Case Study: Communication Disconnect with 13-Year-Old Boy

Aug 04, 2020

Case Study: Communication Disconnect with 13-Year-Old Boy

by Julie Watson, MA, MHS, LMFT


Introduction: This case study focuses on a parent who sought solutions to address the communication disconnect with her 13-year-old son. The parent expressed concern about her son's changed behavior and the need to reconnect to prevent potential adverse outcomes.

Problem Statement: The parent struggled to communicate effectively with her son, who often ignored her, rolled his eyes, and responded dismissively, "Okay." She felt disconnected from the child he used to be and worried about his future. The parent sought guidance to understand the causes of this communication breakdown and to find strategies for reconnecting with her son.

Methodology: An initial meeting involved both the parent and the son to establish a baseline understanding. Subsequently, individual sessions were conducted with the parent to delve into her son's developmental changes. Communication patterns, appropriate language for tweens and teens, boundaries, and other relevant aspects were explored. Strategies were developed to facilitate reconnecting and engaging the parent and her son. Additionally, the parent's own developmental shift was considered, allowing her to differentiate between her needs and her son's needs.

Results: The parent noticed a positive change in her son's behavior following a few sessions. He began initiating conversations and seeking her out for discussions. Both the parent and the son became more accepting of each other's need for connection and privacy. The parent experienced reduced suspicion and worried about her son's behavior and moods. At the six-month check-in, the parent and son maintained open communication and spent quality one-on-one time together. Moreover, the parent pursued her personal aspirations by returning to school to become a preschool teacher.

Testimonial: The parent shared her positive experience working with the coach, highlighting a shift in her mindset. Initially skeptical about seeking parent coaching, she realized that effective parenting involved understanding the developmental changes she and her son experienced. The parent was surprised to discover that she was changing and benefited from guidance in navigating her role as a mother while ensuring her personal happiness. The support received from working together boosted her confidence, and she felt empowered in her choices and her relationship with her son.

Conclusion: This case study illustrates how addressing the communication disconnect between a parent and a 13-year-old boy improved understanding and connection. Through tailored strategies and awareness of developmental changes, the parent successfully engaged her son, leading to positive outcomes for both of them. It emphasizes the importance of effective communication and parental support during crucial stages of child development.