Raising Teenage Boys

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Yes, it’s another post that talks about raising teenagers, more specifically, teenage boys. I am currently raising two (15 and soon-to-be 17).

And they are as different as night and day! Where one has a devil-may-care attitude, the other is more anxious and worried. While one is more adventurous, the other is more routine and systematic. The oldest is more conscientious whereas the 15 yo is more indifferent. They are both fun and energetic and smart. They are both completely lost as to what they want to do in life which is, more than likely, credited to their age.

And, of course, during the adolescent years…

Nothing Makes Sense except whatever seems to be happening at the time.

So. Much. Is. Happening. during these years and the teen can’t make heads or tails of it.

The body is growing in weight, muscles, height. Mentality is changing in connection with the need for independence and self-discovery/identity. Love interests become more meaningful, friendships either dissipate or grow strongers, and presception of outward appearance increases.

Needless to say, it’s just hard….

…..but being a teen is fun. And as one grows, he/she charms or entertains another with stories from youth.

However, raising boys can be just as emotional for parents. The parents deal with:

  • the emotional outbursts
  • the stubborn inconsistencies in the life of a teen. In other words, the action or word that may cause strife with a teen son today, may emit a completely different response the very next day
  • the teen becomes unreachable emotional-wise which is hard for any parent. The boy who was once funny, unashamed of physical touch (hugs), happy go lucky, and always smiling is suddenly withdrawn, independent, mouthy and cruel even
  • daily conversations go from the ever innocent ‘i want to be an astronaut’ to….Exactly! Nothing.

Now, a parent is no longer trying to keep a pint-sized little human safe from bee stings and scraped knees, but is focused on preventing said child from becoming a parent to young or causing harm to others due to irresponsible, reckless behavior and/or decisions.

The shift in parental teachings is quite a big leap for parents. Parents don’t always know the right answer because there isn’t one. They don’t always know how the outcome of any given decision. There isn’t an instruction booklet we are given when we bring our little ones home from the hospital, but there are some general tips we can follow when rearing these muleheaded, rough around the edges, emotionally unstable beings.

  1. As always, love your teenager. Kids flourish when loved. Show support, but teach boundaries.
  2. Allow room for growth. Each person becomes who they are under the guidance of their parents. Let them make mistakes so they have room for growth.
  3. Emotions are NORMAL. Encourage emotions. Let them feel them be mad. Let them be happy. Let them be silly. Let them feel guilty. Let them feel sadness.
  4. Communicate the dangers of this life. Sex, drugs, alcohol, breaking the law. Actions have consequences.
  5. Set boundaries, but give some elbow room. We can’t expect teenagers to make good decisions if they are not first allowed to make some bad choices.
  6. One I’ve learned the hard: choose your battles wisely. Not all situations with your teeager requires a big, chaotic argument.
  7. Meet their friends. Invite their friends over. By doing so, the parent is not putting the kabosh on a budding friendship without reason (at least to your teen). This way, the parent shows an act of good faith which goes a long way in conveying trust in your teen’s choices.

Don’t cringe, mommies. It does get better. Your son is on his way (with your guidance) to being the kind of man you want him to be.

 

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