DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a father of three, with one son. I want to have a better relationship with him, but I don’t know how to get closer to him. We used to be very close; we attended baseball games together, went out to dinner almost every week, etc.
My son is 18 years old, which I understand is a time when teenagers spread their wings, but I miss the close relationship my son and I used to have. Every time I text him to see how he is doing or to make plans, he responds with one word. I want to reconnect with him, but I'm not sure how to do this in a way that doesn’t seem too pushy. Do you have any ideas on how a father can regain the closeness with his son? -- Dad Missing Son, Denver
DEAR DAD MISSING SON: Your best chance to rekindle a close bond with your son right now is to tap into his interests. Figure out what he enjoys doing, and invite him to do that with you. It is the job of teenagers to flex their independence. They should spend time away from their parents. For this reason, you should not get too upset with him.
Engaging him in ways that spark his interest is the best way to capture his attention -- for now. Consider inviting his friends to join you for the outings that you plan. This may also resonate for him.
Finally, know that one-word answers are common for young people who primarily use social media. Rather than letting that upset you, realize that it is the way he communicates. More than likely, everybody gets one-word responses from him. Continue to pay close attention to your son to ensure that the distance he is creating is not a sign of bad behavior.