When your son reaches his teenage years, it can feel like you have a whole new kid. Between the hormone surges of puberty and the natural independence that adolescence brings, teen boys are experiencing life in a whole new way and they really need their parents more than ever. Raising teen boys can be challenging, but when you as a parent are equipped with the right tools and know-how, you can give your son the best transition to the adult world as possible.
Teen boys, like all children, learn how to interact and behave by modeling what they see their parents doing. It doesn’t matter what you as a parent tell your teen boy to do, it’s how you act that he will remember. Whether it is learning how to regulate their emotions, how to treat members of the opposite sex or how to own up to mistakes, teen boys look to their parents, especially their fathers, to see how to get along in the adult world. As a parent, you should be demonstrating the behaviours and social skills you want your teen boy to emulate.
Remember that teen boys are much less likely to process things emotionally than teen girls. This is often because socially, young boys aren’t taught or encouraged to communicate on many levels as young girls. Teen boys are often not as adept at reading facial or body cues, pick up on subtleties in the spoken word or learn healthy ways to express emotion. In dealing with your teen son, make sure that you use several different communication tools, such as asking him to restate your instructions or letting him come up with an appropriate schedule rather than telling him one. Give him opportunities to handle lots of different emotional situations and guide him on appropriate responses and interactions.
Finally, make sure your teen boy feels invested as part of the family. As little boys turn into teenagers, many parents don’t know how to deal with the moodiness, the hormones and the desire for more independence and therefore might avoid their teen son. Instead, make sure your son is invested in the family and the community by doing chores, taking responsibilities for certain tasks, and even volunteering if possible. Respect his property and his privacy, and ask the same of yours. Give praise when it is earned and look for tasks and activities where he can succeed on his own. This kind of behavior will teach your teen son responsibility and the importance of relationships and the power and privilege that goes along with that.
It may seem daunting to turn your teen boy into a responsible adult, but with firm boundaries, plenty of love and increasing independence and responsibility, your teen boy can make the transition and become a healthy and well-adjusted man.
What life lessons do you feel are most important to teach when raising teen boys?