'My teenage son can't talk to girls'

Child and adolescent psychotherapist Philipa Boulter has been interviewed for the latest real life scenario published on the Guardian's Problem Solved page.

A concerned father writes in about his teenage son who at 13 is becoming a confident, happy teenager but who struggles to talk or socialise with girls. "On one occasion we were out together and he ran and hid when two girls from his school came into view a few hundred yards ahead. I spoke to him about it but he was so flustered that he couldn't even articulate why." The father questions whether or not to intervene to help his son overcome his difficulties.

Philipa says the young person's behaviour is a "very ordinary [thing to happen] with this age group. He is on that continuum of normal, hitting his own sexuality. Girls mature more quickly and so initially seem scary to boys who take a while to catch up".

She also says it is likely everyone in the teenager's group feels the same - although they may be manifesting it differently. "It can be very hard for parents to watch what was their baby entering a phase that is increasingly out of reach to the parents," she says.

She advises the parent to let his son know that he is there for him if he needs him but not to intervene. "If he's still really struggling in a year with his interaction with girls, you might need to look for some help for him, but until then you need to be there but let him find his own way."

Read the article in full here