On Friday evenings, my husband and I usually have a date night at home. We put the children to bed, open a bottle of wine, talk about our week, and watch a movie. This may sound simple or boring, but this is what we do. With four children, all two years apart in age, we are exhausted at the end of the week, and this is what makes us happy.   

Lately, our date nights at home have been cut short. My oldest son has basketball games on Friday nights, so we do not get home until after 8 p.m. My son takes a quick shower, and we keep the bedtime routine short and sweet so my husband and I can enjoy what’s left of the Friday night together. Although my son usually goes to bed without any objection, he has been wide-eyed and ready for conversation the last few Friday nights.

RELATED: Where You See a Kitchen Sink, Your Teen Sees an Invitation to Talk

Tonight, my son and I were talking about some serious topics in his bedroom after the game. My husband walked in to say goodnight to our son, and said, “Why are you two still talking? It’s Friday night, and we were going to watch a movie.”

“I’ll be down in a few minutes,” I responded. 

“When our 12-year-old son needs to talk,” I said looking at my husband almost 20 minutes later, “we have to take time to listen, even when we planned to watch a movie.” I gave him a quick summary of the conversation with my son, and his eyes widened. He immediately understood and nodded in agreement. Although I long for more quality time with my husband, I also realize the importance of communication with my preteen son.

If there is one thing I‘ve learned about parenting a preteen son, it is this: When your son wants to talkeven if it’s after normal bedtime on Friday nightyou drop everything and listen to him talk. The preteen years are unpredictable, prickly years, and opportunities for deep conversation can be few and far between. Listenreally listenwhen your child opens up to you. My son does not want to talk for long periods of time. In fact, he loves to joke about my friends and me being too “chatty.” However, when my son does talk, he SPILLS the beans. It’s amazing.

RELATED: From a Mom Who’s Been There: This is What Matters When it Comes to Raising Teens and Tweens

I thank God every day that my preteen son talks to me and confides in me. Every day, I wonder if tomorrow will be the day he stops sharing his feelings with me. I try to push those thoughts aside and be grateful for every conversation we have. I am humbled and blessed every time he shares a nugget of information with me.

We need to listen to our kids when they talk to us, especially during those preteen years. It may not be the best timing. It may interfere with a conversation or something else we are doing. But, when possible, make the time to listen when your preteen child wants to talk. Do not take for granted the times your child reaches out to you.

When our children sense we are busy or disinterested, they can be reluctant to initiate conversation the next time. When you are unable to give your child your full attention, explain this to him clearly and find a time when you can give him your undivided attention. It is so important that our children feel heard and understood by those they love and trust, especially during the preteen years.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Erin Leigh

Erin is the author of Navigating the Newborn Months and Beyond, a parenting book for new and expecting mothers. She is the proud mother of four beautiful children, three sons and one daughter. Erin graduated from Vanderbilt University where she competed in cross country and track and field. She received her J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Erin enjoys swimming, running, reading, hiking, writing, playing the piano, and spending time outdoors with her family as much as possible. You can learn more about Erin by visiting her website at http://www.erineileenleigh.com and her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/erineileenleighauthor.

8 Ways To Get Tweens and Teens Talking Again

In: Motherhood, Teen, Tween
When Tweens and Teens Stop Talking, Here's How to Draw Their Words Out Again www.herviewfromhome.com

There comes a day when your kids stop talking your ear off. Not long after, we realize—wait, we want that back. This is just one of the too many to count conundrums built into parenthood. This one though is easily explained. When our kids are wee, much of what they utter is mindless, ceaseless banter; each word like a ping-pong ball to the forehead. Parents like to go deeper when it comes to conversation. We want to know what’s up with our kids. Beyond that, we want our kids to want to keep us in the know. And just when...

Keep Reading

Don’t Ever Stop Talking To Me About Your Interests—Even if I Don’t Understand Them

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Preteen boy playing game on computer

It’s mid-afternoon, the slowest part of the day. I’ve spent the day dealing with meals and schedules, tasks, chores, jobs, and messes. The sun has a different tint now that it’s moved toward the western part of the sky, and it’s been long enough since lunch that I am dragging. It’s the perfect time of day for a break, maybe even a nap. A chance to turn my brain off, scroll aimlessly through social media, or just sit in silence, untouched and unneeded.  This is the time of day when I most need to relax. This is also the time...

Keep Reading

Want a Better Relationship with Your Teen? Just Listen.

In: Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Teen and mom talking

I’ve always prided myself on being a good listener. I feel it is very important to hold space for people, listen without giving advice, and to withhold judgment. It’s something I consciously work on in the important adult relationships in my life. I did not, however, practice this at home with my kids. Why would I? I am the mom. I know my kids better than they know themselves. They don’t know what is best for them, I do. I know how they should act and how their attitudes should be. And when I didn’t feel they had particularly good...

Keep Reading