

Life ebbs and flows. Seasons come and go. One of the reasons I take so many photos is because they are the only way to make time stand still. They provide a nostalgia that can’t compete with anything else. They help us remember the exact moment captured and show us how fast time is fleeting. It doesn’t matter if their texture is glossy or matte. It doesn’t matter if they are in a frame or on a screen. It doesn’t matter if they are professional or if someone’s thumbprint is in the upper corner. All that matters is the moment...

Keep Reading

Did I Shelter You Too Much?

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom and tween daughter

I’ve made so many mistakes as your mother. From moving too much to letting you stay up too late, I know I should’ve done better. But of all the mistakes I’ve made, not letting you make your own was my biggest. It’s the one I regret the most. I only wanted your happiness. Keeping you safe and happy were my most important jobs.  At least I thought so at the time.   If you forgot your homework, I’d drive it in. If you were too tired for school, I let you stay home. If you didn’t want to speak, I spoke...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!


Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime