If you have a tween or teenage son, you probably feel a bit beaten up from time to time. Raising children is a stretching task no matter what their ages but parenting teenage boys is a whole different ballgame. Parents and teens alike can struggle during this season of life.
When our sons get to the tween and teen ages, they often turn into different kids. Suddenly, those sweet little boys who wanted to help us all of the time don’t want to keep their rooms clean or do chores. Those compliant sons who did whatever we asked no longer want to be told what to do. They can be surly, they have all sorts of raging hormones which make them overreact, they don’t like to stop what they’re doing, and they certainly don’t want to do their schoolwork.
So, what is a parent supposed to do when raising boys in this age category? Let’s face it. Raising tween/teen boys isn’t a picnic. The good news is that we aren’t powerless. Fortunately, there are ways that we can approach and deal with our sons that will help things to go much more smoothly.
Here are 10 Positive Parenting Tips for Tween and Teen Boys:
1 – Don’t take it personally
Our sons are starting to learn to deal with large levels of hormones that they’ve never experienced before. Not only that, but according to Harvard Medical School, their brains are actually being reshaped during this time. This can cause them to have a hard time dealing with their emotions, can make them more aggressive and angry, and can impair their ability to make good decisions. We need to give our boys LOTS OF GRACE during this volatile time in their lives.
2 – Remain calm
This is so important yet so hard to do. When we feel that we’re being verbally attacked, it’s natural for our stress level to rise and for us to experience fight or flight responses. Make sure you are praying that God will give you the strength and wisdom you need to make it through this difficult time. Also, humor really helps in stressful situations. Rather than always feeling that you must correct your sons in a serious manner, try to joke around with them about it. Say something that will get them to laugh. Or make your point in a more lighthearted manner.
3 – Back off
Our tween and teen boys want to become increasingly independent from their parents. However, they still need us. This can be very frustrating for them and for us! We’re used to calling the shots and suddenly our sons want to have more input in running their lives. This desire is healthy and good! We want our boys to grow into mature, independent men. Whenever possible, let your son make his own choices. As he shows responsibility, allow him even more freedom in this area. This is great training for him.
4 – Let them experience the consequences of their actions
It’s important that we allow our kids to make mistakes. Allow them to make some bad decisions and then have to reap the consequences. This will make our sons more likely to ask for advice in the future. It is also a great way for them to learn. And we want our boys to learn from their mistakes before they’re on their own and capable of making decisions that could ruin their lives.
5 – Be willing to explain why
When you ask your tween and teen boys to do something, be willing to explain why you’d like it done that way. It’s much easier for them to obey a parental request that actually has a valid reason behind it than one which is completely arbitrary. This is also a good way to check ourselves. Are we being too authoritarian? Is our request actually important?
6 – Choose your battles
Our boys are going to do many things which will be frustrating and/or irritating to us. We shouldn’t reprimand them for everything or we will ruin our relationship with them. Choose one area to work on at a time and let the rest go. If your son is struggling with a sin issue, this would be the most important area to address first.
7 – Don’t get into a verbal duel
This is a hard one for me to follow. I’ve always been someone who enjoys debating various issues. So, when my sons balk at one of my requests, my first inclination is to bark back at them and try to force my authority over them. This doesn’t usually end well. It’s much more effective to ask your son to do the task and then walk away. Once your sons know that you’re serious, they will often comply.
8 – Get dad involved if you need a mediator
For whatever reason, it can be harder for your teenage son to take orders from his mom than it is from his dad. When you are having difficulty getting your son to listen, don’t be afraid to get your husband involved. Be sure you are presenting a united front.
9 – Praise liberally
Whenever your sons do something the way you’d like them to or have a good attitude, be sure to show lots of appreciation for it. No one wants to be reprimanded all the time. If you are extremely positive about their good behavior, they will be more likely to exhibit it more often.
10 – Spend time with him
Even though our boys are growing up, they still want to have a good relationship with us. Be sure to let your son know that you love and value him. Spend time doing things with him that will build a strong relationship. Give him hugs! Give him advice when asked. Respect his feelings.
Parenting tween and teen boys can be a challenge. Fortunately, it is also a blessing. After a few years, our sons will grow into mature young men who will come to appreciate our efforts with them. Remember to hang onto the good times, be flexible, and be willing to give lots of grace!
Question: Do you have any tween or teen sons? Have you discovered any other positive parenting tips that have been effective at your house? Please leave a comment below!