What a Teenage Boy Needs Most from his Mom

Over the next week, two of my boys have birthdays that end in “teen.”  Today, Jonah stepped fresh and eager into his thir-teenth year.  Next Saturday, Josiah will swagger his way into fif-teen.  How could this be?

Slow down boys–I gave birth to you yesterday.

But really–I dig this stage.  I feel like I finally understand why I had to go through the baby and toddler years:  This is the reward.  I mean, I love my kids at every stage, but certainly some years nearly killed me.  Now that my boys are developing into young-version human beings…It’s all making sense.  There was a purpose behind the pain.  I LOVE who they are becoming.

So…I’ve been thinking a lot about these years–and how I can be the mom they need right now.  God only knows I’ve messed up enough in every other stage, and I only hope they can forget about my mistakes.  But these days…these teenage years:  They’re short!  Today my son becomes a teenager, and tomorrow he’ll be packing for college (God willing. :))  He won’t forget these years, and neither will I.  So, what’s my role as Mom?  How can I help the most?

Between conversations with other moms, plenty of books on the subject, and talking to my boys directly, I have come up with what I think are the eleven most important things…

Here they are:

 

teenage-boy-needs

1.  A safe place to figure themselves out.
It happens almost every day, and sometimes many times a day:  Teenagers are always changing.  They will change their clothes.  Their mood.  How they walk, talk or what they’re into.  Some days they just need to figure out what feels right.  Some days nothing feels right.  Being a teenager is hard.  Sometimes our greatest job as Mom is to act like we don’t even notice.

2.  Boundaries.
Our boys need to know what is absolutely ok, and what is absolutely not.  They may resist rules, but deep down they feel safe when there are clear cut rules without exceptions.  Make them clear and consistent, and have absolute consequences in place for when they break rules.  Boundaries = Security. 

3.  Freedom.
Within those boundaries, teenage boys need the opportunity to stretch their wings.  Teenage boys should be encouraged…Even pushed–to try new things, to take some risks, to find adventure.  Given enough opportunities for healthy adventure, they will avoid a lot of trouble.  (Remember–“Idle hands” and all of that…)
Keep boys busy doing character building, exciting activities and watch them become men before your eyes.
Side note: **My personal Mom-motto has aways been “With Freedom comes responsibility.”  The minute my boys act in irresponsibly, they will lose freedom.  So the freedoms we give are taken very seriously.  

4.  A Listening Ear.
Boys need to talk.  Even the quietest ones will open up when given the chance.  Get them alone, in the car or wherever you can, and make it clear that you WANT to hear about their interests, and their lives.  Be patient, and try different times and places until you figure it out.  I push through the ‘awkward,’ and bring up subjects that make my boys squirm (hello puberty!) but no one has died yet.  This makes it clear that I am OK with any and every topic and I will always be available and comfortable talking.
**When asked what he most needs from me, this was the first thing my oldest son named.  A Mom that can listen and not criticize or manipulate is a really valuable thing. (call me a work in progress here.)

5.  A Sense of Humor.
This is the good stuff.  Teenagers…are hilarious.  This may be my very favorite thing about these years.  No more knock-knock jokes or bad made-up jokes that never seem to come to a conclusion.  Teenagers actually GET STUFF.   There’s hardly anything like the bond of a good laugh with my boys.

When one of my boys come out laughing and want me to watch a funny Vine or Youtube Video, I drop everything for it.
Side note #1: As for us–**We have a rule of “clean” entertainment only.  No swearing or off color anything.  And they know that if I find them following anyone inappropriate, I’ll remove their Vine/YouTube etc account (See #2))
Side note #2**I have a “I can check your phone, computer, etc anytime I want to–no questions asked.”  This keeps everyone in check.

There is plenty of FUN and FUNNY entertainment out there if you look for it.
it’s a hard world:  A good sense of humor will get your kid through many trials in life–So encourage it.

6.  Touch.
Your teenage son will likely pull away from you physically, and that is normal, albeit painful.  But even the most rigid, sulky teenage boy needs hugs from Mom.  Don’t get awkward and keep a distance.  Create a “hug a day” rule or something that makes it routine and normal.  He’ll love it even if he refuses to show it.

7.  Genuine interest.
What does your teenager love?  Learn to love it too.  Know at least enough about what they are passionate about so that you can have a decent conversation.   This will keep doors open greater than any other gesture you can make.

8.  Forgiveness.
Teenagers will make mistakes.  Lots of them.  They’ll act selfish.  They’ll space out.  They’ll get insecure and do stupid things because of it.  They are going to mess up so much you’ll wonder where you went wrong.  If you know it’s coming, it won’t throw you off.  Consequences may be in order, but so is a whole lot of grace.

9.  Direction.
Listen Mom:  Your teenager actually WANTS you to give them guidance.  Sure, they’ll act like they don’t, but they do.  Keep it relevant, and as brief as possible, but when you see them facing forks in the road, go ahead and speak some good solid words of advice to them.  Share a Bible Verse that fits their situation.  Quote someone they might respect.  You are their greatest resource they have, and they need your direction.  They’ll thank you, even if it takes twenty years.

10.  Encouragement.
It’s hard to be a teenager.  (remember?)  The world will yell and scream all kinds of negatives to your son.  So be his greatest fan.  Be his cheerleader.  Believe in him with your heart, and tell him that you do.  Every.  Single.  Day.  I’m not talking about phony, contrived encouragement (Everyone is a winner!) but the authentic kind that finds their greatest giftings, and speaks them boldly.

11.  An example.
Our kids are watching us.  They get a lot more of an idea about what is right, wrong, good and bad from what you do than what you say.  So take your position seriously.  No, you’ll never be perfect, and you can tell your kid that–but don’t use that fact as an excuse to be lame.  If you don’t want them to swear, don’t swear.  If you teach them to speak well of others, make sure you do the same.  Probably the greatest thing you can do for your son is to model the kind of person you want them to be.

A common key to pretty much everything I have named is that Mom is involved in the teen’s life.  To listen, or discipline..to share a joke, or a hug…you need to be in close proximity to your kids.  For those moms that work long hours or cannot be physically involved in your children’s lives, I encourage you to creatively find solutions for this.  You will never regret making sacrifices or adjustments so that you can be present for your children when they need you.   And the thing with parenting is–you’re never really sure when they’ll need you.  So being there as much as possible is key.  Do what you are able, rely on others to help when you’re not able, and put your job as parent before anything that you possibly can. 

Finally:  If you’re like me, you’ll love parenting your teenage son.  However at times it can feel like a crazy balancing act…Do they need more grace?  More rules?  Do they need space, or hugs, or advice, or WHAT!!!???  It’s ok.  Pray a lot.  Keep communication open and let your kid know that Frankly You don’t know what they need…But you want to be there for them.  If you’ve invested in the early years, then the doors will be open and they will trust and respect you as teenagers too.

Share in comments anything you would like to add, or a question, experience, or suggestion for other moms too.

Also—If you are a boy mom, I highly recommend you follow along over at the MOB (Mother-of-Boys) Society site where I am a team writer.  It’s a great place to be find encouragement, hope, and humor for your boy-raising journey! :)

ALSO–If you have enjoyed this post, or think your friends could benefit–Please share to Facebook, Pin to Pinterest etc!  Thanks so much!
You also might enjoy:  What a Middle School Boy Needs Most from His Parents, and
What an Elementary-Age Boy Needs Most from His Parents.

Much Aloha,

Grommom

PS  A new Motherhood post up:  When you feel like you’re drowning.

 

Aloha, Monica

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Comments

  1. Kristen says

    Monica, every single point is oh so true! My boys are now 21 & 19 and the hard work has paid off!! My oldest has been home for the summer before he goes back to complete his senior year in college. (Where did the time go?) it has been so awesome seeing the “adult” he has become and being able to reap the rewards of sacrifice and commitment I made for all those years. The conversations we have, the support he brings, and the laughter he generates has been a huge blessing to me this summer. He is a man of God and it shows! I am blessed but it took a lot of work and many many mistakes to get there!!

    • says

      Kristen–That is so encouraging to hear!! Thank you thank you. :) Way to go, Mom! I so look forward to those days, (but not so much to rush these days, haha.) Much love to you, and thanks for the encouraging comment! aloha

      • Kerry Smethurst says

        I’m the youngest of 5 girls, no brothers. Who do I give birth to? Twin boys who are very different. They have a great Dad and I a Husband. I’m just at a loss at many times and get can get frustrated. I so look forward to reading and communicating more. So far we have been blessed with good, kind and compassionate sons…. They are 13 now and every single decision I make on their behalf is such a thought process. I would really just appreciate a recipe to read. :)

        • Sheila says

          I also came from all girls. I am clueless about how to raise a boy! I would encourage you to get the book, “The Minds of Boys”. I took a workshop on this topic and got the book at our local early education organization, and it was so eye-opening! Insights into how their brains work differently than ours have been very helpful, not just for my relationship with my son, but also my husband! Good luck!

      • Suzanne says

        Hello Grommom,
        Im a grandmom of 3.Im so happy to have read your article.
        My sons are 24 and 26 yrs old.One is a VeteranCombat Marine,Civil service employee,husband and father.
        My younger son is a College Graduate and a Active Duty Marine.
        I have so much to say to both of them.
        With everything inbetween,we are kinda restarting all over in a sence.
        This will help me greatly to bring back the great years of growth.Just the 3 of us.
        Thank you so much!!!
        Pls subscribe me as Its not letting me..<3.

    • Claire says

      Ditto to Kristen’s comment. My son is turning 20 and I look and admire him for who he has become. As a parent of a 20 year old and a 17 year old, I get to observe what I have done right. Everyone should read your blog Monica! If I had to pick out three things that really made a difference for me and my children, it would be #’s 2 (Boundaries), 4 (listening), and 7 (genuine interest.) The biggest for us was the genuine interest. I started that when he was really little with knowing every Winnie the Pooh character and the sound of it’s voice, through the Power Rangers, Pokemon characters, friends and school items, etc…now his college (which is hard because he is so far away.) Monica I agree with you, if you wait, boys love to have the attention from their mom’s. It’s all in waiting for that “right” moment and that is the “ART” of being a Mom.

      • Kerry Smethurst says

        I would say my weakest link would be interest… From the first day I heard ‘SPONGE BOB, POKEMON, then it spiraled on me, I don’t understand some of their verbiage lingo, etc… I have been spending hours looking up the tech. info. at the very least. Time is spent every day. School, Sports, Sailing, Books, I’m on top of though.

    • Laurie says

      My son is 13 and the fun never ends… I have to agree with everything the moms have said. My son needs a lot of my one on one attention, it gives him a sense of special importance. It’s as if when we are with my husband as a family things never go as well as they do when it’s just him and I. Any suggestions?

      • says

        Laurie–Intersting…I’m pretty sure psychologists would have a lot to say about that…Jealous for your attention perhaps? But it is super healthy for him to see you giving your husband attention as that will help him form his ideas for his own future relationships. Hopefully your husband can give your son special “guy to guy” attention which will become even more important as he goes into his teenage years further…

    • Lisa says

      Kristen…Ditto to your response! I have raised 4 sons, 28 to the youngest turned 21 yesterday. Monica, your article rang true!

  2. says

    My oldest is 13 1/2 and although we aren’t always holding hands and singing in the sunshine, we haven’t hit as much turbulence as I thought we would have at this point. I know we’ve only just begun, but as I was reading your post and nodding throughout, I realized that we really work on doing all the things you mentioned. Sure, there’s always room for improvement, and you mentioned a few things I hadn’t given much thought to (but I am now), but I really think you summed it up nicely with your common denominator: Mom is involved.

    One question I have is do you have a spoken or unspoken agreement with your boys (especially your teens) about what you will and won’t share on the blog? When I was blogging consistently, a lot of material came straight from my kids. But now that they’re older (my youngest are 10 1/2) I am hesitant to share as much because I don’t want them to feel exposed. Not that I would ever want to share anything that would humiliate them, but at this age sometimes saying their name in public is humiliating in their estimation. :)

    • Bethany Morrowl says

      I am a mother of a 14 1/2 and a 19 year old boys. My 19 year old doesn’t care what I write about. My younger son is ok if I write occasionally about something that is important to me and if I keep it brief. I check it out with him first :) That way we have no hurt feelings. When I did it the way I wanted to, he felt like I was betraying his trust and stopped opening up to me. WOW- I did NOT like that! Now things are good again in this area. Hope this helps.

  3. Kandie says

    Loved your piece! My son is 18 now and I still see his need for everything you mentioned, maybe even more now that he is going out into the world to make a life for himself. He never turns down a hug!
    One thing I would like to add to the list is to know and welcome your son’s friends. The boys my son calls friends have been raiding my cookie jar since they were in grade six. These boys have spent endless nights on the couch or the floor or where ever they landed after a late night of movies or video games! I have shared life lessons with them, like no driving if you’ve been drinking, if you don’t tell me where you are all going, you don’t get to go and Mom is always right so go home and apologize!
    The main benefit was that I always knew who my boy was hanging out with! That knowledge is invaluable!
    Now that they are all 18+, they still come to the cookie jar!

    • Kelly says

      I agree! My son’s friends (who are 16) all flock to our house because we have desserts and soda, and give them permission to take over our family room. I love it, and we genuinely love all of them. We give them lots of space and few rules. Luckily they are awesome and respectful boys, so they don’t need a lot of rules. They open our fridge, know where the glasses are, and we love that they feel comfortable enough to do that. It also allows us to know what our son is up to (which is basically nothing), and when the friends are over, my husband and I get to have a movie night in our bedroom. :)

    • Michelle says

      My son has had the same core group of friends since early elementary school. Our house has always been the place they all come to hang out. It started with birthday parties and play dates. It grew into sleepovers, video games, movie nights, and watching sports on TV. We love all of these boys like they are our own. They all stayed here last night one more time before they all head off to different colleges. I got a little teary-eyed this morning as I watched them all asleep and realized that this will be the last time they are all together like this for awhile. Sigh….bittersweet! Of course, I had to take a photo of all of them together before anyone went home! : )

  4. says

    You know what I appreciated most about your blog post? It was down to earth and real, but you can feel that you truly enjoy your boys! I am a mother of 4 boys 17, 15, 13, &11, and I truly enjoy them! Like you pointed out, there are those days, but you know what? It hasn’t been a nightmare! So many people said to me…. “Just wait until the teen years!” But seriously? We’re cruising, loving, working and enjoying these years. I, like you, are loving who they are becoming. So, thank you for speaking for those of us that are truly enjoying these men in training!

    Ellerie

    • Shelly says

      Hi Ellerie,
      I am the lucky mom of 4 boys also! Mine are 6, 5, 3, & 1.5. People tell me that these early years are the hardest with boys……so far, not hard, just ACTIVE and LOUD. (Those 2 words in caps should be BOLD as well!!) I’m hoping the teen years are smooth also, but I fear that I’m having my “smooth” now, and will get my “hard” later! I guess there are no rules because we all have different personalities and it can go either way. :-) Anyhow, thank you for your comment! I appreciate that it was so positive! These days, I tend to hear negative about everything, and it was refreshing to hear that you are enjoying your men in training! :-)

      ~~Shelly

  5. Nancy says

    Thank you for giving me hope that we will survive teenagerdom with our twin boys who turned 13 this year. I love your writing…

    • says

      ENJOYED, I HAVE RAISED 4 BOYS THEY ARE NOW 50,48,46,&47 THEY ARE WONDERFUL MEN NOW. THEIR STEP-FATHER HAS ALWAYS BEEN THERE FOR THEN & MYSELF. LAST YEAR HE HAD 5 STROKES AND IS IN A NURSING HOME AND I HAVE HAD HEART ATTACK. THEY ALL HOLD JOBS AND HELP ,CALLS EVERYDAY TO SEE IF I NEED ANYTHING. I HAVE TAUGHT THEM THE TRUTH. WE HAD ARE UPS & DOWNS. BUT LIFE IS LIFE. TEACH THEM THE WAYS OF GOD THEY WILL BE OK.

  6. Wendy says

    Thanks for this post! I grew up in a house full of girls, so teenage boys are a bit of a mystery to me. As an adult I am the only female in my house–even the dog is a boy!–so this gave me some insight about what to expect when Tommy hits his teens. Thanks!

  7. Angela Gonzalez says

    Absolutely LOVE this! Added my email address to get more “reads” like this, as our son is 11. Want to be the best parents possible through the teenage years! :)

  8. Kathy says

    This was a wonderful article! Will you please add me to your email list so I can enjoy even more of your wisdom? Thank you!

    • says

      Thank you Kathy! I just signed your email address into my “subscribe” tab, so you should receive an email which you’ll need to click on to confirm. If that doesn’t work, try clicking on my “Subscribe” tab and simply fill in your email address to receive future posts by email. Thank you and Aloha!

  9. says

    Thank you for this article! My boys are a few ways away from this stage but I’ve heard so many awful stories that I am already scared. This was a refreshing and encouraging post. I think I’ll print it out and keep it for when I need a good reference in a few years. Good job on raising amazing young men! Blessings.

  10. Stacey says

    Loved all these ideas. I have six boys ages 6-21 (3 girls in the mix too) and these are all true and wise! Keep up the great work!

    (PS: Did you mean “sulky” or “sultry” in the affection section?)

    • says

      Thank you Stacey! Six boys–Holy Cow! :) (and three girls…You are my new hero!)
      I better go back and have a look at the post–I did mean sulky–Not sure if I made a mistake or my editing tool, haha. :) Thanks for pointing that out!

    • says

      Thank you Melanie! Funny, I fully intended to mention in that post the role of the father, and that I might do a follow-up….and yes–I think with my husband’s help I could/should write the Father-version. As we all know, the dad’s role is huge for a son…Much aloha!

      • catherine says

        can’t wait for the Dad version (I’m sure there are lots of commonalities, but still would be interested in the variations!) great post and your aloha comes right through!

      • Kimberly Regan says

        I really enjoyed your article on teenage boys..great read. Please add me as my email had an error occur .Thank u much..My oldest son will be 13 September 16 and my youngest will be 10 September 16 they are exactally 4 years apart

        • says

          Thank you Kimberly! I am adding you as a subscriber–sorry about the error! You’re gonna have a ton of fun with your boys. Keep up the good work, and keep in touch. Aloha

        • Barbara says

          I also have two sons who share the same birthday. They are 9 years apart (22 and 13). My oldest son kept praying for his brother to be born on his birthday, even though we told him that wasn’t going to happen because his brother wasn’t due until 2 months later. We ended up with a preemie born on his brother’s birthday!
          I also enjoyed the article. It is great to be reminded of these things.

  11. says

    Thank yOu. My Son Is Really Struggling Right Now With Who He Is, Boundaries, Not Wanting To Go To Church, With Friends All The Time. We Went From Being Super Close To Me Wondering If He Loves Me Anymore. A Recent Break Up With a Girl Seemed To Fuel A Cold hearted side To Him I’ve Never Known Before. He’s Just 16. Always Been A Great Kid And Wonderful Student. I’m Just Lost! He Acts Like Everything Is My Fault. I’m Praying Things Change Soon.

    • Liz says

      Last fall my son experienced the breakup of his first relationship (a year long with a girl he had been friends with for a couple of years prior). He became extremely depressed and suicidal about it so spent two week-long spans of time in the last few months of his senior year in the local psychiatry unit. He was so close to committing suicide over it that he hung a noose on a local bridge with the intention of using it soon thereafter. What could I do? Go to see him every day and stay from after work until visiting hours were over. Let him talk the first couple of days and then begin to offer encouragement to him. Just be there for him. Still being a teenager, he doesn’t yet appreciate my being there for him, but over time I do foresee him appreciating it. I don’t need to be appreciated as much as I need my son to choose to live life though and am very thankful he is still alive. Since he went to basic training where he has constant supervision I don’t worry as much. My worry will come when he heads to college in a city where he knows no one and therefore no one knows his moods and will not be able to tell if he is feeling down again. That scares me. The absolute BEST thing I can do for him is to pray for him. To me, that is the greatest expression of love for someone.

      • says

        yes, it is…and I am so sorry for all you’ve been through. that is A LOT. I’ll keep you and your boys in my prayers this week. Thank you for sharing openly.

  12. Mindy says

    My son is fixing to turn 12 and even though we are extremely close and he’s a major mama’s boy, I’m worried about the teenage years. Plus even more worried after his father left me earlier this year after 17 years of marriage and now I just lost my job. This has been a horrible year for me!!!!! I enjoyed this article and I would love any and all others. I only have one child, my son. I need all the help I can get right now!!!!

    • says

      Bless your heart, Mindy! I’ll be praying for you…and I am certain that you will do incredibly well with your son. You mean the world to him as well I am sure, so you two can ride this out together!
      Thanks for commenting, and please visit more. I hope to hear from you as you walk in victory through this difficult season. Aloha-

    • Tara says

      Mindy. I am in the same situation. My husband emotionally left me when our son was only 8 months old while I was in the grip of post-partum depression and is going to file for divorce next week. I lost my job in February. I am still struggling with my clinical depression, anxiety and sleep deprivation. I have no family or friends for support. My husband is kicking me out and I have no where to go and for some reason don’t qualify for public assistance (I guess I’m not poor enough yet). My husband invalidates and undermines my parenting authority in front of our son which makes it that much harder to feel like I’m being a good mom and not feeling like a mean strict mom when dad is the fun buddy. My son is now 5 and I’m so scared to take on parenting a teen on my own. It’s hard enough parenting a strong-willed toddler now without support.

      I pray you and I both find strength and courage and needed support and a better job through these difficult times.

      • Valarie says

        Grodman & Tara, I am sorry to hear about your troubles. My advice, get some good counseling for yourself first off! Even if you no longer have insurance, please look to your local community services. I found out the hard way that even if you try to hide your feelings from your kids, it still bleeds out. They pick up your emotional energies & react to them. If you are still getting counseling when they are teens, let them know you are don’t hide it. There is nothing to be ashamed about & it shows that us parents need help & talking time as well, but do not ever tell them the extent of it especially if your issues have to do with the other parent. My ex & I had to have a good talk when our boys were 9 & 7. In this talk we admitted to each other our own faults, forgave the of theirs and decide to work as a team. I had full custody of the boys, but made sure that their dad got all of the time he could. Did dad seem like the buddy, sure he had the money to go do things with them that I didn’t. If I was having issues with my oldest as a teenager all I had to do was call his dad, be honest about the situation, and ask him if he was available to come over. Most of the time he could & we dealt with it as a united front. My awesome guys are now 22 & 20 and we made it through some really horrendous times. Their dad & I divorced when they were 4 & 2 and as parents we did not always get along!!! It took hard work & both of us willing to do so. Now my oldest has had issues with a decent relationship with his dad & I have called his dad and spoke with him on these matters to help keep the door between them open. They are both adults now & I shouldn’t have to do it, but seeing them make a mistake like this and them not talking to each other was not going to be worth it for either one of them. Now my husband & his ex wife are a completely different story. We wish his ex wife would get counseling! They have two, 15 & 13 girls. The mom is very emotionally unstable and it bleeds all over the girls. The 13 yr old handles is better, but the 15 yr old completely regurgitate & copies her mother & older half brother. We are working hard to get both of the girls into counseling, but mom refuses. She tells the girls lies, manipulates, and is down right hostile. She is a horrible & cold mom who’s job comes first tge girls second. My husband discusses over & over again about them having healthy communication & working together to raise the kids, but she refuses. She violates the court order continously and we are getting ready to go back to court to stop the madness & get at least the girls in counseling and hopefully their mom as well. I tell you this because I don’t want anyone to have to go through this. Personally, I think real counseling should be mandatory before you can get a divorce. Not just these 2 hr parenting classes that don’t work! Since your children are young, you have the chance to teach them open communication early, it will make their teenage years easier. Don’t worry about how the future will be, focus on how today will go. Is it hard raising teenagers with both parents being married or divorced, absolutely! But you get to decide how you will walk down that road. Make your decision early & follow through. You may not have the best relationship with your ex, but if the both of you will work on a parenting relationship then you can help to minimize the bumps & bruises. I wish you the best of luck!!
        ~ From a mom who has been there done that & a step mom who continues to fight the worthwhile fight! :)

  13. Dianne says

    The part about talking to them about anything is SO true… and they need it even past their teen years. My son is almost 26 and he will still seek out private times with me just to talk and get his head screwed on straight. While a teen he showed great insights and wisdom, writing short essays that are very thought provoking and solid even. Yes he had his issues (primarily anger because of his dad being removed from the picture and bullying by girls while he was in jr high.) but he’s had a good heart that is sold out for God. I knew everything would turn out good in the end when I saw his determination to get to youth group in the summer – we lived in the BOONIES and he rode a mountain bike 14.5 hilly miles ONE-WAY to get to youth group EVERY Wednesday because I couldn’t get home to get him back to church on time!

    I think it was during his junior year that I started using him as a sounding board when I’ve been working through some things (He was in cross country and I used him as a training coach to work on getting fit again). Both he and I are “outside thinkers” in that we get our answers as we talk things out / do them, rather than “inside thinkers” that get their answers inside their brains before saying or doing hardly anything. I firmly believe that receiving and using his good input also helped to build our communication. It confirms you value what they think and say even if you don’t use everything they say just as they don’t always use everything you say, but it sticks with them.

    Yes there was a period of time that he didn’t like getting hugs from Mom, so I only did it at home… and told him that I needed the hug even if he didn’t… then I made it a quick bear hug and let him go before he would pull away. He now doesn’t have any problem giving me hugs in public and is actually quite protective of me.

    Keep the communication open now and barring some future communication meltdown on your part, you will always have it.

    • says

      Diane–Wow, thank you so much for the comment. It sounds like you have an amazing relationship with your son, and how cool that it has even grown into his adult years. That is super encouraging!

  14. Cindi says

    Thank you so much! I homeschool my son who is 15. I have never seen a teen boy so “okay”!! I come from a large family 13, and have tons of nephews, nieces…now they were always into sports, had lots of friends etc…lot of trouble…etc. Mine is just happy being him! He takes his computer gaming very seriously, and I don’t disturb him while he is doing it. He has made so many friends multi-media!! and he is “happy” with that! he has been homeschooled since the 2nd grade and depending on where we lived, has had some good friends but his social life is his computer, at first it drove me crazy!! because I just am not used to that, I thought my god I must be doing something wrong!! after all I have turned over every stone to get him out a doing what I would consider “normal” activities!! and we were all miserable!! I have just now (and still am) learning to let got and let him be him!! (Charlie). Coercing is not and never will work and especially for a teenager, sure it hurts, I do miss the times we were buddy’s (at a younger age) and doing everything together….but I have to let go…I have to!! for me and for him….

    • Josh says

      Wow, Cindi. From my perspective as the son, I have to wonder if my Mom ever felt this way. I was definitely the computer child in our family, though more the games than the online friends aspect. I don’t know if, or how much, my Mom missing being my buddy; now I want to call and find out. I do try to call home every week ( I recently graduated and am living in FL. She’s in NY ) but since my Dad normally answers and is a long-winded talker, I don’t talk with Mom very much. I’m gonna try to call just for her more often now that I’ve seen you view.

  15. says

    Finally got around to reading this post, and it was awesome! I don’t have a teen yet, but I can’t wait for those years. I know it will be bittersweet, but I’m so looking forward to having the kind of relationship you described. I have a feeling that when the day does finally come, I will remember many of your wise words. Mahalo!!

  16. Cori Welbes says

    My son is now 24 and an officer in the military. All of your points are great, but the best one I know of is to talk to your son while you are doing things together – be it sweeping the garage floor or shooting hoops! Boys will always spill their guts after physical activity! If possible, never, ever let someone else drive your son home after practice – you will always get to hear the real story of his life on the ride home! This practice has transitioned into his adult life and was a life line for both of us while he was deployed – we put into action what we had practiced through his teenage years on Skype!

  17. Robin says

    Thank you for writing this piece! My seventeen-year-old son and I have always had good talks, but he has always been reserved; even as a baby, he resisted affection. But a wonderful thing has happened. Last spring, I decided to start hugging him every day and telling him I loved him whenever we finished a text conversation or he whenever he left the house. Now, just a few months later, I have a son who gives ME hugs and even kisses (on the cheek), and he’s the first to say “I love you” as he walks out the door! I see our relationship growing more than I ever thought possible! So hug those big ole boys – it will be worth it!
    p.s. Please add my email address to your “subscribe” list!

    • says

      Thank you Robin! I just smiled so much reading your comment. What an awesome story!
      I’m adding you to the subscribe list, and you just have to “confirm” when an email comes through. Bless you and keep it up! aloha

  18. Liz says

    I have two sons who I love and admire so very much but they have given me a run for my money. Around the earlier part of middle school they both refused to accept hugs from me anymore and do not welcome them from me. I crave physical contact with them so much. . .it breaks my heart. My oldest left for basic training and refused to give me a hug until the commanding officer yelled at him to give me a “proper hug”. I felt awful and didn’t want him to leave angry at me for getting into trouble for not wanting to give me a hug. . .and certainly hope he doesn’t resent me for her yelling at him about it. Both of my sons have forced the issue with literally everything. . .boundaries, consequences, negotiating, compromising, etc. . .always expecting me to compromise and negotiate very reasonable boundaries I have set (10 pm curfew on school nights, etc.). I have been told by my sons that I cannot tell them what to do or not to do b/c that takes their equality away as well as their constitutional rights. It seems that they started saying these things to me once they entered middle school. Makes me wonder what is being said to them in the classroom and what they are being taught. When I issue consequences such as grounding from the computer I end up with consequences for parenting them appropriately such as glue being poured on my laptop keyboard and monitor. I think they are expecting me to explode, but I was blessed with a lifetime of patience so I’m not one to explode no matter how severe their behavior has been. I keep pressing on in parenting them, maintain the boundaries, continue to issue consequences when needed, praise them when they do good, remain available to them when they need to talk, and love them with all of my heart. I know that they are giving me a hard time right now, but I foresee them growing up to be exceptional men. I will maintain patience as I walk through their teenage years with them. No matter what I am extremely proud of them (they are at the top of their grades/classes in school and are kind and respectful to others even if they aren’t to me all of the time) and love them tremendously. I just hope that one day they will welcome hugs from me again. I miss that so much.

    • says

      Oh Liz…I’m so glad you shared. And it is so important for all of us to remember that you can do everything in your power right, and still be challenged for a season..It sounds to me like you know you have that connection, and one day it will be sweet again. They seem to just know what buttons to push…:( I’m so sorry for that!! Yes, there are many factors that shape our kids–from the classroom, to media, friends, is their dad in the picture?…so many. Just keep praying and loving them, and require their respect, and one day you’ll likely get all of those hugs back again! You’re so sweet to comment. aloha

    • Mom of three sons says

      Liz: I feel for you and I am so proud of you for being so honest. Not every Mom can say a “magic word” and discipline just the “right way: every single moment of the day. I have what our community sees as three perfect boys. Far from it. Lots of days I get no hugs or acknowledgements. Wish I had the army drill officer around to remind them sometimes. Keep trying and praying!!

  19. Melissa says

    So true almost everything u wrote I have done except my boys r not teenagers yet. They r 10 and 8.They know they can talk to me about anything I won’t judge them. If I find out they didn’t tell me i ask them why have yelled at u for telling me They say no. We as parents need to be accepting of everything that comes out of our kids mouth. Then in a calm way explain to them why it’s un acceptable. Then discipline after the. Warning. These days they r questioning everything at a younger age. My oldest at 9 years old wanted to know what a condom looked like and if I could take him Publix to show him. Explain to him when u r ready to come to u before he does anything. These days our boys r under a lot of peer pressure especially more than ever with social media site, text messages etc.

  20. Lora says

    Amazing article! I am the blessed mother of 7 boys & 5 girls (ages 4 mos to 22), & 2 of the boys & a girl are adults & on their own. To add to the communication part, be willing to talk (& listen!) at ALL hours… With my teens, our deepest, most heart touching conversations, happened after midnight. You thought you didn’t get sleep when they were infants? Embrace stage 2 of little sleep. :) Oh, but it’s so worth it to connect with such amazing people.

    • says

      i LOVE that Lora…Just seeing the first stages of “late night talks” recently and it is so special. :) Bless your heart with all of those kids!! You must be an amazing human being. You inspire me!

  21. Sharon Williams says

    From the start, I was relating and in tears, as my Josiah and Jonah will be turning 15 and 13 in April. Thank you for this encouragement and the reality that we are not looking for perfection, but relationship and wisdom to grow between us!

  22. Rachel says

    Thank you for this! I look for all the help I can as I am a single widowed mom of 5, all now 10-21 yrs. my husband died when kids were 3-15 yrs. my boy is the youngest and only boy and my girls are now 13,15,17,21 and man doing this alone is HARD! (I think the added factor of grief sure doesn’t help!) I also know with no man for my son it’s going to be a challenge , he just turned 10 and although we are very close (he was a major daddy’s boy until he died then became super momma’s boy) I know there are things I just can’t teach him being a woman. It was nice to read this to give me pointers in what I CAN do.

  23. Tish says

    My youngest just turned 13 today. We’ve struggled the last 2 years with him. He’s tried marijuana which continues to concern me as to whether he’s still doing it secretly or not. Like you posted, we have our good days and bad. Asking for continued prayer for us as parents and for my sons. The other is 18. Thank you for the encouraging words and for those who have gone through it. There is hope.

  24. Susan Forbes says

    I found with my son from a young age thru teen years to have a relaxed conversation we would do things like put a puzzle together, Legos, Lincoln Logs, something to do together quietly. Boys do not like to just sit and talk (like men) it makes them feel uncomfortable, but to share an activity (not one that makes them have to really concentrate) makes them relaxed. Hope this helps.

    • says

      Super good ideas Susan! I am working on a follow-up post related to the years before they are teens, and this is exactly my experience! :) You are spot-on!

  25. Stacy says

    I love this post. It is so true, especially about boys and need for affection. Their push and pull tug of war with our emotions is hard on a momma. One minute they want to sit close and cuddle and the next minute they don’t want you close. Wish I had read this article years ago. Good job!

  26. Victoria says

    What a great article! My 2 boys are 12 and 11 – these teen years are right around the corner. Thanks for the great advice. Unfortunately I do have to work outside the home and it makes me feel sad that I can’t be here for the boys all the time. Not all of us are fortunate enough to be stay at home moms. I do the best with the time I have with them. How can I get more articles like this from you?

    • says

      Victoria–Thank you so much, and bless your heart as you juggle so much. You are amazing. You can subscribe to my blog and I am definitely planning some follow-up posts since this has proven to be a very hot topic. ;) (See “Subscribe” in my menu bar.)

  27. Kate Wilke says

    Great article! Thank you! I have 3 boys, 12, 10 & 7. I try my best but I feel like I constantly fail at parenting. We have had some issues with my 12 yr old & what’s okay & not okay. I pray we are on the right path now. I struggle with my boys constantly fighting. They get mad and they hit each other. We don’t spank & have only had to a few times when they have done something bad. I have told them continually – that’s not how we handle ourselves. But I can’t make them stop. It makes me sad. I want my boys to be friends. To have a close bond & right now I just feel like they hate each other (mainly 12 & 10 yr old). Individually they are great. Collectively – they are a nightmare. They are only getting bigger & the fighting seems to escalate. I am scared they are going to really hurt each other or worst yet, hate each other. Would love any thoughts you have on this? Thank you again, for the great article!

  28. Kate Bertram says

    What an excellent article! Thank you do much for writing it. I struggle with how to treat my teenage son. I don’t know if I should let him retreat in his man cave and leave him alone, because that was what I wanted when I was that age. I am going to use this as a guide on how to proceed with being his mom from now on. The other day I made him come out of his basement room and play a family game. It was so much fun and reminded me how much I miss him when he doesn’t participate in family things. And I think deep down he really wants to, he just needs to be invited and coerced into things that before he would’ve just done. I need to remember not to just leave him alone!

  29. Colleen says

    Liz…what an awesome post. I can relate to everything you are saying. I too have a 13 and 15 year old. You couldn’t have said it better in your blog than what I think (just need a little reminding and nudging sometimes). I am going to print this blog out and put it on my bedside table to read when I forget. I am also going to share with all my friends who have teenage boys. Thanks for the ENCOURAGEMENT!

  30. Kris says

    I really enjoyed reading your article. I have a 10 year old and a 12 year old and have heard so many things about the tween years and teen years, it makes my head spin! But you really made sense. I’m looking forward to watching my boys grow into men and your advice will stay with me!

  31. Tracey says

    Like many others, I struggle with boys whose personalities are polar opposites. Knowing that I have this set of needs to remember as they grow up helps, but I still have to learn to adjust each need to the individual child to make it work. Anything you have on how to be “fair” with both a well-mannered, good common sense, clean thinking, well-rounded child and the ill-mannered (take off your hat, clean up your language!), risk-taking, dirty-minded, and inactive child would be appreciated. I’m often accused of being unfair or picking on one. I want them to both walk away from me thinking I was a good, fair, understanding parent.

    • says

      Oh Tracey–Great topic…I totally know what you are talking about. Our 2nd in line has a totally different personality and skill set than the first and we are working HARD to figure all of that out. I’d love to address those things and what we have learned soon. The main thing I have done is be very clear that how I parent (rewards, consequences etc) absolutely go with the behavior and not with my love for the kid. If the more ill-mannered kid wants to test me—he can try behaving according to what he knows is expected and watch himself get blessed like crazy. :) Keep up the good work!

  32. Amber McNeil says

    Good words! It has been a joy watching my son grow into the young man he is. He just graduated from high school and watching him register for classes and doing things on his own make me so honored to be his mom. It is an affirmation of all the love and work joyfully put forth.

    ***NOTE: Please tell me you meant the word, surly, NOT sultry :-) ***

  33. Gary D Howland says

    Great points! However, just as a woman is necessary to help a girl become a woman, a man is necessary to help a boy become a man.

  34. Becky says

    The most fascinating part of article is how you wrote to a very large audience – no mention of the dad… You addressed married moms, single moms, widowed moms, working moms; and we all needed to be included. As a single mom (after 2 decades of marriage), I say thank you for your precious words of wisdom. I have two 14 yr old boys, and I am printing this out to serve as a reminder how I can fill my boys’ cup up daily.
    Proverbs 31:26- “… the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”

    • Jennifer Krummert says

      I AM VERY HAPPY to say that I am doing most of those things with the 13 yr old and DONE them with my 19 yr old and I HAVE BEAUTIFUL YOUNG MEN THAT WILL BE GOOD MEN SIMPLE BUT SATISFIED AND KNOW HOW TO MAKE A GOOD CHOICE AND WHAT MAY happen if they choose incorrectly. I am a very PROUD SINGLE Mom of 2 teens, this advice is sound and of good use!

      • Natalie says

        Love, love, love your article! I am a mom of 5 kids, 4 are boys. My oldest is 2 1/2 months away from turning 18. Unfortunately for him, he was diagnosed quite late in the game (age 13) of broad spectrum form of autism as well as having bi-polar tendencies ( they won’t diagnose that until they are atleast 18). Not only is this my first rodeo, bit we’ve had special circumstances to deal with as well. The only thing that has kept things going and “on the right track”for him is the fact that he and I have always had great open communication. We have dealt with a number of issues including picking sub par friends because he didn’t feel worthy of any one better, to doing anything to make people like him regardless of if it got him in trouble, to “self medicating” with street drugs and other peoples narcotics. By the grace of God we found out early enough and have done everything from going to counseling together , praying together, using firmer boundaries, to finally sending him to a military acadamy. It has been soooo hard to ignore the pleas of let me come home- I promise I will be better! But I know in the end he will end up being a productive citizen that I will be proud to call my son. The main thing is: NEVER give up on them! Unconditional love might seem like a no-brainer. But there are a lot of kids that don’t feel like they get that from their parents. Just love them, and the rest will follow!

  35. Kathy Rataj says

    Just let them know you are there. Have 3 sons aged 25 23 & 18. Divorced so maybe a little off kilter but…..Talk to them! You may only get a word or two at first but it pays off in the end. We actually chat now. I LOVE TALK TIME WITH ALL OF MY BOYS!

  36. lisa says

    Thank you for your Blog! Everything you say speaks to me. I have 2 sons.. one that just turned 13 (his Bar Mitzvah is next Saturday) and one that is 14.5. I come from a family of girls and we have VERY few men in our lives so I’m always looking for modeling. I will be reading your posts… keep them coming!

  37. says

    Loved the article! I’m a mother of three boys: 31, 22, and 11. Yes, they are spread out, but then again, after we married and we were told ” little chance of pregnancy” due to my endometriosis – each were welcomed with joy and surprise!
    These teen years were very different w/my two oldest—in fact, my only fear when I learned we were blessed with a third boy was, “OH NO, not another teen?!”
    Thanks for spelling out what WAS important. You nailed it, 100%!

  38. Bre says

    Our son is grown but I would like to encourage Moms about the backing off stage. I thought our oldest daughter would quit kissing me goodbye when she started middle school. I was pleasantly surprised when I walked her in the first day, she kissed me by in front of kids without hesitation. It didn’t even cross my mind with our second daughter and it was never an issue either. I was prepared with our oldest but caught totally unaware with our youngest, our only son. When he backed off when I started to kiss him, it was really hard. I respected him but continued telling him I love him. I was quite surprised when he was about 14 or 15 and he kissed me in front of a large group of boys and girls. When a girl commented, “That’s so sweet.” I suddenly realized sometimes they do go back to being more affectionate if only to “impress the girls”. LOL By the way, our baby turned 40 this year and he never stopped. He still rarely kisses his Dad but always hugs him. Being a parent is very difficult, trying, emotional and rewarding. It is one of the most difficult and one of the best things you will ever experience in your life. I would also like to comment on the “Boys will be boys” excuse for teenage sex. No one seems to care that boys have sex too young. In our house, I made it clear that even if the girl wants to experiment it is his responsibility to control the situation. Just because a guy is not carrying around a baby doesn’t rid him of the responsibility. Not only does teenage sex put them in danger of changing their whole lives (not to mention the baby) but it could start a habit of untold numbers of sexual partners. My question has always been: Who do you think these “boys” are having sex with? You’ve got it, our daughters. Mothers please tell your sons it is not okay to violate a girl’s body.

  39. says

    You left out something…..GOD…..pray for that boy everynight……Knowing the one who made him…loves him is uncomparable to any other kind of confidence…. And Be envolved… Know his friends well enough they drop by without even calling… That way he doesnt live one life with his friends and another with you

  40. Amy Barnhart says

    To the point of public displays of affection: We had a humorous version of this happen a few months ago. I have a 13 year old son and a 4 year old. (Long story for another day ;))

    We are an affectionate family, hugs, kisses. One Sunday we were at church and as I was talking to one of the ushers my “big boy” came walking by on his way to serve with the preschool ministry. He started to give me a fly-by hug. I forgot where we were and out of habit kissed him on the cheek. He said, “momma!” And the usher teased me and said, “you should know better than that! You embarrassed your boy.” My son said, “exactly. There might have been cute girls I want to impress.” I went into worship service, heartbroken, tears in my eyes realizing ‘that day’ had come. Told a friend about it after church, at which point big boy walked up and she told him, “the best girls will be impressed when you let your momma kiss you in public.” To which my husband established the new house rule.

    “Look at it this way. ONE of your parents will be kissing you in public. You get to choose which one.”

    Very quickly my big boy said, “Momma.”

    Hasn’t been a problem since then. I’ve also been more aware of only doing it when he’s ok with it. Today I was blessed with “cuddles” from big boy. Doesn’t happen as often as it did when he was little, which makes it even more special.

    Thank you for your article. I can give an amen to enjoying your children and laughing with them. We love being together as a family and one of my favorite things to do is introduce him to old funny movies.

  41. Rosa says

    I loved this article, thanks so much for sharing it with us!!! One thing I started many years ago when my son was in 2nd grade was asking how his day went. Now you can imagine the answer I got, nothing, what did you learn, nothing, etc. so one day I pulled the car over and said I was going to drive back to the school to ask his teacher, what do you do all day?!?! Then he opened up, well we did this in math, I ate lunch with so and so, etc. I’m not kidding when I say we have continued this each school day, and next month he will be a senior in high school. Now as we are checking out University’s we have a bond of communication that has been planted on a solid foundation, it is a beautiful thing!!!

  42. Marilyn Robai says

    Very helpful article .
    my son is 151/2 and is a quiet one. we haven’t had any trouble so far,but l often wonder whether lam meeting his emotional needs.

  43. Ilene Sherron says

    I am a grandmother of nine grandchildren and have two grown boys of my own. They are entirely different. The oldest I had the most problems with but he is hard working and has had to raise four children with family help since his wife left him when the youngest was two. This one is now sixteen and has had problems in school every since he has been in school. His mother kept him in his crib or highchair practically all the time unbeknowing to my son who worked two jobs and worked his main job at night therefore sleeping during the day. I have seen the goodness in my grandson and want so for him to settle down and do the things he knows are right. However he’s rebellious and thinks he knows more than anyone else. He has also gotten in with the wrong crowd at school and smokes what he shouldn’t, nothing hard but certainly could lead to other things. He will tell you what you want to hear and go on doing what he knows is wrong. I have almost come to the conclusion that he will have to fall hard to wake up, however I don’t know what that would be so I am afraid for him. He’ s a hard worker with his hands and will do things that he sees needs to be done without asking him to do them. However, he won’t do them at home for his Dad. My son says he has tried everything he knows, but I do know that he is short on patience. I can understand that at time because I as of late don’t know what to do. He needs more supervision that I know because my son still works at night. All in all I do a lot of praying. I am seventy years old and my health is not good, and I want so much to see him do well. Any suggestions?

  44. Steve says

    As a dad. My sons and our relationship maybe a little different. But this is good info for me too. Thank you.

    • says

      Thank you so much Steve! My husband and I are actually working on a post for Dads…and yes, much of it will overlap for sure. Most importantly–You take the time to read and care–That sets you apart from 99% of the dads (or more. :)) Much aloha and check back for the dad post soon. :)

  45. Kendra says

    Wow….I found this on Pinterest and clicked on it, fully expecting some sappy, trite parenting crap (as a mom of 10 I have encountered a lot of “crap” on parenting blogs, forums, books, magazines, etc), but every one of these was so spot on. I would say they also apply to teenage girls. I have 5 teenagers at home right now and I can honestly say that they are my best friends, thanks, in no small part, to doing things like those you have listed here! Just awesome! I found myself nodding at your description of teen years being the reward-so true! Just wanted to say kudos to you for the job you’re doing and for so perfectly articulating the thoughts and feelings I, too, have. :)

    • says

      Hello–Mom of ten!? I might take this as the greatest compliment of all so far…haha. I’m truly honored that you even took time to read. And couldn’t love your words any more. :)
      I happen to be jealous of you–At 43 (almost 44,) my husband and I still occasionally considered having “just one more!?” Oh I love them all so much. Enjoy and thank you again! Hope you’ll stop back and offer all of us advice any time! aloha

  46. Darcy says

    OMG, this is exactly why I have a great and open relationship with my son. He is now an adult but we can still communicate and he is always there. He is in the Navy and soon heading to Great Lakes, IL for his next duty station. He WANTS his mom to visit so I will go there as soon as I can. Thank you for sharing your insight.

  47. Tricia Akins says

    My son is only 6. We have an awesome relationship. We laugh we talk and we play. I agree with all of your points. If you want that great relationship later. You have to build it now. I want him to know me now so when he is going through difficult times later he knows I am here for him.

    Thanks for the advice.

  48. Brittanie Tucker says

    I’m having trouble subscribing and keep getting an error message. Are you able to sign me up please?

    • says

      I am adding you to the subscriber list–So sorry for the glitch in the system.
      If you do not get a “confirm subscription” email today, please check back. I hope to have this fixed ASAP. ;) Aloha!

  49. Tiffany says

    Thank you! I have a 13 1/2 yr old boy, my only child, and my heart. He’s entering 9th grade, which saddens me to think of only 4yrs left, and he knows it. We have a very good relationship, but I know things can rapidly change with teens. I will be sure to continue the things I do from your list and other posted suggestions, as well as those I’ve yet to try. I work a lot, travel included, so my focus has always been about quality time. I prefer to have his friends at our house, and he knows it’s so I always know where he is and who he’s with. They are great kids, and often very entertaining with their jokes and conversation. Please add me to your subscriber list as my submission errors out. Thx again.

    • says

      Thank you Tiffany! Sounds like you’re juggling a lot with great skill! Keep it up and he will continue to do great in high school.
      I am adding you to the subscriber list–sorry for the challenges. If you do not get a “confirmation” email today, please do check back. I’m seeking help for this little glitch. :) aloha!

  50. Leanne says

    Wow! I was so meant to read this tonight! My 3 teenage boys & I have a good open relationship. I’ve been criticised often for being too much of a friend. Not being tough enough. Giving them too much of my time, energy (& taxi service) At 13,
    15 & 17, I love the chaos!! haha I get sad to think it will end soon & they’ll be gone.
    Think I’ve tried to be mum & dad for them as he was a cruel & narcissistic bully. I escaped from him when my eldest began speaking at me with the same nasty tone.
    Have now found an amazing man who loves me & has taken on the ever thankless role of stepdad. Of you can offer some support for stepdads, that would be awesome! They are in a tough place & deserve more respect. I’ve subscribed to your email list. Warm regards. Leanne*

    • says

      I’ll get you in there. So sorry about that! If you do not get an email “confirmation” today, please check back. I’m having someone help me solve this prob. :)
      Thank you and aloha!

  51. says

    Our youngest son, who is 23, married and expecting our first grandchild – sent me this post and said what every mom wants to hear – Mom you did this for me.
    My husband and I have raised 3 amazing men. We are on staff at our church (husband is one of the pastors and I’m the Children’s ministry director) for 18 years and the question I am asked the most is how did we survive 3 boys. Our goals were that- they grew up to know and love Jesus – check. They were a blessing to others who knew them – check. They were respectful – check. I also tell young moms – it takes a lot of work when they are little but it pays off. We also enjoyed those teen years. Yes there were some challenges along the way but because the foundation had been set when they were little guys – it made those challenges MUCH easier. I love being a boy mom and just found out this first grandchild is a boy! Nervous for the first granddaughter that will be very uncharted territory.

    • Josh says

      I mailed this post to my Mom too. I hope she enjoys it as much as you did. In our case, I’m the oldest and my Mom has a 13 and 15 yr old left at school, but I feel the same way as your son, ‘Mom, you did Great!’.

  52. Emily says

    • says

      Thank you Emily. (My 4 yr. old is giving us a run for our money. :)) I’m w/ ya!
      I will put your subscription in…If you do not get a “confirmation” email today, would you be so kind as to let me know?
      No idea what has happened to my subscriber setup, but I am seeking help on it now. :) aloha

  53. 1busymomx4 says

    I do agree with the part about modeling behavior. So many preach “do as I say, not as I do”.
    My thought was the only job more important than loving your kids is your Marriage.
    I have also reminded some moms that discipline is not punishment. That is what consequences are for. Discipline is teaching, from Latin derivative disciple. Boys need that. Without lecturing, every moment is a teachable one.just a few words will suffice.

  54. Kristin Kearns says

    I am the mom of 3 boys, 17,14 and 12. I love being the mom of teenage boys! They are absolutely hilarious! Love this article, spot on! Thank you!

  55. says

    These are definitely some great points to remember, especially as I have a son that’s about to turn 13 in a couple of months.

    My 17 year old step son recently came to live with us because his mother cut him out of her life due to a few bad choices that he had made. This, in turn, caused him to act out even more to the point that he’s now out of control…and ours to handle. I try to love him as much as I can, but I’m no replacement for the love and bonding that he’s missing now from his real mother, who won’t even allow her own son at her home anymore. So, I could probably write a book covering the opposite end of the spectrum; what happens when a teenage boy doesn’t receive any of the things from his mother that are listed in this article. I know firsthand just how important these things are.

  56. Terry says

    Enjoyed reading this…
    My boys are grown and daughter are grown. Did many of the things you mentioned. Parents must also remember that no matter if their child followed your rules and example set; no cussing, no drinking, no drugs….there may be those kids that rebel. Once grown, then do everything you yourself never did or would not allow. Once adults, some may ask “what happened…they weren’t raised that way”. No, they weren’t. But as I told mine, you do what I ask in my house. Once you are a legal adult and fail to follow my advise and make choices, you have to be the responsible one for those choices. For example…I always told mine, if you end up in jail through your own actions…don’t call me. You get a speeding ticket and don’t pay….that is your responsibility, not mine. Sounds harsh but how they are raised…with rules, finding their way, with love, just as in your article, some decide to go the opposite way. Parents, once your child is an adult, their actions fall on them….not you. Be there to always love but you can’t dig them out of the hole they put themselves into. If you hear your child and even your adult child say “I hate you” don’t worry….then you know you must be doing the right thing. They do like the direction, but like to argue the fact. They also think that as an adult they can do what they want. True, but those dicisions come with responsibility…… and sometimes your adult “children can’t handle that” but think they know everything. Then you tell them you love them, your rules in your house remain and if they can’t or won’t follow that, its time for them to go.

    • says

      Thank you Connie. I’m adding you to the subscriber list, and it should send you a “confirmation” email shortly. If you do not receive it, please check back. SO sorry for the inconvenience–I’m trying to get this problem solved! :) Aloha!

  57. Suzanne says

    I don’t think we can underestimate the impact our relationship with “Dad” has on our teen age boys and the way they see themselves in the world. Do you ever really look at yourself and how you treat their father? What is your style when it comes to disagreements, solving problems, spending money? What is your son learning from watching you and Dad interact? Actions speak louder than words and if we want to teach our sons to love and respect and to feel loved and respected, then they have to see it.

    • says

      Jennifer-Yes, and I’m so sorry for that…Just check back in if you do not get a “confirmation of subscription” email today. :) I’m working hard to solve this prob! aloha

  58. JR2's mommy says

    Enjoyed reflecting on these points..I have a 14 and 15 yr old and it is helpful to see my feelings and thoughts summarized in your blog :-)This could also be a ” What teenage boys need most from their dad”..isn’t it ? I would love to find one to share with my husband .

    • says

      Thank you for this! And yes…My husband, whose role is enormous in my boys’, life is helping me write the follow up “What a teenage son needs most from his Dad.” :) check back for that in the coming weeks! aloha

  59. Gwen says

    Excellent article. One thing I would add is that, like all in all things, we are all different. Don’t feel bad if the teen years are not your favorite as it seems for this author. Some mothers look upon the earlier years as their favorites, some the baby years, etc. The late teen years were pretty hard with one of our sons, the middle school/jr. high for one, and the other was pretty easy. So if you read this and were dismayed, don’t be. What the author lays out is still wise even if your outlook is not quite so cheery. You will get through it. Almost all boys grow up to be men. We just have to be the best mothers we can be and ask God to make up for our deficiencies. By the way, my “boys” are 44, 41, 32. Some things change through the decades but much more stays the same. :)

    • says

      Super good points, Gwen. I have felt guilty in the past when my friends “LOVED” the baby years and I half enjoyed them and half endured them…haha. We are all different. Great point! Way to go on raising up your boys into men! aloha

  60. Will says

    Thank you for this blog. I’ve passed it along to my wife for her to read. We do not have teenagers yet, our boys are 6&8, but I want to be prepared for the challenges ahead. Do you have any Dads of boys blogs that you’d recommend?

  61. Julie says

    Thanks so much. I have four sons ages 10, 8, 5, and 4. I need all the help I can get. lol I loved this article.

  62. mary howell says

    This was an awesome read!! I have been a mom for 31 years..a single mom for 8..It is a whole different ballgame being a single parent,,my last is 15. His father is not involved in his life and lives 3 hours away,,which is sad to me..First I had to get my life in order by the power of God..I had a lot of changing to do to be what my son needs me to b . We are on this journey together and I treasure it!! I can’t b mom and dad that is why I rely on Gods strength and wisdom..Thank you blessings to all us moms!!

    • says

      Mary–You sound like an amazing woman. I hear your heart through you words…Bless you. Keep up the good work. God is enough and I am sure He is doing a great work together with you. :)
      Much aloha and thank you for your kind comment!

  63. Travis says

    Grommom, I saw this link on my facebook, checked it out; you’ve made excellent points and suggestions! Being a home school dad of 5 children, 3 boys, I’ve got one thing to add; Let them be and do the stupid boy things that mom’s don’t understand like get in a fight to protect themselves, their honor, or someone else. Win, lose or draw; they learn much. Along with this don’t baby them too much as they get closer to 18. This is a true saying, “the boy has to die for the man to take his place.” Many mom’s never get this and attempt to keep the boy, and then the man does not come. Much blessing to you.

    • says

      Thank you Travis–those are all awesome points! I’ll make sure my husband reads it as together we are working of the “Dad” version of this post. :)
      Funny, I was trying to decide whether to let my middle school son skip a grade, and as i balanced the pros and cons my wise friend (who also homeschooled her slightly older boys,) said “If you can, push him ahead–You don’t want to be homeschooling an 18 year old man.” haha. I totally get that. :)
      Much aloha and thank you for your wise points!

  64. Becky Lehr says

    A chassity ring to remind him that his body is God’s Holy Temple and we must keep our bodkies pure for future our mates/spouses.

    He must believe you really do know when he went through a stop sign or drove too fast. (This will work at least on the first one.) He must believe your head spins all the way around.

    Rules are okay, in fact, rules are great. Your sons will actually feel safer with rules.

    Mom you PRAY and you pray and you pray. Sometimes you know not but you know something’s just not right, could be in your gut, could be in his tone of voice, he may no t even be home. You pray and you pray and you pray. It will be okay, somehow it just will. God is with us.

    Good Luck and Have a ton of fun.

  65. says

    Hi Monica. I really enjoyed your post. I too am a home-schooling mom that lives in paradise(San Diego)! We visit Kauai every other year as God has blessed us with a time-share on Poipu. We schooled my daughter from 1rst to graduation and she has grown into a beautiful young woman of 19 who teaches piano to young children and is a Jr. High leader at our church. My son has also grown into an amazing young man who along with surfing and teaching guitar is a worship leader at our church and in his spare time writes worship music. I tell you this not to brag but rather to encourage you to go the distance in your schooling because you will reap the fruit of everything you do. Blessings to you and your family and Mahalo for your blog!

  66. says

    As a WAHM of 2 boys (18 yo & 15 yo), I absolutely LOVED this article! I also really enjoyed reading so many of the comments from other Moms. It truly takes a village to raise a child now a days and I just love a honest, ethical, common sense approach. There seems to be so many other like minded moms following you and I am thrilled that one of my dear friends shared this on FB. I definitely plan to share on my FB page too and head over to the MOB Society site to connect with others. Thank you so much & blessings to you all! ††

    • says

      I will sign you up! :) So sorry for the challenges w/ subscription. If you don’t receive something in the next day check back in. Thank you so much and Aloha!

  67. Ramona says

    Well hello ladies. When my son turned 13, I wondered where my real son went to… this boy was talking back and often would take a mile when given an inch. It’s been a tumultuous ride since then. He’s 18 now. I’m a single mom and have a daughter 16 also, who is much easier to parent than my strong willed son. I’ve had a lot if growing pains myself. The funny thing is, that I still hear compliments from other parents about my son—he is well-liked.

  68. Joann says

    Hi my name is Joann, I am a first time reader. I am trying to sign up, however, There is an error message. What should I do? I am so excited about reading more of you blogs. I am a parent of a 13 year old boy.

    Thank You

    Joann

    • says

      Yes Joann, I will get you signed up! :)
      So sorry about the glitch–I’m trying to get it worked out now! You should receive an email confirmation, but if you don’t get something from me in the next day, check back in. Thanks so much for stopping in! :) Aloha

  69. Sarah says

    Thanks for this article! My boys are still itty bitty- 1 and 3.5, but I love reading things like this to prepare better for the future. Please add my email to your subscription service, I’d love to hear more, especially the father version of this article!

    • says

      Thank you Sarah! You are SO WISE to start thinking ahead. The years do fly, and you won’t forget the things you learn when they are little!
      I added your name to the subscriber list, so you ought to be getting an email to “confirm” soon. If you don’t, please let me know! Sorry, and aloha!

  70. Deborah Sydenham says

    Hi there I tried to register but it failed. Could you please add me to your mailing list and updates. Thank you very much.
    Kind regards
    Deborah

    • says

      I just added your name…You ought to get an email asking you to “confirm subscription” soon. If you don’t, please check back. So sorry, I’m trying to get this resolved! :) ALOHA

  71. Vicki says

    I have raised two girls, now successful, independent women. Your very good advice applies to raising girls, too, and I would add that when you’re wrong, admit it and apologize. No one is right all the time, and in moments of anger, fatigue, or fear, we all do and say things that later we wish we hadn’t. Never be afraid to ask for forgiveness when you mess up; you’ll get it. There’s nothing like your child putting their arms around you and saying “That’s OK, Mommy.” (One of my daughters would pat my shoulder consolingly.) That’s how they learn to apologize with grace and sincerity when they are wrong. Children learn what they see, we all know that.

  72. Bill says

    I enjoyed reading everything you wrote. It is valuable and spot-on information. Two things I emphasized as a parent going through this teenage period of my two kiddos’ lives (now 31 and 26) were to choose their friends carefully. And that anytime they were in a tough spot of peer pressure, they could use me as their excuse to get out of those situations. My dad would kill me…etc.

    • says

      Oh so good Bill! Thank you. In a different post I shared one of my favorite quotes I use on my boys “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” So true! Thanks for commenting!

  73. Angela says

    AWESOME POINTS MONICA! SO GLAD TO SEE OTHER MOMS LOVING THE TEENAGE YEARS TOO! THANKS FOR SHEDDING A POSITIVE LIGHT ON TEENAGERS! …ANGELA

  74. Angelique Williams says

    Couldn’t subscribe, so there’s my email :) Loved this article..I have a teen daughter at the moment and my son is only 12 so still lets me hug on him a little bit, but I can see the signs of ‘okay, mom!’ The younger years were easy peasy for me, but NOW I could use a helping hand! Thanks!

  75. Monique says

    Thanks for the article!
    Please add me to your subscriber list as my submission errors out. :-(
    Thank you so very much.

  76. Christina says

    Thank you so very much! I’m a mother of 2 teenage boys 15 going on 16 in less than a month, 13 1/2 yr old boy and a 6 yr old daughter. I would lie in bed at night thinking how can I wake up and be a better mother? It’s tough raising teens… They are great boys thankfully but there’s never enough time spent with your children. I read this & it felt so real… I was reliving my everyday life… Thanks for all your advise; I guess I’m on the right track =) Looking forward to receiving new updates regularly.
    Thanks again!

  77. Glynnis Fadok says

    Love your article and couldn’t agree more with each point. I too have sons age 13 and 15, and love seeing the mini-men they are becoming! I also have a 25 year old daughter and can attest to the fact that raising boys is VERY different than raising girls…especially in those awkward teen years where they’re trying to find their way. My 15 year old son has Asperger’s which throws a whole different challenge into the mix, but my husband and I try to stay consistent with open communication and letting them try to figure things out while knowing we are always there for them. We’ve always strived to be the home where friends feel comfortable coming even if the boys aren’t there.

    One rule that we’ve always played by is this: We (Mom and Dad) will never embarrass you in front of your peers, and in return don’t ever pretend you don’t know us! I will never ask you for a kiss or a hug in public unless you come to me first; I will never wipe your face with spit on my thumb, or say anything that would embarrass you in front of your friends or peers and I will save the lectures or 20-questions for private. We will respect your cool dude status with them as long as you don’t turn your back when you see us, or avoid acknowledging that we are sharing the same air when we’re within eye shot of one another. We try to teach that respect goes both ways and that acknowledging us not only shows respect for us, but also shows their friends what a healthy relationship with a parent can look like.

    Finally, I tried to subscribe to your site but it failed. Would you mind adding me, please? Happy parenting!

  78. Mom says

    Great article, couple things I would add: How to treat a woman. As a single mom of 3 boys I made sure my sons knew to treat a woman with respect, as an equal and protect her under any circumstances. In my house if they laid a finger on their sisters they were in big trouble. (even if she started it) Manners etc started young, as soon as they could open a door. I remind them still that their GF is to be treated with respect, even if she doesn’t act like she wants it. (that’s a whole other topic!)
    2. How to date. In their teens and college, kids have more freedom and I wanted to be sure they knew how to treat the opposite sex while dating BEFORE they left home. Dating a young woman because she’s beautiful but has no other redeeming quality, dating someone who doesn’t believe in God or who has opposite values etc is a losing proposition. Why would you bother? We talked about all aspects of dating and above all, respecting themselves. (thats not just for girls). So many teens think sex is a form of entertainment rather than the most important thing you can share with someone you love. I also used to tell them before that thought enters their heads, are they ready to be attached to that person for the rest of their lives? One unintended pregnancy and you are in it for life. I also have consoled them on getting dumped and let them know that it is all part of life but nobody should be someone’s second choice. I remind them of their positives (even though I may be a bit biased) and let them know its OK to feel bad. At some point though you move on because THE ONE is probably out there breaking up with HER BF or also getting dumped. She’ll be looking for THE ONE as well. Choose a partner who loves you for you and unconditionally. Recently a mom of one of my sons GF’s thanked me for raising such a good and respectful young man. I’d say when the moms of daughters thank me…I must have done something right! Keep up the good work, love the article!

    • says

      Oh yes–SO many great thoughts there…And indeed that could be a post (series!) of its own so I’ll tuck it away in my back pocket! :)
      My boys are on the younger side of the teens, and so far dating isn’t even in their lives, but I’m sure it won’t be long…Thanks for your awesome, wise words!

  79. Linda McMillan says

    Our two sons, now 37 and 31 are wonderful men and we didn’t have drug issues, etc. with them. One thing I did that I think REALLY made a huge difference was this: I never went to bed until they got home. I was always up and available to talk and when they would come in, we talked – often and many times for hours into the middle of the night. I was fortunate to be an at home mother and I think that was also a huge reason our boys turned out so well. We talked about girls and their heartbreaks, etc. and I always taught them to trust the Lord throughout all their trials, no matter how hard. Another thing I did for all my kids was I showed them that I trusted them. I knew their hearts and because I knew they weren’t wild children, I never gave them a curfew. I always told them “Have a good time and don’t be too late.” They KNEW what “too late” meant! I told them, “I will ALWAYS trust you until you give me a reason NOT TO!” I also told them “Once you loose a person’s trust, it’s very hard to get it back, so don’t do things that will make me not trust you, because I WANT & DO trust you!” That’s showing that you respect them.

  80. Tia says

    I just read your article and would like to subscribe to the weekly notificication. It gave an error, could you sign me up please?

    Thank you in advance,
    Tia

  81. Daizyand4 says

    Loved the article and all the comments. I have 4 teenagers in my home ages 13-17 and was able to see some great points. Thank you so much for taking the time to share.

  82. Qwerty says

    Though I completely agree with every point made, I’m not sure why the title isn’t What Every Kid Needs From Their Mother….nothing that you’ve said is specific to boys – they all apply to girls completely.

    • says

      I’m so glad to hear that Qwerty! I guess I wasn’t confident enough to say that because I don’t have girls..but I WAS a teenager and you’re right–I agree! haha. That is great news! (Feel free to pass it on to friends w/ daughters!)

  83. says

    Monica – loved your article! You inspired me to do my own post about teenage boys and the moms who love them. You hit the nail on the head with each and every topic. New subscriber via Feedly here!

  84. Kate says

    Great article. I have several additions:

    I agree with the addition of “family time” and “one-on-one time” are both critically important.

    Also, knowing your kids’ friends! I love when my house is full of kids, and I can see for myself who my kids’ friends are!!

    I tell my daughter, 17, that “My job is to know where you are and who you are with.” I insist on that, but work very hard to NOT tell her where she may go or whom she may be with. Next year she will be at college, so I regard this as a progressive transfer of judgement and responsibility to her, while I am still here to confer with.

    When she reached the age that her friends were driving (and later she was) we talked about the “ABSOLUTELY NO DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE” rule, which applied to being a passenger of such a driver. I told her that if she called in the middle of the night and asked me to come get her, I would, no questions asked. In this age of cell phones, we even developed a code, that she could call me and make it sound like she was ordering a pizza, giving the delivery address where I would pick her up, if the situation was tense. She has never needed to call me, and I attribute this in great part to the face that she knew how very, very important this was and has avoided all such situations.

    On the topic of sex, my approach has been to share with her my values and hopes for her behavior, but also to recognize that ultimately the decision is hers. Growing up in a rural Catholic community, I saw too many girls avoid responsibility for the decision (“I was drunk”, “It just happened”, or even to semi-consciously put themselves in the situation of date-rape). The result was of course often miserable. I would rather my daughter be given permission to make a conscious, responsible, mature decision. Statistics have shown girls whose parents take this approach are more likely to delay sexual activity and to use protection. As far as I know, my 17 year old isn’t yet sexually active, but I trust her to make good decisions for herself.

  85. MomofBoyz says

    I also have a Josiah(18) & Jonah(14), lol!
    My boyz are 24, 22, 18, and 14 (&12 yr old girl) I can relate to most of what you have said and crazy even tho they have the same blood, all are SO different from each other. You would think I have it figured out by now but…NOPE, still learning. Biggest struggle is my 18 yr old has always been the selfless giver, never asked for anything, always content with life & very happy go lucky, make everyone laugh kid and suddenly he has become a very selfish complainer. It just started less than a year ago and I am at my wits end. I miss the heart he used to have.

    • says

      Oh that must be so hard to take! I can’t imagine seeing the selfless one become selfish…(ouch.) I’m gonna give you my best guess that it is a stage and he will probably be very convicted one day and realize that he is more miserable acting like that…but give it time and prayer and see. (and do report back!:) Much aloha!

  86. Kristin R says

    My son is now 24 (where did the time go??) He has Asperger’s Syndrome, which makes parenting him a little more challenging. I still found all of these techniques to be invaluable during his teen years (and before, as well as after teen years). He has now decided to go to university to become an anthropologist…a huge step from the young man who refuse to even THINK about higher education a few years ago!

    The only thing I would add to this list would be Don’t be afraid to admit you are wrong and say sorry. It will help keep those walls down, and lines of communication open. We are all human, we all make mistakes and our boys (girls too) need to see how to make an effective apology.

    Oh, and as a side note these tips worked just as well with my girls. Thanks for a great article, grommom.

  87. KARLA ANDERSON says

    I couldnt subscribe but I really would live to be added please.
    Thsnk you for this article you are like heaven sent I have 4 boys and oh boy this will def help

  88. Lynn Gehlbach says

    Hello! Was trying to subscribe to weekly posts but wasn’t successful. Identical twin 14 year old boys – thank you so much for your thoughts and information! ;-)

  89. Karen says

    Great article! I do many of those but got insight into a few I should be doing too.
    I tried to subscribe but there was an error, please add me ;)

    Thanks xx

  90. Mark says

    I appreciate your comments. You seem insightful on the mother-son relationship to some extent, though I find it curious that you said nothing about a boy’s increasing need for masculine attention, ideally from his dad, and input as he moves from boyhood to manhood. (Perhaps you did in the comments, but too many to ferret through.) I understand the limited nature of your focus here, but saying nothing leaves me wondering would you suggest that a boy can become a man without his father’s significant and intentional input, or more bluntly, that a woman can teach him how to be a man? Or are your thoughts here to be understood as complementary to his father’s efforts?

    • says

      Mark…thank you, and I couldn’t agree more. Stay tuned for a “teenage boy/dad” post coming soon–Co-authored by my husband, (an amazing father,) who is also family-practice certified doctor. :)
      (when I wrote the post I planned to do many more along these lines…had NO idea it would go viral and be read as though it were my conclusive thoughts on raising a teen. haha, ya never know I guess!)

      • Mark says

        Thanks for the reply. I look forward to the sequel. It sounds like I over read your intentions.

        If you’re interested, I’ve written some on the topic of masculine development for “The Blog of Manly.” I’m doing a series that began with “What’s Beckme of Manhood”, followed by “Take Back Manhood’s Noble Ground”, “Under Your Roof”, and “Behold, The Manchild” most recently. The Manchild was fresh on my mind when I read your article.

  91. Sheena Carnie says

    What a great article! I have two boys aged 11 and 16. The 11 year old gave me a real run for my money when he was 6 – at that stage the only time I liked him was when he was sleeping when I would cry over the angelic little face and wonder what had gone wrong, but a bit of common sense advice and LOTS of prayer has restored that little angel to me and I get loads of hugs and kisses every day. My darling older boy has never given me much trouble and although I now only get sideways hugs (except when I press the issue once a week or so) and get kisses on the cheek, he’ll tell me 10 times a day that he loves me. As you said, crucial to get interested in what they’re interested in. They’re both sporty boys and I can tell you LOADS about cricket, cycling, running and rugby – although sometimes I just pretend I know what they’re talking about and then look it up on the net! Please subscribe me to weekly notifications.

  92. Debbie says

    I am a mum of 7 sons, aged 27, 24, 23, 21, 19, 15 & 13. My boys and my husband are my life. Your article was so spot on. In our experience the teenage years can be very challenging but immensely rewarding and such a privilege to share with our sons. It can seem hopeless at times but with patience, love( a little tough love at times), persistence, consistency and lots of laughs and hugs, the boys have always come back to their grounding and we now see the beautiful men they have become and are becoming. Thank you for encouraging others and giving us old hands the confidence to know we are on the right path. Warm regards, Debbie

  93. Joanna says

    I’ve read your post 3 times trying to get remember everything. As a mom of 3 young boys (6, 5, and 3) I do sometimes struggle with raising them and every day routine but I hope it will be well done job one day… you’re absolutely amazing mom. I wish I had so much patience …by the way I’m from Poland ;)

    • says

      Joanna! Wow–From Poland, so good to meet you!! Thank you so much. Very soon I will be posting my follow-up post about the younger years–Things I suggest doing to help the littler guys grow up so that CAN BE good teens! ;) Check back for that over the next few weeks! aloha

  94. Rachelle Neihardt says

    As not only a mother but a parent figure to step children, I found many of your points to be true. I enjoyed reading this and will be working on areas that have a need for improvement! I was unable to sign up and I am looming forward to reading more.

  95. Sarah says

    Trouble subscribing… Loved your article and could use all the encouragement I could get. Please help :-)
    How did you get your boys to stop fighting so much in their earlier stages. I’m a mom of 2 boys, Jeremiah who is 8 and Ananias who is 7.

    • says

      Thank you Sarah! Soon I will be sharing a post about “the earlier years,” so I hope that helps. Some amount of fighting is normal, and ok, but keeping them busy (extra work/chores each time they have the “time” to fight, :)) is always good. Hang in there. I have put you in the subscriber list! aloha

      • nikki says

        Love this article…have a 14 year old who has been in treatment centers since October 2011, he came home for good in June of this year…still pretty rocky around my home but would like to see your insights…thank you and can’t wait to read more

  96. Mysti Tyler says

    I would love to get new post notifications. I tried to enter my email but it kept saying invalid email address.
    I love this…I have 2 boys and am divorced from their Father, he has poisoned my oldest son against me and I has been the hardest thing I have ever been through. My son is now starting to realize, I think, what is going on. Thank you for your encouring words!

  97. Cin‘s says

    Hi, thank you for this helpful piece. I am the luckiest mom in the world! My son is 14 &1/2 years old and has the manners of a gentleman, he is very funny and loves playing outside. We make jokes and there is usually roughhousing involved:-) He washes cars in our neighborhood for some spending money and he helps me in the house without me having to ask him. He likes playing soccer, his favorite sport is golf and he is very good at it. He has no desire to have a cellphone but loves to play PlayStation when it’s raining and he can’t be outside. He has a younger sister and a baby brother that is 19 months old. He takes him outside to play and when baby is sick in the middle of the night my son is alway first to jump up and see if he can help me. I can only pray that my other 2 kids will be just like their big brother!

  98. Amy Fry says

    I think u just saved my sanity! I have a 13 year old step son that has ADHD and his mom and step dad have taken him off his medicine! Every other weekend when he is with his Dad and I……I find myself feeling like I’m losing control! I have educated myself on the ADHD and how I can help him control it but felt like I was being a horrible Mom! I want that connection with him that I had when he was younger! Just reading this makes me feel better that I am doing something right and reminds me some areas I need to work on! I grew up with 2 sisters and I have a daughter so I’m still learning the boy thing! Thank u so much for your insight it is so much appreciated!

  99. Fyonna says

    Valuable information!
    Could you please sign me up to weekly notifications of new posts? The form didn’t work out for me.
    Thank you so much!

  100. says

    great article, clear and to the point, thank you…and i agree, they are hilarious! my son has me in stitches regularly. i found the times when we’re driving in the car are particularly great to talk with him one on one….often its really listening to him discuss his fascination with warhammer models – i honestly have no idea what he’s talking about (i lose track as its so complex) so i focus on the passion and this seems to work.

    two books that helped me to understand ways to relate to and accept the way my teenage son is, are ‘keys to the kingdom’ by alison armstrong and ‘the 5 love languages of teenagers’ by gary chapman.

  101. Debby says

    Have 3 sons..oldest just turned 20 & after 1 yr. at college has taken on the ” I’m my own boss & Don’t have to listen to you:

    • Debby says

      Sorry had a glitch & didn’t finish my comment. ….my husband has always been the boys ( also have twin 18 1/2 yo) “friend” instead of parent so I’m the disciplinary parent. Oldest son has made bad juices in our eyes but “it’s just a guy thing” in some of the younger parents eyes. I doing everything I can to get him in the military (his plans after college before he started the “I’m an adult but don’t want to have responsibilities that come with it” attitude which husband is enabling. Can you say nervous breakdown?! At present I’m just trying to stay sane for the twins during their sr. yr. Suggestions please!

      • says

        Sounds like you’ve carried a heavy load, Debby! Hang in there…I would say that you have worked that hard, you have probably laid the best foundation possible, and now if you can just enjoy him the next year, you’ll always be glad. You can only do so much, kids grow up and make choices…Pray and guide but try to enjoy kids and they’ll keep coming back to you. :) aloha!

  102. Anne k says

    I like it all! I just wanted to mention about talking to boys… At a great conference I went to I listened to a talk about “Difference between boys and girls Brains” anyway one point I took away was that boys are always moving so a good time to talk to them is when they are doing an activity they love … For example: playing hoops with them in the driveway, a game of pool in your basement, ping pong, playing cards, while they are drawing artwork …. Whatever it is they like to do… And of course it got more technical but the ladies favorite was that there is a TWO second processing delay for boys brains, it takes them a pause to process what you are saying where as women’s brains are working (or have capacity ) to go in many different directions at once which is why we are good at multi tasking!! Thanks for posting!

  103. Denise Mckay says

    As the mother of 3 teenaged sons I learned these things from experience also boys just need to be boys sometimes but what works for one teenage boy won’t necessarily work for another the best thing you can do for your teenaged son or daughter is to just be there for them with love and understanding

  104. Andi says

    Thank you…thank you…THANK YOU!!!! I have a 13 1/2 year old boy and 10 year old daughter.
    I was laying in bed reading the article last night when I got to the section “A Listening Ear” so I put down my I pad and hung out with him in his room. He showed me some new Kendama tricks he is trying to master, we listened to some 80’s music (his choice) and he actually shared with me for the 1st time ever….he thinks a girl is CUTE!!!!!! Here we go……
    His life is all about surfing, SK8 boarding and riding his dirt bike. I am always reminding him how blessed he is and get so saddened when he seems to be selfish and unappreciative of all we do for him. Your article helped me see that that is “normal” for a teen boy. He will still has consequences for that behavior but I will try and have more GRACE when explaining why it’s disappointing to us.
    Thank you for this article, I came across it at the right time…just when I needed it! God is good!

  105. Ries Nottle says

    great post. i’m a mum of 4 boys and 2 girls. the boys are 24, 15, 10 and almost 5. the 24 year old is moving home this week, as his bestmate and roommate is moving overseas. He is getting married soon so it makes more sense to be here, save and plan, and to be honest, i’ve missed him, we all have the last 2.5 years. Today was remarkable tho….. he needed his mum. he farewelled his best mate and yet realised he had harboured a grudge (about another matter than the move) and had not forgiven his mate. he only realised today he had ruined the last 6 months with unforgiveness…and in his words, ” i thought i was the one with capacity- i’m the christian, and i couldnt forgive”… and he sobbed in my arms, something that probably last happened when he was about 16, when a girl dumped him the day of his final exams. in the end, you build the relationship and be the mum (or dad) you want to be for them. do i want to be one teaching forgiveness… then i must forgive… do i want to teach them how to listen to others? then listen to them… do i want them to love? then make love the priority… they really do become exactly what we make them. they may make different choices, but we can have much influence for good. great reminders on what is important from a wider perspective! and if you have ever torn your hair out at how it could all go so very wrong… remember, be there when they are down, and you will have a greater shot at being welcome when they are up! i LOVE and adore the little and big men in my life! (oh and my daughters (20 and 6) are both delights and surprises every day! but boys shut down with nagging quicker and so we must be extra vigilant to take every opportunity when they want to communicate i have found…..just as you said above… agree!

    • says

      Beautiful Ries–And you made me cry with that sweet story. Oh I do hope I still have that with my son as he gets into his young adult years! Precious. Thanks for sharing. aloha

  106. Dawn says

    This is a great. I have a 22 yr. old son who now lives in NYC.(we live in FL) I can honestly say that were applied to us. We stayed beryl close, and I was very active in his activities, as well as my daughters. But my son still calls me and will ask for advice and tell me about his day, and discuss his career options. He has an awesome sense of humor and has been my lifeline through a bad divorce several yrs. ago. He has told me that I have been the best mom ever, and his best support system. But, he has also been mine as well.

  107. Brenda says

    Tell me its not too late. My boys are 16 and 13. Their Dad and I are separated. My favorite years were before the teenager years, and I’m really struggling with this. They are good boys, but I am really looking for ways to connect. Tried to subscribe, but it wouldn’t let me.

    • says

      Brenda, bless your heart. It is NOT too late. I’ve heard from every variety of situation in response to this–and every story is different. Keep loving them and enjoying them, and more and more bridges will be built. Thank you for sharing, and YES–I’ll get you subscribed now. :)

  108. says

    I loved this post! Thank you! I have 3 teenage boys right now, ages 18, 17, and 15, as well as an 11 year old girl and 10 year old son. I often tell people that the teenage years have, by far, been my favorite years, and some people look at me like I’ve lost my mind! :)
    The conversations are so real, and teenage boys are so funny! My oldest likes to tease, and I love that!
    But the things that teenagers struggle with go so deep. I think one of the biggest things for my boys is that they know they’re not alone. Isolation is huge factor for people of any age, but I know teenagers struggle with this hugely due to hormones, etc. For me, everything comes back to God. He is my abiding peace and my absolute Rock. I point to Him first and foremost, and I’m then able to share my own struggles and connect with them. Recently, 2 of my boys were really struggling with different things, and it felt like my heart was ripping in two. But I continued to engage and gently push through, and I am incredibly grateful that both boys allowed me in. It’s worth the persistance! Thanks again for your words of wisdom! :)

  109. Brigitte Urbach-Britt says

    Hi, I cannot subscribe. It won’t let me. Is it possible to help me?
    Kind regards
    Brigitte Urbach-Britt

  110. Emily McCargar says

    Love this article. Entered the teen years with my oldest of four boys in June and love the encouragement that we have the right idea. It’s not easy though!

    Having trouble signing up. Got an error message. Can you help?

  111. Suzanna says

    I love your article. We raised 2 girls as parents and are now experiencing our second parenthood by raising (Guardian) our oldest grandson presently 9 yrs old. Entirely new and different experience from raising our girls, but he keeps us young and it’s been a learning experience to say the least! Thank you for the advice in your article! At least now I have some insight!

  112. Missy says

    Love your writing!! I am a mom of an only child that just turned 12. Your articles are great! Please sign me up for weekly updates

  113. Ximena says

    Hi,
    I would love tu suscribe. Please Add me as my email had an error occur.

    I have 4 kids I would love to read about siblings and teen age girls

  114. Susan Daigneault says

    Hello, I could not subscribe. It said there was an error and to leave you a post here. This is the first time I have seen “What a Teenage Boy Needs” and it is coming at a perfect time for me. Hoping I can get signed up so I can receive future posts. Thanks, so much!

  115. Mandy says

  116. Kerri Arnott-Thirsk says

    I have 4 boys, 21,20,18 and 14( today is my youngest birthday). While these teenage years have been challenging to say the least, these are the best years of my life. They have given me much much more than I ever imagined possible. Grey hair included!! Thank for this post. I’m sharing this with my people. It’s just good to read and solidify what you know in your heart to be true…… Xo

  117. justine says

    Hi. I have 3 sons aged 10, 16 and 17 the older two turn 17 and 18 in about a month. I have an amazing bond with my boys. My youngest is loving and always wants hugs and attention. My middle son is more reserved but when he needs to talk he comes straight to me no embarresment. My eldest is affectionate, loving caring and talks to me about everything. Im so lucky to have the relationship I have with them all. I am very involved in their lives. Which im very grateful for. I spend time with them and their friends. I trust them and they know the boundaries that come with the trust. Teenage years should be treasured just like the other years. So much changes and I feel they need u more now then ever. Dosent feel like it sometimes with their independence but I know whenever they need me they know for certain I will be there for them. . This article is awesome snd so very true.

  118. Jessica Williams says

    Please add me to your update list, it’s not letting me. I have a 14 year old son and this article is just what I’ve been looking for <3

  119. says

    Up until 2 years ago I was a single mom raising 2 sons now they are 25 and 23 but you have it right. I had a great communication with them very open and honest and did give them their space but made sure they didnt go to the darkside(drugs). I honestly dont know how I did it and there were mistakes but there were also alot of laughter and togetherness. They both graduated from college with very successful careers and I look at them with awe. They both are incrediable and smart and super funny with lots of stories of all the times they tortured me with their pranks. They are very close brothers with deep love for each other and look out for each other. Which is what I wanted. People ask me all the time how I did it. When I became a Mom I did it for life. To give them the love and caring they deserve and so far it is paying off. They insist we take a family vacation this year which is wierd…they really want to hang with me…Priceless

  120. Jay says

    I love this! I was able to pick my son up from his first girl boy party. The boy did not stop talking about all the crazy stuff! Including truth or dare and the dynamics of the dares. It’s one of those times when you know 30 yrs from now he might not remember but I will.

    They require presence and patience!

  121. Paula says

    Great advice. My boys are 32 and 26. Do not regret one minute I spent sharing the things they loved to do or setting strong boundaries and expectations. I am the proud mom of two incredible young men. My best advise… give them room to be individuals, and never let them think they are too old to love their mom.

  122. Jim McMahon says

    This should be “What every teen needs from his parents”. There is no difference here with sons vs. daughters or moms vs. dads. It’s all the same. Same old advice over the years for all teens growing up.

    • says

      so glad to hear that, Jim! My husband is helping me put together the “dad” version, and we agree–much of it will overlap. :) Thank you, aloha!

  123. says

    I KNOW THATS RIGHT!!!

    It was a long scroll down!

    I practice and preach this all. Every point!!!

    Thanks for this timely piece, it was validating for me. I know and I know that I know….:) Everything is well and good. Letting go of worrying because that’s not love. You know, worry and love are two entirely different frequencies. From now on I’m simply trusting the process. I love being a mom fourteen year old son and with a eight month old son it’s twice as nice. Many blessing Sister.

    Peace,
    Free<3

  124. says

    Great suggestions. I would suggest adding to your list some honest discussions about human sexuality, the concept of consent, and delaying parenthood – tailored, of course, to your family’s particular moral standards. Sex is, naturally, something teenage boys spend a lot of time thinking about, and some guidance in this area, while perhaps difficult to get started on, will pay off in the long run.

  125. says

    My boys will soon be entering the teenage years. We have recently gone through a divorce and I have been noticing changes in their demeanors. Which is understandable given all the circumstances! We have always been a close household and try to remain very open with eachother. I worry as I’m sure all moms and parental figures do. Love that there are sites like yours out here for people to come together with concerns and ways of sharing methods! Thank you :) Please subscribe me*

    • says

      Stephanie. I am sorry for what you’ve been through. You will do fine through this, and you are wise to keep seeking good sound wisdom. Your sons will be strong as they see you are strong. Pray often, and you’ll keep finding wisdom! You are subscribed! ;)

  126. Jennings says

    Yep, mom of a young man. Just turned 18 last week, and is headed to college tomorrow. He’s the youngest, after 2 girls, and making the distinction between what’s good for girls and for boys has had some trial and error. The biggest thing for me is to make sure I know I’m raising a MAN, and letting him do the stuff that takes him there. Hunting, survival stuff, going off on the boat or jet ski alone. Be still my heart… But my fear can’t be a factor in raising a fearless man of character – he must be brave, so I must, also! After homeschooling his whole life, I can say that spending time has been the key. I have promoted his interests, traveled to Africa with him 7 times, been both cheerleader and bubble-popper (the truth is essential!), laughed, cried, held him when a friend committed suicide, talked always about following God. Boys are easier than girls in a lot of ways, but making sure he becomes a man is hard! (Yes, my husband is involved… But as a homeschooling mom with a working hubby, much fell to me!) Now, he’s off to college, and my role changes again. He seems to think a once-a-day “I’m not dead” text is excessive. We’ll see! :)

  127. gina says

    thank you so much, you just described so many of my fears! my boys are 11, and already spreading their wings! i just hope i am able to live up to their expectations instead of the other way around! my husband said just yeasterday that a teenage boys HARDEST years are just being… he had a very rough life as a teenager and is constantly worrying about them! so we will both be reading your posts!! thanks again!

  128. Nancy says

    With almost 13 year old twin boys, I thank you for this read. I love it. I may print it and read it daily to get me through. Such thoughtful insight, great writing. Thank you!

  129. Xia says

    I would like to sign up, but there was an error. I very much enjoyed this post as it relates to how I have always pictured and want to be as a mother to my son. I want him to feel comfortable around me and be able to come to me for anything. I want to be able to be there for him when as he grows. Subscribe me! Thanks.

  130. says

    Great post! I’m still striving to practice these things… and my twin boys are almost 26! We have a great relationship and I’m so thankful for how God brought us through and blessed us with my parents (great support, wisdom, and prayers) and my husband, who provided good support to us as their step-dad.

  131. Melody says

    I really found this post helpful. I am trying to change how I see the upcoming years for my soon-to-be teenager (he’s 12 1/2 now). Right now, it feels like a loss. He has been a truly enjoyable kid so far, and I’ve grown addicted to his happy, sweet nature. He still has that, but as the teenage shift has begun, I see him smiling less and experiencing a greater range of emotions. I’ve been looking at this as a loss of my little boy, but you made me see that I’m truly able to enjoy his sense of humor more now (and he enjoys mine), and that maybe I should look forward to these next few years, rather than dread them.

    Please add me to your weekly email list. I received an error when I tried to sign up. Thanks!!

    • says

      Thank you Melody. I am actually working on a post for those tricky little years just before boys become teens…:) I hope you will find it helpful.
      I just added you to the weekly subscriber list! Much aloha. :)

  132. says

    Great article! Thank you so much for articulating what has been very hard for me to do in raising my son. I totally agree that this is the best time because you get to see what kind of personality and man is brewing in there. And, when you can truly laugh together over jokes and bond on the same intellectual level, that is priceless!

  133. Jamie Ekhart says

    I have never followed or subscribed to anyone before, but I was very encouraged by your words. I have and almost 16 yr old son, I see glimmers of hope of the man he will become, but some days are challenging. I would enjoy reading more of what u have to say, please add me as a subscriber.

    • says

      Thank you Lindsay! Hmmm about books, good question. I actually hope to do a post where I list some soon. Need to think on that for sure! (I’ve read a lot more for younger kids, and not so many for teens.) James Dobson’s book “Bringing up boys” def. gave me a vision in the early years and is still very practical! aloha

  134. Jan says

    My sons and daughter are now grown and all are successful young adults. When they were in high school, I found that I could get them to talk more than usual when we went out to eat lunch or dinner. They enjoyed eating out and the conversation flowed well during those meals out. Also, I believe that most problems you will experience with your teenagers can be avoided by their choice of friends – choosing friends with good character and morals. I think that it is perfectly acceptable to restrict their interaction with those friends of theirs who do not have their best interest at heart. Their good friends will care about your children and not just about themselves.

  135. Amber Harden says

    I’m trying to subscribe to weekly blog emails but I keep getting an error message. Can you please add me? Thanks!! :-)

  136. Christie says

    Thank you! I have a 15 soon to be 16 year old and I was starting to feel lost! It all makes sense now! I feel like I have some guidance I can use. Let’s just say Dad thinks son needs to just man up, but that never seemed like the right answer in my heart!

  137. Patty says

    I have an 18 and 16 year old sons. I have always been very open with both my boys. My 18 year old would always leave stuff laying out where it would catch my attention. Sometimes I would feel very awkward with notes I would find from girls he was dating in middle school. I think he did that so when I seen it I would go talk to him about the content and the reasons he should not follow through with some of the stuff that was in those notes. They want to know how you feel but don’t always know how to start a conversation about it so they leave hints for you to get the ball rolling. My oldest has gotten himself into some very bad situations just since he has turned 18. We have had a lot to deal with but it’s all a learning experience for us and him. Consequences are hard to swallow sometimes and less freedom is even harder but I Am a firm believer in responsibility. You must be responsible if you want freedom.

  138. Lisa says

    My husband and I have two boys, 19 and 15. We have tried to incorporate all these things into our parenting relationship as they have grown up. Sometimes it can be a challenge, but the rewards are huge! We are struggling right now with boundaries for our oldest. He attends a college that has no curfew, and he can come and go from his dorm whenever he wants. It has been difficult this summer to set and enforce expectations for when he should be home after hanging out with his friends or girlfriend. What advice do you have for setting this kind of boundary, when it seems to be “late in the game,” without damaging the good relationship we have built to this point. (This curfew thing is really the only area we butt heads on with this son.)

    • says

      Lisa, thank you for the comment! Good job raising two good boys! I can just imagine what you are going through–and I do have all of that ahead of me, haha. :)
      Honestly, I think as long as your son chooses to come home and live at home in the summer, it is very reasonable for you to set a curfew. It affects your sleep and your life if he is out late, so I do not see any reason you could not come up with a curfew (just be realistic!) If he really hates it, he can save the money and live elsewhere, which of course not what you probably want, but also a good reality check for him as he realizes all of the perks and family-love of being home.
      Most imp. thing I would say is to keep it very objective and not at all emotional. “You need to be in the house by midnight as long as you live here.” Or whatever you think is reasonable. Good luck and let me know how it goes! ;)

  139. Laura Celotti says

  140. Jessi says

    Loved your post. It is highly relevant to every aspect. I don’t have a teenager yet, he’s just on the edge (12). But I want to be one of the mom’s that’s prepared as much as possible so I’m not surprised with him when he changes ;) I did have a hard time subscribing to your blog so if you could add me that would be great!! :) Thank you!

    • says

      Thank you Jessi! I am working on a post for those just pre-teen boys now. I hope you’ll find that helpful as well.
      I am adding you as a subscriber now! Aloha…

  141. Kaylene says

    Wow! How timely. I have two teenage boys I’ve been raising and just this week they’ve announced that they are not coming home after summer vacation with their dad, but are staying with him to try their hand with him. This is very painful as dad has been for many years brainwashing them and alienating me and doing everything in his power to let me and them know, I am an awful parent. This post is exactly what I needed to hear, because guess what, I do almost all of these things with my boys and I love my time with them and our relationships have really begun to thrive to more I apply these items to our relationships. I feel better about myself. I know that what their dad is saying about me and selling them is a lie and I appreciate God dropping this in front of my face today to remind me of what I have, who I am, and my love for my boys. I will continue to work on these things every opportunity I can even if its over Skype.

    • says

      Oh wow Kaylene…I’m sorry for that news, but it sound like you have such good perspective. Keep up the good work and all things will work out. Be blessed.

  142. says

    As the mom of two teenage boys, every one of these points rang so true to me. I love my teenagers so much and feel fortunate that I can say I truly like the men they are becoming. It is hard work to be a good parent and I know that I don’t always do the right thing with them but I sure do love them and I know that they know that. I think this is the most important gift I can give them!

  143. Kat Myszkowski says

    I overheard my almost 13 year old son tell someone, “there is no greater feeling than when you ask your mom to play a video game with you and she says yes”! Make quality time by doing what they love, even if it is video games.

  144. Elizabeth Gary says

    You said it so well, I can’t add any thing more, except this goes for girls too. It is a tuff job.. but the most rewarding… when I look at my son today at 20 years old living his dream in the Airforce…We gave him his wings and he flew… but we know he is happy and we will start a new chapter with him when he finds his soul mate. I could not be more proud of our son and daughter.

  145. Felicity says

    I am a single Mom to my 15 and 20 year old sons and can honestly say they make me whole and are the best thing that ever happened to me. Open communication has been the crux of our relationship and they know they can discuss absolutely anything with me without being judged. I have the two most amazing young men and am so proud to be able to say they are my sons. There are hard times but as long as you keep communication channels open then the rewards are massive! Love you Kelvin and Keegan :)

  146. Seeta Budhai says

    Wish I had known some of these things when my boys were teenagers I would have done differently. I was always so busy filling in for the father, I completely forgot that I was mom and mom only. However, I have another child (girl) who would be a teenager in a year and the youngest (boy) a teenager in 5 years.

  147. Kris Huggins says

    This is a great post – but not just for teenage sons – sons of all ages! Once they go off to college and then later in life after taking a wife and having kids of their own, they still need us to pick them up, give some advise (they may still roll their eyes) and just a big hug every now and then. Nothing like a big bear hug from a grown man who is your son!

  148. Deb says

    Hi there, I loved your article and I’m sure your advice is spot on but you had me hooked at “But really–I dig this stage. I feel like I finally understand why I had to go through the baby and toddler years: This is the reward. I mean, I love my kids at every stage, but certainly some years nearly killed me.”
    I have 3 boys aged 6, 4 and 9mo. I adore being their mum, I couldn’t love them any more than I do but wow, sometimes they’re hard going! And every day someone will look at them and say to me, “oh that’s the best age” or “oh wait till they grow up” with a raised eyebrow. It seems everyone loves babies and young kids but as they get older they just get harder work and more of a pain in the butt! (Which I’m sure is true sometimes of course!) I LOVED your enthusiasm for the older years, it’s such a lovely breath of fresh air. I love who my boys are now but I only look forward to the young men they are going to become, probably despite me rather than because of me!!!! But I’ll do my very best for them and I will now be following you and taking your advice too

    • says

      Yes, Sam, I’ve been told by many people that this applies well to girls too! Since I only have boys, I thought I shouldn’t claim to be an expert. ;) Much aloha

  149. says

    Also—speak to their father with respect, and treat their father with respect, whether or not you are still together as a couple. Some single moms forget that their son will be a man, and one day a spouse or father—and if he sees scorn, criticism or bitterness from you toward his father, he will get the message loud and clear that his masculinity is dangerous or unacceptable.

  150. Dominique says

    Lovely article and all appropriate! We have 3 boys (aged 16-21), as well as 2 girls, and I am so blessed to be their mother. Besides “training them up in the way they should go,” I think what has been most beneficial to our kids is a combination of freedom and grace. Here in the city, I too often I see parents who are afraid of what might happen to their children- or of what their children might do- so the kids don’t get to do anything. I think that outlook is especially damaging to boys, who have such a propensity to explore and conquer, Long ago, I realized that I had to overcome my own fears and reservations about letting them go out into the world so that my fear would not become their fear. For years now, I have explained to folks that I trust my kids to do what is right, but expect them not to. That outlook has definitely allowed for adventure and then allotted forgiveness when the occasion called for it. Today our sons are well traveled. They have crossed the country and the globe on their own, had amazing adventures, met some inspiring -and some curious- people, explored oceans, given impromptu concerts on street corners for cash, crashed motorcycles on foreign soil, gotten sick, gotten lost, and yet found their way home again for that hug and sense of place. I don’t think I know any more well-adjusted men than my boys.

  151. maria says

    Hi, my 16 yr old boy just told me that they have a student free day school next week and wants to hang out with his school mates and that he’ll be picked up by a friend whom I don’t know. We know the 2 boys that he mentioned though not that close. We just bump into them during parent teacher meetings with their parents. They seem fine. I told my son that I don’t want him to go. I don’t think that they will be supervised by any parent in the house where they are going. I don’t know the boys well enough to trust them though they were in my son’s chess team too. He said that they will just hang out and watch movie together in one of the boy’s house. The thing is I haven’t let my son go with his school mates to hang out, only when they invite him on birthdays with parent’s supervision in it. My son is insisting that he wants to go this time. Do I just stick on my initial decision of not letting him because they don’t have parent supervision? He’s telling me that I don’t trust him though I answered him that I do trust him but not the people he will be going with. How I know them is not well enough for me to trust them… He is still insisting on going. What will I do?

    • says

      Marla–Bless your heart…These are not easy days! ;) Though I do not know you or your son my first thought is that you are the parent and you make the rules. he ought not argue with you about your decisions. Unsupervised homes are not a good idea unless you are 100% sure about things, so no way–I say stick with your decision! Perhaps you could create an alternative option–one that would be fun and safe…You driving he and his friends to a movie, or having them at your home. He may not like your idea, but rest assured you are doing your job: Parenting! ;) Much aloha and keep it up. The world needs more moms strong enough to say no.

  152. Pam says

    As a mother of three young boys, ages 8, 4 and 2, this article made me tear up! Thank you for the advice. I hope I can remember these points as the years go by… it’s already going too fast and my oldest has recently started to pull away when it comes to hugs. Breaks your heart! I find myself sad about them growing up but look forward to what God has in store for them. Somedays I have to remind myself God gave me all boys for a reason and I hope I can maintain a special bond with them as much as mothers and daughters have when they are older.

    Thank you again.

  153. Samantha Green says

    Have 3 boys 19, 17 & 14

    sometimes i feel lost as i have to learn to let go.

    everyday i make sure they get a kiss or hug or both!

    look forward to reading your blog

  154. Lori says

    I LOVE THIS POST. It is so bang on. Thank you so much. I have two boys – one turned 10 this past week, and a 14 year old for whom I am sure this was written!! ;) I love this: “Sometimes our greatest job as Mom is to act like we don’t even notice.” That is sooo true! That motherly behaviour works wonders. It is when I “don’t notice” that he starts to come around and talk more about what is going on his life with his friends, and may even ask for advice. The ‘Boundaries’ part is the one I have the most trouble with. I absolutely agree with that, but I have a harder time enforcing it. My husband, on the other hand, follows this one to a tee and could have written that paragraph! He tells me I’m too soft… but parenting can be so tricky. I am most definitely going to subscribe to your site now.

  155. Apesuvl says

    Hi. I’m a teenager who caught his this webpage open in a tab my mother had open. while I agree with most of what you said, I have some issues. For example, in the eleventh point, you said that you should act the way you want your son to be. and while I can sort of see where your coming from, I don’t think you should try and create your son. I think that you should let your son grow up to be who he wants to be, not who you want him to be, because that is the great joy of being a teen, being who you want and being independent. also, in side note 2, you said that you should have a rule saying you should be able to check their computers, phones, ect. with no questions asked. Again, I see where you’re coming from, but by putting a rule like that into play, it does keep them in line but it also seems like a invasion of personal space and it creates a “you can’t tell me what to do” attitude. I understand why you should check their computers, but i wouldn’t make it a rule. just take a look at his history every once in a while, maybe by saying: “hey, can I use your computer for a sec?” or maybe when he’s not home. and remember, strict rules create sneaky children. and finally, i just want to say that all teenagers are different, and you shouldn’t generalize every single one, because we’re not all the same. I hope i didn’t bore you but compare this to the article you just read and it shouldn’t seem so bad. :) also mom if you’re reading this, i hope you don’t expect me to put this much effort into my schoolwork XD.

    • says

      Well thank you so much, my first teenage commenter! :) I love hearing from you, and I think it’s great that you took time to read my post. I hope that you have such open conversations with your own folks! I absolutely agree that every kid should get to grow up to be his/her own person. I am simply suggesting (in #11) that parents ought to set good examples in a general way. Practice what you preach, etc…I think that is fair enough. :)
      And as far as computer rules and all of that–It is clearly something that each family needs to work out. Like I said in the post, in our home kids get more freedom as they prove more responsible. It is an earned thing.
      You made some excellent points and thank you so much. Much aloha to you!

  156. Guerrina says

    Excellent article! All your points are valid and work…sometimes though it can take awhile to see the fruits. My son is now 25 and I actually did all these things you mentioned (NOT PERFECTLY EITHER) as a single Mom. He caused his share of trouble, paid the consequences. He is the father of a beautiful 4 year old son and when the mother exited the relationship a few months ago after 5 years, leaving the little one with my son and I, he looked at me with tears rolling down his face and said, “I couldn’t do this without you.” As we talked through the crisis, he realized that I had stood in his shoes 25 years ago (his father left our marriage when my son was 4 months old), that what I had to say was authentic…and fully realized that all those teen years of being his Mom? Those were authentic, too. Honest and authentic – they matter – grace and forgiveness – they matter – open arms – a must.

    • says

      Oh Guerrina-thanks for the cry this morning. :) Absolutely beautiful. Sounds like you will be needed far into the future. That is what motherhood is all about. Keep it up and God bless you. Aloha

  157. Kim says

    These are so right on! I have a 16 year old and we talk and laugh all the time. The greatest compliment I got was ” Mom, you and Dad aren’t like my friends parents you listen to me and don’t judge me based on the clothes I like to wear.” Apparently all of his friends hide out in their rooms (just like I did as a teen) while he is hanging out with us on the couch.

  158. Stacy says

    I absolutely love this…I have 3 boys ages 21,11 & 5 I made so many mistakes with my oldest and I don’t want to do the same with my little ones….the one I love most is how you talk about affection I love hugging my kids & yet my oldest always would act uncomfortable when I would so I stopped because I knew he was going through stuff and I didn’t want to make him feel like he had to avoid me…I love my boys so much and want them to know that am always going to be there biggest fan & no matter what they choose to do in life even if I don’t agree I will support & love them unconditionaly….im so happy to have found this article it has truly made my day.

    • says

      Stacy–Thank you so very much. I’ve had so many people comment that this all still applies to boys into their twenties, so you might just keep it up with your oldest ;)
      Glad you came by and I hope you’ll stick around–Many more related posts will be coming! aloha

  159. says

    I totally agree! I would like to add and emphasize that teenagers do not need you “less” than when they were small. They actually might even need you more depending on their personality or what is happening in their lives.

  160. DinahDChance says

    Having raised 6 boys, I know exactly how you felt at all stages of their growing up days. All that you mentioned, I have implemented in their daily lives. BTW, we also had 4 girls. Same process for them just different situations and approach. Besides the boys watched over them. The one thing I would add, which I have taught many times: At age three start teaching the children how to work. The age they love to help, want to help, and the age that mom’s would rather do it themselves. Don’t wait until age five. Make it a part of their everyday living experience. Let them know how much you enjoy their help, not by paying them, or giving them things, but by how much they have helped and how much you love having them help. Having taught this in many seminars, if one does not know how to work, and have an opportunity to appreciate the ability to work, they will most likely become followers instead of leaders. As they get older, it is realized as the best self esteem builder one can give their child.

    • says

      Thank you do much for the comment. Wow–you’ve been a busy momma–I’m so impressed ;).
      Great thoughts and yes–work when they are young, I love it! Since this post was for the teen years I did save a dew things–if you check my site this week I posted about the elementary years and work is in there! Toddler years are coming soon and that is in the plan as well ;). Much aloha!!

  161. says

    Both my boys need varying degrees of the things on this list. One needs more listening than the other, and one needs more direction. They both need all of them (great list btw!), but we adapt our role for their personality, age and needs.

    Love this! Missing the snuggles now that they shave…

  162. Tara Sundberg says

    This is a beautiful list!
    My son will be two years old in November, so I have a way to go, but like you said it goes by in the blink of an eye…
    Teenage boys need to be taught about consent in their interactions with girls. Explicit consent. This is crucial and goes along with leading by example. I have high hopes for our future generation, and raising boys who respect wholeheartedly respect women will reduce violence against women and sexual violence.

  163. says

    I am mom to 3 boys – two are grown and one is just entering teenage-hood (he’s 13). This is all soooo true!!!!! I *love* interacting with my grown sons now and BELIEVE me, we did some HARD work together :) but they really are a joy to be around. I have no doubt my 13 y.o. will try me, but we have built a very close relationship, and I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel (if I can survive his brothers, I know I’m up to the task!!). Thanks for such words of wisdom!

  164. Lisa says

    Hi,
    I loved reading this, as a mother of 3, one boy 18, and twin girls almost 16, I feel that this applies to both boys and girls. All three are awesome, and some days can be a struggle we get through, learn and move on. As my husband and I do and try to do most of these listed, it’s always good to go back and revisit these you have listed. Thanks, I will save for future reference.

  165. Pamela says

    This was an excellent article and very true. I’m a single mom of two boys who are just now stepping into their 20s and those teenage years were exactly as you described. Most of the points that you put down there are exactly the ones that got me through those years. I’m proud to say that I have two fabulous young men in college and on great career paths today! Of all of the points, they would say “listening “was the most important to them!

  166. Carrie says

    I’m a brand new mom to a 16 year old – he’s a foster child that we are hoping to adopt by the end of the year. I am definitely seeing the impact giving him the things outlined in this article, even without the early-years investments to fall back on. It’s such a blessing to get to encourage him, hug him, laugh at his jokes, and praise the genuinely great things about him. I’m making up for lost time by letting him know how happy we are to have met him and have him in our family as much as possible.

    • says

      Wow Carrie! That is just awesome! I love what you’re doing, and it inspires me. Bless your heart–you are changing this boys’ destiny! Much aloha and I’m so glad you shared. ;)

  167. Bukola says

    I stumbled on your article just when I was thinking and asking myself, “where did I go wrong!”. My oldest child, a boy, is 16. Very warm, open and friendly, loving to talk…but doesn’t like responsibilities, duties and the like. I’ve been thinking that maybe I didn’t raise him well. Now I see that his is not an isolated case. I’m encouraged to keep praying and not give up! Thanks

  168. Brenda says

    So true, Great article! First thing I thought of is FOOD!!! They are bottomless pits! They can eat and eat and eat. (and I am So jealous!) I got used to never having leftovers because they would come along day or night and eat Another dinner! I had to make sure I was stocked up on yogurt, cereal, fruit and muffins ect to try to keep up. Good thing about it was I could chat with them while they eat.

  169. Jen says

    Thank you for this well written article. My oldest is 11 now but I will keep this advice in my pocket. You sound like an amazing mother. Your kids are blessed.

    • says

      Thank you Jen!! Hopefully you were able to link to the Middle School boy post too!? It should be just where you’re at! So glad you stopped by and keep up the great work. Aloha!

  170. Geriann says

    I found so much comfort in reading this tonight! It made me smile and how do I say all warm and fuzzy inside. :) I have 2 boys, 4 yrs. and 10 months! I dream of the day they are teenagers! After reading this article I felt as if what I was thinking and how I treat my boys were all correct. I let my 4 year old know I am here for him and that he can talk to me about anything in the whole world. I look at him now and think wow…he has already made me so proud…I can only imagine what the years ahead will bring! Thank you so much for sharing! I am saving this article I know I will be looking back to it from time to time as a reminder! Thank you again! God Bless.

  171. Angela says

    I loved reading your article. I am able to apply your advice to my 13 daughter no problem…unfortunately, my soon to be 13 year old step son and I are on completely different planets. He is very basic and quiet and lives with my husband and I full time and has for the past 6 years… we have a hard time communicating with each other all the time. He resents me as I do him for putting his “mother” on a pedestal even though she gave him up to enjoy her own life… this is are road block….needing advice….thanks so much for letting me rattle on…. Angela

    • says

      Good question Fred, but no-_YOU are welcome here! :) I have a lot of men reading this, and my husband is helping me write a post “What a teenage boy needs most from his DAD” which should be out soon. MOST of my posts are very much suited for moms and dads, and even this teenage boy post I’ve been told is great for dads as well. (Sorry for the occasional “mom” post like what is up today, but that doesn’t happen all of the time. ;)) Keep coming back!

  172. says

    Thank you! I love this post so much. It’s a great reinforcement of some things I already do and great advice about things I should amp up.

    One other thing I do regularly with my son is pray with him. Whenever I give him a goodnight hug, he often doesn’t let go of my hand and says, “Mom? Can we pray?” What a gift! It’s an opportunity to demonstrate faith, ask for wisdom, reinforce our need for grace and forgiveness together… the list goes on and on. It started with me instigating prayer together, but he obviously came to find it comforting and I can see his growth as a result.

    Thanks again for your wonderful post.

  173. Diana Wagner says

    I love it. Feel like we might have been separated at birth. I have a 10 year old. (How is it possible that he is “double digits”, I just finished bathing him in my kitchen sink and singing “I Don’t Know Why the Sky is so Blue….. in the rocking chair and now he is practicing piano and writing letters to interview to be a helper to the second graders at his school…in Spanish no less!)

    Zack turned 14 this year. He is off to Savannah, Georgia for his 8th grade field trip and I have not talked to him for 48hrs for the first time in my life! I am proud of myself, he is responsible, he is smart, he has common sense and he knows that if he breaks trust he will not be going on other school trips in the future. He decided to room with 3 other the “smart, well behaved kids” and not necessarily his fun, silly not so “great at making life decision friends”….on purpose so he could avoid problems.

    My greatest joy is to enourage others. I like to think of myself as a catalyst to helping folks discover their passion joy. I just joined a group that is helping women to understand their worth called My Worth Ministries so I can actively pay forward all the great souls that helped me understand my worth.

    I am married to a Vice Pres of a major Medical Healthcare Co. and I am a past Hospital Administrator that decided to become a Domestic Diva because I couldn’t stand the thought of anyone else raising my precious amazing boys, who I would love to help become amazing men!

    Okay…looking forward to your posts. Am from Southern Calif, but not live in gorgeous North East Georgia 45 minutes out of Atlanta.

    Look forward to reading your stuff!

    Wishing all good things for you. Totally agree with your tips for teens. Professional forgiveness is a great way to live a peaceful, joyful life and it gives me lots of room to be me and I think is the key to growing our teens and ourselves.

    Have a great day!

    Your Reasonable Bible Belt Momma! Diana Wagner

  174. says

    I was so loving this women till this *I have a “I can check your phone, computer, etc anytime I want to–no questions asked.” This keeps everyone in check. Ladies don’t ever do this to your kids boys or girls if you ever want them to respect you. Relationships are built on love and trust and a mutual respect for each other they may only be kid but you have to let them invite you into there lives not demand the door must be always left open or the day they become old enough it will be closed to you for ever.

  175. Gina says

    Thank you for writing and bringing up the exact honest to goodness reality of what our boys need. I have accomplished 0 11 / 11 and me and my son Paul practice the exact science you have published! I never thought about it until I just read it in 11 simple reasons, but YES! You nailed it! Paul is my youngest and turning 17 soon, but he and I have bonded the closest following the simplicity of rules, boundaries, respect, love, laughter and freedom. Thank you for simply putting it. This is truly the recipe that everyone should utilize when raising children.

    • says

      wow, Gina…Thank you and so awesome that you can look back and know you did it so well! The blessing is seeing the man your son has become I am sure, and the relationship you share. Awesome!!
      bless you and Aloha!

  176. Katie says

    I think number 6 is very selective to different kids. Some kids aren’t just embarrassed or whatever, they genuinely hate physical affection like hugs and arms on the shoulder and stuff.

  177. Gayle says

    You are right on with everything you said!
    I am a Mom of 6 boys from age 32 to 19. They all were different, and required different attention, but the basic requirement was being there actively in their lives: just as you put it. Great article.
    PS- I also have 1 daughter too-
    Not much different than the boys.

  178. Lynnie says

    I loved reading your “what a Teenage Boys needs most from his mom”…. I couldn’t agree more with all of it.
    I am a mother to four sons, 12,15, 20, & 24…. I am 42 years old and some days I feel like I am 102 years.
    I had my first son when I was just 18…. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and when I look back now, I was so anxious about whether I was doing everything right, that I forgot to enjoy him like I should have. Everything was so routined, wake, feed, bath, sleep, get washing done , wake, feed etc. I was so lucky he was a perfect baby… So I now call him my practice son. Lol
    Second time around was much easier, third time and I was 27 yrs old and now I feel that was the perfect age to have a baby, I enjoyed everything about being a Mum and my growing little family, then finally my forth baby, who is a couple of days off turning 12.
    I have been a working mum nearly the whole time, so quality time with my boys was a rare thing, at times it felt like the only time I had any time with them was when I was asking for their lunch boxes, looking for their school clothes to wash or in the car on the way to sitters. Sometimes life gets so busy that we forget about what’s really important.
    Being a shift worker, I would sometimes find myself thinking ” when was the last time I actually made my boys breakfast??? Or even sat down with them for breakfast..Instead of packing it… This was not how I want my sons to remember me….”the Mum that was always at work and never around to talk too”
    Now a single Mother, whilst working, I study and got my diploma in Children’s Services and I am now a Childcare Educator and work from home, I am here with my boys for every breakfast and every dinner and I have an awesome relationship with all my sons. ( we have our moments just like any family) I just wish I hadn’t missed out on that time with the older two boys, but they’ve turned out pretty good considering.
    We had moments during that “ugly” phase (15/16 years) where their mouth turns into the nastiest weapon… They will say the most hurtful things, I remember listening to what they were saying in disbelief and shocked that I could have given birth to someone horrid …. Lol thank goodness this phases passes as quickly as it came in, because this is the point where u start thinking ” I can’t do this anymore”. I believe that this is the hardest that raising boys will get and if you can survive this…..you can survive anything!
    We now all have an amazing bond and my boys talk to me about anything and everything, sometimes way too much information lol
    I have found that ” time ” is the glue that hold our family together, time doing anything as long as it’s together, time laughing at silly things, taking the time to call or text my boys, just to let them know how much I love them, even if they are at the other end of the house…time to listen to what’s going on in their life (I think I fail a bit here, as I tune out sometimes and have to remind myself to pay attention lol) Having a common interest, my boys and I compete in a marathon twice a year, just 10km event, but we do it together and although it nearly kills me, we get great satisfaction out of doing it together.

    I grew up with wealthy, working parents, they never attended any of my sporting events, school events, never showed any interest in what I was doing and never once in 42 years have either of my parents told me that they love me..I do feel that this has impacted on the type of relationship that we have today…that being a not so close one… I vowed when I had children I wouldn’t let a day go by without telling them how much I love them.

    I have told my boys that I love them everyday since they were born, and even at 24 yrs old my eldest son will always say it to me..even if he is surrounded by all of his mates. It’s normal practice in our household to say I love you.

    In all honesty, I could write a book on the things those four boys have put me through, but all that bad stuff disappears and doesn’t matter when you realise how fast they grow up and how deeply you love these little people you created. I’m sure that my hair has turned grey underneath my monthly colour , but I’m not quite game to let it grow to find out.
    Many years ago, I was in the local shopping centre, with three boys in toe, one was whinging on top note and the other two were fighting…I was trying my hardest to keep them under control and keep them quiet…. I was approached by an old lady, she could see I was having difficulty with them, she stopped me and said ” you know, mothers of three boys go straight to heaven!” And she smiled and walked off.
    After growing up in a a family of three girls and one boy….. I never really understood the male species until I had a house full of them myself, they are so different to females and yet, they need the simplest of things, love, attention, hugs, encouragement, praise, and time.
    They come across all manly and tough, but on the inside they have the softest hearts and if you don’t invest time and effort into your boys you will never see this side….. Take it from me, it is truly beautiful and nothing will make you more prouder than knowing you have raised sons with hearts full of love and compassion for others.
    My only regret, is that I wished I’d had more children…Boys are awesome

  179. Lisa says

    What an amazing article. My son will be 13 in January and I’m enjoying every second of him now (well, except when I want to wring his neck!). He’s funny, he’s kind, he’s smart, he’s athletic, and he makes me LAUGH… like full on belly laughing. I only have one child and he’s my world. I try to do all of the things you’ve mentioned, but without smothering him – it’s not easy! I’m going to print this post and look at it from time-to-time just to remind myself of the important things! Thank you for this.

    • says

      thank you so much. I know what you mean about doing all you can w/out smothering…:) Enjoy that teen, and you will just have an awesome relationship with him as an adult!

  180. yolanda says

    This was just what I needed this morning. A friend sent it to me. I woke up at 4am this morning crying out to God as finding things really tough at times.my son is 12 but has a very strong leadership tyoe personality, which means he has pretty much challenges things alot. I find the transition of still seeing him as my little bog who I was pushing in a swing or holding hands to school with is now growing up. He has just started upper school and I realise the innocence of childhood will come up against all sorts of things. I love him and his brother so much, as a single mum they really are part of my every strand, but i know i need to give thrm space and not be critical when they leave their towel for the 200th time on the floor. Any way thank you so.much for this article, it has meant very much and feel it was a gift from God to me today.

    • says

      Thank you so much for the comment, Yolanda. It sounds like you have an awesome heart and no doubt your boys are blessed because of it. Keep enjoying them, and you will have no regrets. Keep crying out to God, and He will direct you in all o the details as your boys grow up! Much love-

  181. Patty says

    praise God this is an awesome idea for a website. I am so thankful and blessed for my little boy and to be a first time mommy, especially when I didn’t think it was ever going to happen, but God showed me yet again, in HIS time. Thank you for taking the time to create this awesome outlet and support system!!!! God bless all you moms and all our soon to be successful Godly boys then will one day become Godly, successful loving men! Xoxo

  182. says

    What a beautifully honest article. My son turns 10 next month and I already feel he needs exactly what you have written in this post. They grow up so quickly and although we want to encourage their independence and adventure, we still want to keep them for ourselves. Finding the balance is the answer. Thank you for a lovely article that so clearly expresses my own sentiments.

  183. barbara raia says

    That was the best thing I read in a long time. I have two sons n it was very easy to relate to it. My boys are men now now and I will continue to be the same way always there to love n hugs

  184. Annamarie Barnard says

    I have just been reading your post about what teenage boys need. What an eye-opener. Our boys are young men, married and have children. How I wish I had these when they were still small. I have made many mistakes and it haunts me today, but maybe I have done something right. I am proud of what they have become despite all my failures. Thank you, Thank you for this and may God bless you on your way today and in future.

    • says

      Thank you Annmarie–and I am certain that you did much right. We are all so hard on ourselves (part of being a mom I think, :)) but if like who they have become, then be encouraged. ;) Much aloha