1. Thank you! 11-12 things changed so fast it seemed. This was reinforcement for me. Thank you!

  2. So happy i came across this blog. I’m a mother of a 14 year old, and 10 year old. My 2 boysπŸ’™ I felt a lot of relief reading this, as I do many of these things .. The thing I feel bad about, is I’ve had many times, where 1 of them would come find me, to show me a YouTube vine, and I simply said not right now, or I don’t wanna see it. I feel awful now. Although I don’t always, turn them away, with whatever they want to show me on youtube. Only sometimes when I’m super rushed for work, or rushed to get 1 of them to a game. Or right after I just watched 4 or 5 videos with them lol.. From now on, I will watch every single vine, they want me to watch with them lol. I love being a mom of 2 amazing young men.

    1. Thank you Cari! I’m so happy you found my blog too. you are in good company here!! So sweet that you feel that way, but of course none of us can watch everything our silly boys ask us to! You’re probably doing a great job. Just keep loving and talking and staying involved in their lives! You’ve got this! Much aloha,

  3. Alexandra Ostritskaya says:

    My 46 years daughter fightes stage 4 cancer for over 2 years. She has 4 children: 19 years old boy, 17 years old boy, 14 years old girl and 12 years old boy. The 17 years old boy hurts his mom, ignors her, behaves like he hates her and wants her out of his life. Help!!!

    1. o sorry Alexandra. Sounds really rough. Someone needs to set boundaries on that 17 yr. old…I’m sure there are so many things going on and it is very sad. But keep praying, seek out some support and have faith God has not abandoned any of you. Reach out and try to stay strong. Blessings…

  4. Amy Waldron says:

    Thank you so much for this! My son will be 15 next month and I’ve struggled all his life trying to do the “right” things. We’re dealing with that teenage attitude, not wanting to be responsible, pretending not to hear me when I tell him to do something…. and so forth.
    I appreciate all the advice and tips and will definitely be putting them into practice! In fact, as soon as I finished reading it, as I was typing this, my son walked in and I practiced using a sense of humor. It works!

  5. My son is 15 years old and I would always catch him lying. He would lie about his homework most of the time and is not finishing his school work. He used to be an A student but is now a C student. What can I do to let him know that I am not his enemy? I feel so much pain and he told me that we do not have a relationship. Please help.

    1. So so sorry Heidi, this sounds very hard. It is hard for me to give advice without knowing more about your situation, but I pray you find some support (is there a dad in the family? Perhaps he could talk to your son?) or if you could get a counselor or Youth Leader involved that might be best. I would definitely try to talk to your son honestly, and lovingly about your feelings…Try not to be emotional but be strong and caring. Let him know you are concerned about his future, and remind him how you want to maintain a relationship with him…be supportive of him…and help him grow up well. Absolutely give consequences for any lies and make sure he knows the rewards of being honest. Keep talking! Reach out for help if you can. And pray! πŸ™‚ blessings and hope things get better…

  6. My 3 sons are grown and w/sons of their own. So much of what you’ve written rang true and have β€œbeen there…done that”! VERY a good advice! I would love to share this article w/my daughter’s in law in written form…please advise.

    1. Hey Ginger! Thank you so much and that makes me so happy. πŸ™‚
      You are welcome to share it. Easiest to just highlight the address bar at the top of the post (the “URL”) and copy it. Then paste it into an email or text message! πŸ˜‰ Hope that helps. Either way I appreciate the thought!

  7. Deborah Cunningham says:

    Hi! I read this with a sense of nostalgia. My boys are all in their 30’s and have families of their own. Their teen years were some of my favorite. The only thing I would add to your list is food and friends. Our home was a gathering place, where their friends became our extended family. It was always my goal to cook more than they could eat. Wonderful times and blessed memories.

  8. Daniella Arredondo says:

    Hi Monica,
    I had read your post and definitely, I ll read your book.
    You mention your strength and love in God which I feel too, but do your teens enjoy going to Service? My son most of the time rather stay home.
    My husband play the:”Please, do it for me”. I don’t force it as I don’t want to create resistant, but at the same time… How is my son going to learn ? I can talk for hours to him about God, but he needs to feel it. Right?
    So please share your experience.

  9. Thank u. I needed this after my mature 12yo son started lying the other day. It shocked me. A huge lie that I never saw coming. I was distraught. But today I feel better after talking to him after reading your article. Now my perspectives has changed and I am ready for more actions. Im sure its gonna be a one massive, bumpy and exhilirating roller coaster ride.

    1. Thank you Ireen! Yes, often at that pre-teen stage they are testing the waters and trying to figure out what they might get away with… You are wise to nip in the bud. Though they need a bit more freedom as they grow up, they still need parents who, well — parent! πŸ™‚ Keep up the great work and keep me posted. Aloha

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hello, I’m looking for some advice for my 13 yr old. I’m his step mother, his dad and I live out of state. He lives with his mother and we are fortunate enough to be able to communicate and get along. We get him every summer vacation, the whole time goes back about 1 week before school starts, and take turns on holiday vacations such as thanksgiving, Christmas. He’s been getting into trouble with school and ended up in being expelled. There’s reason to believe in marijuana use as well. His mother has been telling my husband that he needs to be more active in his life by calling and video chatting more. I honestly don’t see how this could help as a teenage boy needs a father physically there. We have told her numerous times I think it’s time he comes and moves with us. Being thousands miles away, are there ways we can help him or is the best thing to have him move in with us? He knows his dad is strict and more disciplinary so his mom says this would not be the best thing mentally for him because hes not used to that life. Something to add importantly, his mother isn’t that hard on him and will give him friends, phone, privileges back to him very easily. She lives with her parents and siblings which all use marijuana.

  11. I came across this post because I have been looking for resources for a single mom in my church whose 17 year old son has been rejected by his dad in so many ways. She feels he is not very social, loves to stay indoors. Her son wonders why his prayers to God are not answered because his dad constantly lets him down. His only male model went home to be with the Lord, his grandfather. This has been happening since he was a small boy. He doesn’t want to attend church because he feels what’s the use God doesn’t care. Do you know of any resources I can give to her?

  12. PENOLA P. SARDEN says:

    Your article truly blessed me. And even though you didn’t announce in the beginning that you were a believer in Christ, I just knew it. It shined thru your words. I am too. God bless you and your family.

    1. oh thank you Penola! πŸ™‚ That makes me so happy. Blessings and hope you stick around here! Aloha!

  13. My son hates his dad. With his frustrations, I feel that he takes it out on me. He thinks were bad parents. He says he doesnt care that he doesnt respect me or us if we dont respect him. He called me stupid on our phone text. He s definitely rebellious and finds it hard to reach out to apologize and accept his mistakes.

    1. I’m so sorry. This sounds so hard, but it is not hopeless. I would encourage you to find some counsel, talk to someone you trust who understands teenagers and might be able to help you. Keep loving your son and doing what you can to talk objectively with him about things. Sometimes it just takes time and patience. Blessings.

  14. I know moms are very nurturing and often sweet. However, as a father and a man, I can tell you that a boy needs to be pushed. Encouraged is one word of putting it there, but if you see that boy slacking, push him, don’t let him get lazy and settle…push him and push him more to do better.

    We all get joy from achieving, boys get it from overachieving. It is that burning sensation that you see every athlete strive for it. Don’t be afraid to Push your son to do better, don’t be soft or they’ll take advantage.

  15. This was so perfect and so beautiful. Helped me out as a big sister too! (to a 15yr old brother…). Shared with mum too!

    1. Oh so glad to hear that Livvy! Thank you. πŸ˜‰ Blessings and Aloha-

  16. Any advice on rebellious teen boys when your a single divorced mom? Alsoways close he now just wants to Be with his dad.

    1. Hey Susan, thank you for commenting. I’m sorry I’m sure that is a tough feeling. To start with, please keep in mind that teenage boys are often more drawn to dad b/c they feel that man-to-man connection…that is not all bad. (I hope his father is a good influence!) Otherwise, my best advice is to keep talking to him, caring about him, letting him know you love him. He may be going through a lot right now, so in time he might open up more. Pray for him, direct him to good and positive influences, and try to be an encouraging voice in his life. Never give up! (But also hold to your standards and don’t forget to parent him — including consequences for bad behavior as is needed!)
      all the best to you and please keep in touch! xo

  17. Granado Y. says:

    I kind don’t know what to do about this , A friend of mine has a 12 year old name Matt , He has been raising him on his own since he got divorced years ago . Matt doesn’t have his mother a lot because, She lives in another state with her former husband and children. Well when I met Matt for the first time he hardly talked and looked grumpy lol. As the days past I started to engage more and more I’m his life. Asking about school, sports, foods, goal & life etc. Like my little friend I could say . Well now he has started to look for me a lot more, He wants to start hanging out more also now he wants to start staying over my house.He makes any excuse to help me out in anyway just to be around me. I love him don’t get me wrong, He has changed so much in these two years. His father tells me a lot β€œI don’t know what you did to that boy β€œ lol . β€œHe likes you a lot”. He is always asking for you and about you. He talks to his friends and step brother about you like If everyone knew who you where . β€œThat made me feel good actually and proud and loved as well . I love Matt like if he was mine.I don’t have kids of my own. My marriage broke because of that as well. I would love to help raise Matt with his father , I just don’t know if it’s the right thing to due over all because, his father and I are just friends and we both have our own life’s plus my friend Hendri has no issue with Matt being with me 24/7 . He jokes a lot like β€œI don’t know how you put up with this clown lol o etc. He likes the bond that we have together. But overall with everything.I just don’t know how my friend would take it if I were to tell him that or better said…..Like by the way Is that something that’s done or is it right to do? Oh…..
    Also matt called me mom today getting out of school. I made it seem like I didn’t hear but as the day past he kept saying it but also he would call me by my name. too. Was I wrong in not correcting him? Do I tell his father tomorrow when I see him or do I speak to Matt first???
    Can someone give me advice on all this?

    Thank you,

    1. Thank you for sharing that story. Yes, it is complicated and you sound like a very caring, loving soul! πŸ™‚ I think it is time for a good talk with Matt’s dad about your role and appropriate boundaries. I see nothing wrong with being a role model and special person to a growing boy who needs a mom-role in his life, but you need to be careful because he may grow to depend on you and there are just many ways this could get difficult. I would suggest setting up appropriate boundaries and communicate them clearly. Unless you are going to marry his father, I would not suggest letting him call you “mom” and I also wouldn’t recommend him staying with you etc. Again this is all stuff you need to work out with the father! All the best to you and hope it works out easily. πŸ™‚

  18. πŸ’™

  19. Thanks for the reaffirmation in the thoughts I’ve had but wasn’t completely sure if they were accurate ! πŸ™‚

  20. Not sure what year this article was written, i wish i had read it years ago for it has uplifted me. You see I’ve been beating myself up for my mistakes and this article confirms i have not done so bad. I think i do all these things! And i do like my sons!
    I just wish they would find their happiness sooner. I think they are stagnating. I love to read from moms with no daughters like me too.

  21. I do all the things you talk about. I have a loving 18yr old who leads a relatively charmed life with just me( his dad died last year from cancer) but all he wants is to be gone from home (relatively palatial even) with his friend. No. He’s not gay, but I think the pull of marijuana is strong though. I feel like I have to beg him to be home with me. Makes me feel dissed, alone and not respected.

    1. Lynne, first of all, so sorry you are having to be a single parent at this point. That is so hard. The truth is, at 18 your son is an adult. It is healthy and normal for him to gain independence. Is he a student or does he have a job? If he lives with you then there is no reason you cannot set rules about his lifestyle (marijuana and other unhealthy/unproductive choices he might make.) He is at an age where he should be using his time to become a man. Encourage that. And you need to have your own life — friends, work, service, whatever you can find that fills you up. It is important that we moms let go of our boys and do not hold on too tightly! I wish you all the best.

  22. I was looking for Christmas Birthday party Ideas for my Teen son and stumbled across your article on google…… I just left the house a bit frustrated with my sons attitude and thought I better read this and so I did…… as God loves to show of in a sunset or moonlit sky reminding us of his presence, he also did in your article. Let me just say your advice was wonderful and so timely …. let me just say my sons name is Josiah and he will be turning 15!!! Coincidence? I know not! Just God’s way of showing me he hears my prayers and knows our names<3
    I am going to school to be a Christian counselor and I question my self at times when I’m at a stump in my own home… but because my heart and eyes are set on Him, He always brings some wise words for me and reminds me we are not perfect but his Grace is. We just learn, love and move forward.
    Thank you and bless you.
    Mayra Valenzuela

  23. Thank you Monica for this positive article. I needed this right now.

  24. I loved this! as a mom of 7 children with six of them being boys, I can relate. Our oldest is 18 and is about to move out but I know God’s got him. Thank you so much for this article. Pinning it!

    1. Wow, that means a lot coming from a pro! πŸ™‚ Thank you for taking the time to comment! aloha-

  25. Thank you so much for this amazing post!!! My oldest son is 11 and he is also the oldest from his cousins so I really don’t have anyone to go to for advice on teenage years. This will be something I can come back and reflect to.

    1. So glad to hear that! Glad you found the post. You might like to sign up to be notified when I am closer to launching my book, Boy Mom, which will go much more in-depth on all things raising boys (and teenage boys!) Find the signup here; https://monicaswanson.com/my-books/ Much Aloha to you!

  26. πŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸ˜­ This was such an amazing and perfect post for my season right now. Thank you thank you. So glad I found you on Pinterest!!

    1. Glad to see you here!! πŸ™‚ Hope you subscribe and keep in touch here!! Much aloha!

  27. I am not loving being a mom to a teenage son. I do not have a support network, and my son is all I have. I am single. He has some mild autism/aspergers type symptoms since he was a toddler. Since he was 12 I feel I’ve gone between being his personal assistant and a tyrant. He has gone from being the most adorable, sweet, joyful child to completely ignoring my existence and being disrespectful. That is, unless he wants something, like being taken out to eat. It’s impossible to treat him how to treat other people and his future wife if I give and give and he gives nothing. I’m very tired of this and discouraged. Even the dog is stressed out. :'(

    1. Amy, I’m so sorry to hear that you are struggling. I have found the teenage years particularly challenging with Autism, even high functioning. My son is 13 and he thinks everything I say to him is critical. It can be my tone of voice or word choice. I did find that working towards a goal with a highly gratifying reward was motivating for him. I have worked closely with his psychiatrist to keep an eye on meds, too.

  28. My sons are grown, in their 40’s. My best years with them were their teen years.Each son had his own interests, I respected their differences. One was a reader, the other athletic. I went to lacrosse games and drove to play practice. Always kept communication open. We lost their Dad at age 46.It was tough,but we still have the bonds of their teen years. Oh in their teens they want to do their thing. Like a little bird on a branch, let them go so far and they come back. Love them. Don’t criticize, listen to them. Never comment on their choice of girlfriends. Set boundaries for your home.Give them chores, teach them how to do their laundry. Sometimes you have to push them to become the men that will make you proud. Other times you cry with them. They grow so quickly. Teen years are bonding years, don’t let those years get away from you. They are the best. You may not know it when you are going through it, but you will for a long time after. I wish I had those years to do all over again.

  29. I would think this article would come AFTER you got through the teenage years……I think you will have different advice once you experience teenagers in allllll thier glory!! Lol
    I’ve raised two (25&23) & now a 9 year old… I’ve definitely learned from my mistakes.
    Good luck & well wishes

    1. Thanks Lola! πŸ™‚ I agree, experience does teach us a lot. Though the article was written a full four years ago (my oldest is now 19), and honestly I wouldn’t change a whole lot as far as a simple list goes. I am, however, writing a book now called Boy Mom, which goes much more in-depth into all of the things I’ve experienced and learned through research and other’s experiences as well. I love this journey! Hope you’ve had a good one too.

      1. I would love to read that book!


  30. My heart is breaking. I am tired of crying. My 18 year old son is stressing me out so bad. I feel like a bad parent. Help please

    1. I’m praying for you Sandra. Sorry for what you’re going through. God can do anything. I encourage you to seek some counseling in person and keep hope that things can get better.

    2. Hoping things are better for you. These boys really are hard work, I have two. And if you are getting resistance then it’s probably from being a good parent and trying to enforce some rules or just get treated with respect.
      Surround yourself with good friends and a support network that can be there for you. I couldn’t get by without my friends. And a good friend of mine said you don’t always have to like your kids. After all if your friends treated you as badly as your kids do you would show them to the door!
      Stay strong and good luck.
      Mum from NZ

  31. Hey how can a mom help his tennage son feelings for girls !how can she help his son in relationship with girls !

    1. Hey Joshna, that’s a good question. πŸ™‚ I do have a couple posts that might help a little (search for dating and you should find one or two.) Otherwise my best advice is to talk openly with your son, talk about your concerns and make sure he knows he can talk to you about everything. Help him establish boundaries and look for books or other resources that will support that. My husband and I have taught our boys about purity from a Biblical standpoint and helped them understand that it is for their best that they follow God’s design for their life. Plugging them into a healthy church youth group has helped a lot too as they have youth group leaders who they can turn to for advice and support. Hope something in there helps! Let me know if you have any specific questions. πŸ™‚ Aloha!

  32. Kudos to u for clearing out doubts in my mind to raise my 19 yr old boy. Almost he iz an Adult now. But love being mom to him.

  33. I have been a single mom to my four boys for about nine years now. They are currently 19, 17, 14 and 14. We have made it through poverty, domestic violence, and not knowing where our next meal was coming from. Now – God has us in a season of reprieve from these adversities, and I remain so very grateful. They are the most amazing blessings God has ever blessed my life with. My sons are kind, respectful, hard-working and they are good students, who are kind to themselves and others. I stand in awe of what God has brought us all through. Literally. And of how they are each strong in their own ways. My boys are so strong. My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is whom I give all of the credit to, for helping us through these tough time. Thank you, Father God, for your goodness in my every day life, and most importantly, for my four precious blessings from YOU. If you are reading this, and if you are going through hard times, hang in there. God is good. He will get you through. He will not forsake you. He will teach you and guide you and help you figure things out and heal. He will give you strength on days when you feel like crawling back in bed and forgetting about the world and all of the problems of the day or of the tough season you are in. Jesus Christ is the only reason I am anything. Jesus Christ is the only reason my boys and I have made it through what we have. Peace be to anyone who reads this.

    1. Sad and weak says:


  34. Hi and thank you for this post. I have no idea how old it is, but in consulting with my therapist Dr. Google (LOL), this one hit home. My son is 15 and a half and seems like a totally different person than he was just a month ago.

    One thing I’ve read that has really helped me is that boys have a need to separate from their mother as teens so they can become MEN. Along with the general desire for independence, they begin to see their mother’s imposition of rules and restrictions as somewhat emasculating. This is why, I believe, my son seems to be gravitating much more to his father (we are divorced) and more distant from me. ALL of your advice makes sense. I am working hard now to be less of a dictator and more of a negotiator – to make sure he has a voice that is heard. At the same time I think it is really true that deep down they want and need to feel safe. How to do this? I look at it like bumpers at the bowling alley – to give him the freedom to wander/dream/try new things, but still provide the parameters in which he is allowed to do all these things. I think it’s also important to collaborate with the father if he is available to them, so there is consistency in boundaries from one house to the other. Thankfully, my son’s father and I have a pretty solid co-parenting relationship, something I thank God for every day.

    Thank you again for your positive and hopeful post, as well as all the comments – nice to know I am not ALONE!

  35. Kristin Kakarides says:

    I love all of these! And for the most part I do all of them. I just feel like my son is really changing at 14 which is normal, I know. But I kind of feel like I’m losing him. Like he wants nothing to do with me. On top of that he gets nasty and super sensitive over the smallest things. He tells me I blame him for everything and his little brother gets away with murder. Not true. I just want him to be kind to me and love me still lol. I get on his nerves which is fine. My mom got on mine too. I want to spend more time with him but I know I need to do things with him that he WANTS TO DO. Unfortunately his days are spent mostly playing video games. That’s what he likes. What activities do you partake in with your boys?? What are some special bonding moments I can make happen here? Any ideas would be great! Thanks so much for taking the time to post this stuff!

    1. If you partake on these video games u will quickly notice they will partake with you in other stuff. Some of the funniest nights weve had are my 3 boys trying to “help” mom learn their video games. Ahortly thereafter we were then a family doing things outdoors and such. They have to know you’re serious about them and spending time…not being a mom. Just for a while be their friend. U can have mom boundaries but play on ur boys level for a bit. Worked for me.

    2. I read your comment and it was almost like you were reading my mind! I am in the exact same situation, Kristin! It’s so hard! I hate that my son thinks I’m yelling at him all the time and quite frankly I feel like I’m yelling at him all the time. Ahhhh reading your comment has gave me some relief that I’m not the only one going thru this. Thank you!

      1. Stacie Smith says:

        My 14 year old son recently decided that he does not want to come back to my house. He told his dad that he feels like he is being bullied at my house. Dad let’s him do whatever he wants at his house without any consequences. I feel that I am just parenting him but do not feel like I can make much of a difference in his life with only 6 days a month to do so. I have no say so in his day to day life and dad is not very cooperative and would prefer me to just disappear. I am severely distraught and do not want my son to turn our lole my ex. He is teaching him that he doesn’t need to respect women. I just dont know what to do.

  36. Mahrooz Maddela says:

    I aways tried my best as a mother, I am also a devout believer in God and Prayers. My husband and I raised our 2 boys with God’s love, and service to humanity. Now one is 21 and one is 18 , facing their own challenges. I look back and I wished I did things differently. But all that said, do you have any suggestions for now, learn from past and moving forward. The 18 yr old one is finishing High School this year so still at home. He thinks he knows it all and can do anything he wants. I have my house rules and boundaries but when it is broken, somehow he follows the consequences but drifts away or begs for forgiveness and I give him another chance thinking I am compromising because he is older.
    Thank you,
    For Privacy I do not like my name or email be posted

  37. Megan ingram says:

    Hey monica , im glad i found this i struggle to maintain balance with my three boys and i have a 4 yr. Old girl lol and what you said really helped me to grasp what they need i pray all the time i want to be a great mother but always feel like i fail at it so thanks for your great advice ill keep praying and working harder! πŸ˜„

  38. Emily Lewis says:

    I do pretty much alll that stuff my son is 12 and still likes me to scratch his back and arms . Trying to break the laying down with him at night time . Him and I go to the skatepark on the weekends rock climbing bonding thing . He always is open with me cuz I don’t give him attitude and actually listen to his feelings.

    1. MariaGuliana says:

      Hi Emily,
      You are an amazing mommy to your son. It’s wonderful that you are an open and involved listener to him. As our boys get older and begin to focus more on their friends it’s harder to have that mom-son time. Enjoy every moment with him. My son is 16 and we love our once a week mom-son date. Let me know if you want to share. MariaGuliana ([email protected])

  39. Hi Monica – thanks for your article, it really resonated with me. I’m an Aussie Mum whose son has just turned 13, and am preparing for the road ahead through puberty! I can see the early signs of change, and just want to make sure I’m being the best, doing the best for him that I can. Will definitely be subscribing to your regular posts. Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much Angela! So glad you found the post and my blog! I am so glad you’ll be around (I love Aussies! :)) Blessings to you and keep up the good work! Aloha-

  40. I was drawn to this. I love my son the teen, but he drives me mad. See my precious husband died a year ago, leaving me to sole parent to three children. And within that I lose everything, especially myself. So for a year all of my children lost a mother and a father. But now we are building unfortunately all at different rates. My teen and my 7 yr old fit viciously leaving their little sister and myself lost. It’s all very testing but I will take onboard your words and in hope that beyond the grief and pressure that I can foster an environment where my son the teen can flourish thank you .

  41. This is all very true and great advice!

  42. Maria Stewart says:

    Hello Monica, my name is Maria. You are sooo right! Enjoy your son’s, they are precious ! We lost our Precious Son when he was 14 on September 2nd, 2015. Seth had just started the 9th grade and was running on the track with his PE class when he collapsed. Seth had a stroke! We never saw this coming! Seth was starting to get better in the hospital, and then he had a second one 3 days after the first. He was taken into surgery to release the pressure. We lost Seth 3 days after surgery. This has been a nightmare we never wake up from! So yes, yes, yes, enjoy every second with your teenage son’s. We miss him every second of every day. Please just enjoy all the times you get to spend with them, even the hard days. We were not able to share all the precious moments with our Precious Son. We have also been blessed with Seth’s amazing friends. They are all sooooo kind and have included us in all that they do. I can see why our Precious Son Seth called them all his ” Best Friends “. Seth is our only Son, our only child. Thank you for your words. I hope everyone with kids takes your advice, because it is so very important. Maria, Seth’s Mom

    1. Thank you for such a touching post and I’m sorry for the loss of your son. You are a kind and giving person to share this with those of us who need the reminder that our children are precious and more important than any perceived problem. I will do better after reading your post. Thank you! Sincerly

      1. Hi Maria. Im so sorry for the lost of your precious son. I cant imagine what you are going through every day. I thank you so much for sharing your story. Its a great reminder for me not to take my children for granted. And spend as much time with them. God bless you and your husband and he may help you heal your pain. Regards
        Moe Palu

    2. Linda Harris says:

      Dear Maria, we don’t know each other, but was researching teenage boys for my daughter, & fell into Monica’s story & then stumbled upon your so very sad story about Seth. You have my heart felt sympathies. I think the point I’m trying to get to is that my grandson is 14, 1st yr of high school and starting to get out of line so to speak. He has ALWAYS since birth been absolutely the happiest, most personable, most polite, smart, respectful and much much more child I’ve ever seen. I’ve always told him he would be president some day & as grandparents do, I spoiled him also. He was born on 9/11 & I’ve always told him there was a reason for his special bday.
      Lately, been so upset, frustrated,and just over all disappointed in him because of his actions and poor choices he’s making, my daughter is also feeling this way, and so trying to figure out how to turn him back around. She’s a good mother, a single mother, but has always been a very good disaplainarian as well as making sure he has what he needs and I believe to much of what he wants, but that’s not my role. As I think about and research teenage boys looking for answers that may help my daughter with her son.(since I just had a girl) I read your story and have to say that I am inspired, because even tho I wasn’t going to give up on him at least I STILL HAVE HIM & HE’S STILL With us. and now so much more determined to get my grandson back to who he really is and can be.
      I never THOUGHT about Life w/o him, only How ANGRY he’s making me & HURTING himself as he breaks my heart watching him do these STUPID, Absolutely the opposite of the way he was brought up.
      I now realize how much worse it could be after reading your story. TY for sharing, how hard it must of been and always will be for you. Breaks my heart when I see how life isn’t fair for some reason, yet I believe that God has some sort of reason we just can’t understand. I’m fortunate that (as bad as it looks) for my grandson right now, it’s better than not having him in my life. I hope I didn’t bore you with my story, I guess I’m reaching out, venting, and I wanted to lyk how much you opened my eyes.
      Sincerely, Linda

  43. Hi Monica, it’s 3:30 in the morning and after crying myself to sleep I soon woke up and found your article/blog. I’m a mom of a 19 year old son. He is grown up to be a fine young man. He is a sophomore in college, involved in a fraternity and is living in a house off campus. These past 2 years have been so emotionally difficult “letting go”. He has come home for fall break and I feel so detached from him. We have bickered this weekend over stupid things and he leaves tomorrow. I feel like I’m just out of his life now. Less in common. I have done what you said in your blog regarding staying home for him and always letting him know I’ll be here for him. Maybe that has worked for him but it has been so sad for me. My husband is battling cancer. Stage 3 but closer to 4 colon cancer. We thank God for our Christian faith. It seems like my son doesn’t want to come home this coming summer. He mentioned it this weekend but doesn’t want to “talk” about it now. He said he could easily continue working through the summer and stay at his house. This news broke my heart. I feel like he should come home b/c is dad may not have that much time left . My son has so many years to live on his own Why rush it now? This time is so critical and I want our family to be together as much as possible. Am I being selfish for feeling this way?

    1. Diane, oh I am so sorry for how things are at the moment…it is so hard to wrestle with feelings like those, (and they are legit.) Bless you. First of all, I think your son is dealing with a lot of feelings at the moment and you need to know that your relationship is not over…I have a strong feeling that this is stage that you will look back on. it is hard to trust that, but trying to force a close relationship right now could just push him away. I encourage you to pray and get busy with other things and really trust God to bring your relationship to a good place in time. I think at 19 this is super normal (I sense hints of it in my 18 year old,) and I think the more light and open-handed you are, the more your son will be drawn back to you. As for his decisions about next summer and all of that, pray about it and wait on it. Your son is probably really struggling with his dad’s health…much more than you know. You communicate well in writing, so once you’ve processed your feelings (and gotten some rest) I really encourage you to write out your thoughts to your son. This might be a better way to communicate. You also much take care of yourself, find things that fill you up and a support system. You are surely being drained with your husband’s health and as well (I’m SO sorry πŸ™ ) but I will pray for you and I hope you’ll keep me posted. This too will pass and one day you will have a full story that may have some pain but will turn out for your good and God’s glory. πŸ™‚ XOXOX

    2. My brother was a sophomore in college when my dad was dying of cancer, (and I was a senior). Then a few years after my dad died, our mom got diagnosed with breast cancer (in remission 15 years now), but both times my brother had a difficult time being at home. With my dad’s illness, my brother never was quite sure how to be, he was quiet and withdrawn which isn’t like him. With my moms chemo and surgeries, I took her to surgery and did what I could (she’s incredibly strong so she didn’t need a whole lot), but my brother couldn’t be there. He’s a strong man now and great dad, but I think young men/teens just deal with very tough things more quietly. My son is 9, though, and that’s why I’m personally here. I know nothing yet about raising a teen, lol. But just wanted to share about my brother in such a similar situation. He and my mom are best of friends now, so just hang in there.

      1. Really good advice, Karen. Thank you for sharing that. And I’m glad you’re here — I hope you too find some encouragement and community here on my blog! πŸ˜‰ Much aloha-

  44. I found a letter in my son room saying he hates me because I’m allows fussing and he’s trying to be a good kid.

    1. So sorry Chris. Those are hard words to read, but keep in mind kids say a lot of things they don’t really mean. This is a great opportunity to talk to your son though, bring it up and maybe you can work through things. It’s great to hear he is trying to be a good kid–that’s huge!! Open it up, and talk about it. This may be one of the best things that has happened between you.

  45. Good evening…. I’m a mother of a 16yr old (a week shy from his 17 bday) and we are butting heads tremendously the last 1 1/2!!! Which is really hard for me because up until then we were really close!! His entire attitude has changed!! He is back talking and just don’t want to do his chores. He has really changed and I first I blamed it on his age and hormones but it hasn’t improved. I’m not a strict mother at all. The only thing I ask him to do is keep his room cleaned and clothes off the floor in his bedroom and bathroom, cut grass and take out trash. He tells me “I’ll do it in a minute ” and that minute never comes until it turns into a huge argument and then he tells me he has it so bad and none of his friends have to clean. The things he says to me hurts me tremendously and I don’t know how to deal with him. I feel the years previously were the easy years and the last 1 1/2 have been awful!!! There are times he tells me things and share things with me. But as soon as I tell him to do chores or he is in bad mood the arguments and disrecpt starts!!! He use to be the sweetest and most loving child. He is my only child and I’m at a lost! I’m been in deep prayer about this and if you have any advice please give it!!! I don’t want to lose my son! He is my world and I want out relationship to be mended. HELP

    1. Oh Dina-So sorry you’re going through this. I can’t give too much specific advice since I don’t know you or your son, but it does sound like a respect issue. Have you sat down with your son at a peaceful moment and let him know how it hurts you when he treats you that way? I would always start with communication, and sometimes that is best done with a mediator (counselor, etc.) Also, as long as he is in your home, I would attach a consequence to rude or disrespectful behavior. Speak to him firmly and let him know that he has been out of line and it is time to change. It is for his best and you deserve to be treated well. If you lay down the law, often they rise up and respect you more. You might remove privileges or find some firm consequence to give. You are in charge and at this point it doesn’t sound like he’ll change if you keep taking it. Hang in there and please keep me posted. Aloha-

    2. Um AbdulRasheed says:

      Hi Dina,
      Usually kids in this age dislike direct orders, they also do not accept suddenly made plans. It would be wise to make a plan in advance and remind him at the accurate time. Look out for a time when he is in a good mood and try to strengthen friendship with him, making him know surely that you want the best for him.

  46. I love this article… it helps me a lot. I am so confused now and don’t know what to do with my 13 year old son. Actually raising a son is not a new to me because I have a 19 years old college boy. A lot of mom especially my friends envy to me because I raised him very well, he is a consistent honor in school, good looking, very polite and everybody likes him. A total package of a young adult. But my 13 year old son is half opposite, he grown up rude, don’t listen to any suggestions, when he was a baby, he cried a lot and I am very stressed of him. When started schooling, he didn’t listen to me when i teach him lessons. And people always compared him with his older brother, yes he is not good looking, thin and always in a bad mood. He will not give you a smile or even say sorry if he did something wrong. He is just an average student in school, while his brother got a lot of medals and merits in school. He don’t receive even one. Now I really don’t know what to do to him to at least gain him a self confidence. I am in a family that good looks and excel in school is matter.
    P.S. I’m planning to send him in modeling and peraonal development school. His hobby is reading books.

    1. Um AbdulRasheed says:

      Hi Dayrel,
      Some kids are so sensitive that any simple matter may make them anxious, the brain in this case stops reacting to the situation to ease itself, which gives the others the impression of insensitive person. Such a person is twice unfortunate.
      Back to your 13 year old son, I felt from your post that he is repeatedly being compared to his brother (this thing is destructive to any child), and every child is different from others (always keep this in mind) . This child must be having other talents than achieving high marks and medals in the beginning of his student life. He may become even better in the coming years.
      Use your motherhood sense and let him discover that you love him, not his achievement.

  47. I am a widow. I have a 16 year old son. I have tried to keep him busy during summer by enrolling him @ the away camp @ the ymca for 2 weeks & another week of a day camp which ended yesterday.He sure has become a totally different boy.Reading your article helped me a lot. Yes, I agree , I am a strict parent and your article makes feel very guilty about it. My son has been bugged by a gal from his camp texting him endlessly and I don’t know how to react as he is being invited to visit her @ her house & am not sure if this is an ok thing or not.Many things are going on in my mind !! I have explained to him that he was still too young to date a gal right now…Am I wrong to tell him that??I have no support system anywhere & its hard!!! But I have no complaints !!! Just trying to read and get advice from other similar parents who have sons & are raising hem well. I have so much to ask you!!!! Thank you

    1. I really enjoyed your article about what teen boys need from their moms. I have three daughters 29,26 & 20 and a son who will be 13 in September. I have daycare in my home & there are no boys in our neighborhood his age. He doesnt have any friends except one boy he rides bus with. He did do some things w/that boy in begginning of summer. My son is a bery quiet boy. He plays baseball in spring. He likes playing on his ipad! But i make him help with some chores around house & read & he plays out in backyard. He was kind of off today-seemed upset. Well after talking to him i got out of him that he is sad he doesnt have anybody to hang out with😒 He is a good kid & a good student. He got along with other kids on baseball but just never clicked with any one kid. Ugh my heart is so sad for him!! I am going to call the youth director ar our church &
      See if he has any ideas of who i could hook my son up with. I think youth group is only for high schoolers. Anyway i didnt know if you may have any ideas for what i could do to get my son a buddy to do things with. Thank you for your time!

  48. I have read blogs, and maybe I am missing the ones I need, but my 15 year old sophomore came home with a neck full of hickeys, and NEEDLESS to say, I was a raging freaking lunatic! I am a single mother, and when I say single, I mean single!! My ex would have high fived him and possibly asked for the TMI details!!! My son has seen me struggle. He knows I got pregnant with his sister by the same father at 16 and by 17, a mom! He came 8 years later!!! He is a fairly decent student and is a shining star on the high school baseball team and football! When I saw this and exploded with W****T****F is that?!!? He said me, “calm down mom.” Are you kidding me? I demanded to know who she was, where she lived, etc… I simply told him to eat his dinner, go to bed, and we would talk about it in the morning!! I know what this age is like, but for Pete’s Sake, come on!!

  49. Hello Monica,
    Im.a single Mother, been divorced for 6 years… my ex lives in the same town and has been a huge let down to my kids and myself… put him through med school late in life, he decided he didnt want to do anything , so he is a loud know it all that does nothing…very embarrassing for all of us …we divorced 6 years ago …
    My daughter just turned 18 and my son 16 … he and I were always closer more alike, he has always been so sweet and personable, in the past year it has changed … they dont see their Dad a lot ,but he has been more often in the past few months …
    He is becoming opinionated, rude to his sister and lazy… not the same boy … not wanting to get up for church … just seems mad , sometimes sad … I try not to do the talky talky Woman thing, but it’s hard… I want to help him through whatever it is he is feeling and dont know how …
    I feel this is coming from spending more time with his Dad and his bad attitude…
    He has always told me he wants a good step dad like other kids have… I haven’t dated because I didnt want to bring the wrong man into their life … I have been very Blessed with both of my children …
    Maybe it’s time he sees a good man talk to me / treat me the way I and or any woman should be treated ? I have met a wonderful man , that would show him this … I feel he is needing to see a good man in action , maybe this is what he is truly missing ?

    1. A Happily remarried Man says:

      Just make sure that man is what YOU want, as well. Your son will see him through your eyes. If this wonderful man becomes your son’s stepdad, that means he is also your husband. Your husband will be in your house a lot longer than your son. It is important your son knows what a good man is, and that not every good man is perfect for every good woman. Hopefully this wonderful man is that perfect man for you.

      My wife left me many years ago, and I found a wonderful woman. I am showing my two young sons how a man is supposed to treat and respect women. She is helping to show my two young sons what a good mom is and how a woman is supposed to treat a man. Mutual respect, and open communication, is what they are learning.

  50. When dealing with your preteen son’s, did your husband ever feel Like a third wheel?

  51. I have ALL BOYS, triplets that are 16 and a 14 year old. They think I’m mad all the time. I get up in the morning and I’m already upset because someone left the ice cream out or the refrigerator door is open. Im already yelling “WHO LEFT THE ICECREAM OUT” first thing in the morning. When I get home from work, I notice the front doors wide open with the Ac on or my silverware is in the driveway! Seriously, I have tried and tried not to let those things bother me and it last about a day. My boys are so sweet and loving to me and I wish I could be the mom that spoke in a soft voice. My work and friends never see me angry and my kids only see me angry. I’m surprised they still hug and tell me they love me daily. I know I’m lucky and I hate I let those things bother me, but I just can’t seem to let it slide.

    1. Malinda–You are not alone. Many moms feel that their kids get the worst of them, and it is a really yucky feeling. I do believe that you are a good mom, doing your best, and that your kids see that and know it. But because it obviously bothers you to feel the way you do, I encourage you to make a few small changes that might add up. We can get stuck in a rut of dealing with things a certain way, and even if we don’t like it, it is comfortable because it is habit. So change things up by doing one or two things different for the next week. It often just requires a bit of creativity. For example, maybe call the boys on the way home from work and ask them to do a sweep through the house/driveway to make sure nothing is left out, doors aren’t open, etc., and ask them to do one extra helpful thing to surprise you (wipe the counters, turn on soothing music, whatever would bless you.) Try something new and see if it helps start a new pattern of behavior. And take care of yourself as well– it sounds like you are carrying a very heavy load.
      Many blessings to you–thanks for taking the time to comment. xo

      1. My name is Nora and I have a 14yr old son who I do not allow to date and I don’t want him communicating with girls on the phone even though he says they are just friends we are followers of Jesus I just feel like it’s temptation he told me he dosent trust me

        1. Nora, I understand it can be hard, but you probably need to come up with a compromise. Your son needs to feel you can trust him, and you should trust him unless he has proven otherwise. It’s ok if he cannot date, but I think if you refuse to let him interact with girls it may eventually backfire. You want him to keep talking to you about things so I encourage you to find a compromise and a place where you can give some freedom and see how he handles it. Keep me posted! πŸ™‚ aloha-

        2. Father of 3 Christian men says:

          Nora, Jesus talked to women. He had a special friendship with Mary Magdalene, who was not exactly an innocent teenage girl. You provided 14 excellent years of faith based upbringing. You helped build his moral compass, now let him learn how to use it. Your son needs to learn how to use those teachings.

          Instead of preventing him from talking to young girls, I think you should encourage it. This is the best time to ensure he knows how to respect and treat women. Let him have girls over as friends, and passively monitor his interaction. Praise him when he treats them with respect, and provide guidance when he needs to do something better. How do you expect him to know how to treat women if you don’t let him learn? He can only learn so much through observing your examples.

          He can’t earn your trust if you don’t let him. He will find a way to communicate with girls, whether it is in front of you, or behind your back. It will happen. Allow him to do it with honesty. Let him show you how much he actually listened to you. I suspect he will really surprise you.

      2. Great advice.

    2. I have that happen all the time. It’s Like Saying the Same Thing Over & Over Again. I say breathe. I count to 10. I feel like It’s a Huge Puzzle Every Morning. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯
      I have House Rules That No one Likes To Follow.
      I’M LOST!!!You name it I’ve tried it. All house rules. Prizes & etc.
      It is bad as the Cabinet Doors, Bathroom. CURTAIN Opened, Food * Trash in my 12 Year Old Room.
      I just took my 12 Year Old phone.away again for Not Cleaning his Room the way it Should be done. If my 12 Year Old can Make the Mess he Should Be able to Clean it.
      I’M Totally Clueless About Rasimg my almost 13th son.
      At times I feel like I’m going to have a nervous Breakdown along witb my Anxiety.
      H E L P this Mama Out PLEASE

  52. Wonderful, and as a mom and teacher I agree with all. What teen boys need most from a mom , though, is a dad; to help mom enforce the above points. As a singe mom, I just know you can really find out how limited you are when you don’t have the dad there, when the dad is not willing to do his part. A mom who has to be both a mom and a dad can’t make lists like these happen in daily life; they become much more tangled, and acquire a large number of footnotes! So, for single moms, on top of that list is the task of providing a father figure either within extended family, church, school environment, anyway possible, just don’t miss that point. Otherwise, that void WILL be filled and not always the way you would wish it. Thank you for the great post. Wishing you the best.

    1. Um AbdulRasheed says:

      A fathers role is very important one, especially for a teenage boy. I feel sympathy to each single Mom. But, think it this way, running alone upside a hill is difficult, but running it up with someone pulling you the opposite side is even more difficult! Isn’t it?

  53. Love this post. Such a great list. Thanks

  54. Lalalove32 says:

    My teenage son is 3 months from 16, and I admit it is tough. I will follow every step you suggest, he tells me ‘things’ but I know there’s more he would like to say but he thinks that I dramatize everything, which, yes, I do, but I want to protect him with all I’ve got. Please give me some more advice, so I don’t push him away.

  55. I’m a male that is 22 years of age. I wished when I was a teenager, that my mom was actually there for me but she decided to move to Utah, marry someone, have two more kids, and divorced and broke up with the guy. Before all that, she decided to take my brother who has autism and moved a total of 8 times with him in a total of 2 years and my dad got back custody of him.

    So we both were living with my dad and he was the one fully proving for the both of us while my mother was too busy handling the two other sisters we had so she couldn’t help out financially, and emotionally either. Luckily enough, my dad was (and still is) a top welder for a company and there paying him very good so we didn’t need to depend on food stamps or anything like that.

    I was longing for a mother figure in my life and so I bonded with two of my middle school teachers who helped me with my meltdowns ( I have Asperger’s). They helped me emotionally and mentally whenever I had problems since my dad wasn’t good in those two areas. They came to the high school every two months or so and we ate lunch together and checked to see if I was doing ok.

    Even to this day still they provide that for me. Just last week we went out to dairy queen, chat and they both encouraged me to go through with attended a technical college I was looking into doing to get into a good trade I would like since I finally have my car and driver’s license. I’m looking into plastic engineering technology and or electronics technology.

    It’s just sad that my mom decided to make both me and my brother’s lives harder for us in our teenage years and she wonders why we hardly talk to her that much anymore. I wouldn’t have a problem rekindling my relationship with her but she has a long way’s to go before I would ever trust her again.

    1. Thanks for sharing that Seth. It sounds very hard- I’m sorry you had to go through it. hugs

    2. Um AbdulRasheed says:

      You have made your way through life in a very responsible and confident fashion. Maybe if your mother had stayed with you it wouldn’t happen. You should be proud of yourself and a help and ideal for your brother.

  56. Hello,
    My 10 year old has told me if I get remarried he doesn’t want me to have sexual relations. I told him that is part of showing your love to your spouse. He wanted me to promise I wouldn’t .
    What is going on in his head about this and what do I tell him ? Thanks !

    1. Taylor–I’m sure it is quite normal for a ten year old to wrestle with his understanding of sex and feeling possessive of his mom. I’m not an expert on these things so I won’t try to give you an explanation, but if you feel there is real confusion or deeper issues, I always suggest you talk to a trained counselor or therapist. Otherwise, I would assume this will get better on its own over time… πŸ™‚ Much aloha and all the best to you-

    2. Have you recently separated from his father? The reason I ask is because when I separated from my husband, our 11 year old son should completely freak out and throw a huge fit if his dad would so much as look at another woman….even on tv!

      1. *would

    3. Cordy Huddleston says:

      Hi Taylor, He is aware that sex happens between adults. If he feels open to talk about it, ask him what he thinks about sex and what his understanding of it is. Show him that you understand and appreciate his concerns for mom. Explain to him gently that intimacy is something special that God created and blessed only married couples with and that it makes God happy to know that the couple can share this gift with each other, that God gives to them. This might open a deeper conversation, but also helps him to see it in a different light. Try using the word intimacy, if possible.

  57. Thankyou for all that advice-my twin boys are literally just begining their adolesence- already at times it can feel quite difficult they are almost 12 -but patience,Gods love and perserverence always seems to win in the end!

  58. Jocelyn Palacki Durbin says:

    What a teenage boy needs most from his mom?

    I quickly thought the two most important things I provided my son were:


    They want you there (at home) whether they are home or not. They want to know you are there when they get there. They want you there if they need to talk or not talk. They simply just want you there, present and definitely not on social media.

    Faith provides a moral compass. This compass is particularly critical during their teenage years. I have witnessed the lack of faith in other teens who seem lost, like something is missing.

    I was a single full time working Mother, so I was not always able to be there. However, I learned quickly our time with our children is far to short. My son Brock is 27 now, and we talk or text most every day. I could not be more proud of the man he has become, and I look forward to the day he can enjoy the gift God has blessed all of us mothers with . . . our children.

  59. I loved this. Thank you so much for sharing!! I wish I had done this with my 20 year old when he was a teen. I did not have as much patience, but have learned.

    1. Thank you Shirly! I’m sure you did your best with your son…can’t look back. I do appreciate the comment. (and most of us could use more patience! :)) Aloha-

    2. Me too! They all sound so perfectπŸ€”πŸ˜­

  60. Becky Wheeler says:

    I really enjoyed reading your post. I am the mother of two boys, thirteen and five.
    At this point I’m having a little trouble connecting with my teenager. He loves to talk to me and I him. Lately all he wants to talk about is negativity, like war. He’s constantly bringing up Isis, terrorism, Hitler, etc. I’m constantly telling him that I don’t like talking about it. He has become a Debbie downer, lol. Sometimes I get so worked up inside I want to scream, cry, and run away. He talks about the the most depressing topics. I try to get him to talk about more positive things but he usually goes right back to being pessimistic. Am I overreacting? Please, I am at my witts end. He is a very anxious person and worries a lot. Do you have any suggestions?
    Becky Wheeler

    1. Hey Becky, Thanks so much for taking time to comment here. Sorry for what you’re going through, and let’s hope it is a stage…:) (Often at that age it is!) My first thought is where is he getting all of these thoughts? Is he taking a class where a teacher is focusing on world events in a super-negative light? Is he hanging out with friends who are obsessed with this stuff or reading something on line? I think you need to know the root of it. One thing with the teenage years is they are really trying to become adults–and teens tend to pursue adult things uniquely–some will experiment with “grown up things” (alcohol/smoking) others will try to be ultra opinionated–showing that they have a mind and can think for themselves. Perhaps your son is really trying to assert himself and this is part of him finding a mature identity. I don’t think there is anything wrong with you setting boundaries. Maybe he can find a safe place to “talk world affairs” (like in a class that focuses on that?) or for a short time with you. Then you can require him to put that on the shelf and find balance through being focused on other things. You can require him to read articles on great men or women of history who show the positive side of humanity, or great things going on in the world now. You might show him Youtube videos of kids with special needs and the love that people have for them. What I’m getting at is his world needs to be expanded and then his heart will follow. Is there a youth group you could get him plugged into? Any service projects or volunteer programs? Sports? Positive hobbies? Sorry, long answer, but I do believe that YOU are the parent, and YOU can direct him even throughout his teenage years. Let him know that his feelings/opinions matter, but life is more than all of these things and enough is enough. ALSO NOTE: If you feel like this is on the side of obsessive or dangerous–I would absolutely get him to a counselor. He may need to process his thoughts in a safe place, and be evaluated by a professional. If you see any signs of extreme/dangerous thinking — anything that could hurt himself or others — by all means, get him help! πŸ™‚ All the best to you.

      1. Xenia Horton says:

        Hello Monica,

        My husband and I have a 13 year old son, my husband is my son’s step father. My son is an only child and he is in Middle school, 7th grade. He is around adults a lot and is mature for his age, however, sometimes is kinda quiet, not shy, but quiet a little. And it is hard for him to put into words to express him self, even when it comes to something simple. How can we get him to talk to us?

        1. Hi Xenia–Thanks for commenting! πŸ™‚ All kids have different personalities, and it sounds like you are in-tune with your son’s. For some of us (like me) who love to communicate, it can be really hard when our kids are not the same. We need to accept it and let them process things in their own way. But if you feel that he has things to say but just cannot seem to do it, I would have an open conversation about that. Ask if he would like help figuring out how to open up more. Usually I would just suggest returning to conversations enough that when he is ready, he might just one day open up more. πŸ™‚ But you might also suggest he try some journaling–some kids work though their feelings best through writing. Of course if you have a serious concern you might consider getting counseling or talking to a professional. Some deeper issues are hard to get to and therapists or counselors can be super helpful. All the best to you and let me know how things go, ok? πŸ™‚

          1. Xenia Horton says:

            Hello Monica,
            Thank you for getting back to me, I really appreciate that! πŸ™‚
            Thank you so much for your advice, I guess I am a type of mom who wants to communicate and you are right, it is difficult when your child is not the same. And you’re right, every child has different personality traits. Samuel is one a kind! πŸ™‚ I will talk to him about maybe writing things down, we have had him write down things before and I’ve noticed he seems to express himself better that way. But we have not had him do that on a regular basis. I guess it is easy for me to forget that maybe he just needs time to process things. Is this something I might need to encourage him to do even when he gets to be 14 years old and so on?
            I will ask him if he would like for us to help him figure out how to open to us.
            Growing up in my home, I am the oldest of my sisters and we are three girls! My parents wanted to have a boy, so they got three girls instead. So I’ve never dealt with boys, and this is my first time and first time having a teenager. He’s not a bad child, he is very loving and sensitive kid, who has good intentions. I have contacted the Youth Pastor at our church to connect him with a mentor.
            Thank you so much, I always enjoy reading your posts, they are very good! Will keep in touch!

          2. Granado Y. says:

            That’s actually great advice, To be honest I was raised by a single mother of 2 . It was really hard for me to communicate w/her growing up. I couldn’t tell her how I felt or what I didn’t like. That’s when I started to write my feelings down and it helped me so much I felt a relief in a way also I would doodle in my journals As a matter of fact I still have them and I’m 25 now. I still write down feeling, goals .
            Great advice and thank you !
            You made me remember a special way of communication that worked for me !❀️

          3. Thank you for sharing your experience. I think writing can be so therapeutic! Keep it up — never stop writing! πŸ˜‰ Blessings to you –

        2. Jocelyn Palacki Durbin says:

          Boy’s respond “open up” during physical activity. Take them out for a bike ride, roller blade or do whatever physical activity they like to do. They will begin to talk during this time. I’ve done it and it’s like magic!

      2. Hello. Just wanted to say that your advice is on point. I, too, have a teenage son that is very in tune with world happenings and he always seemed to focus on the negative. It has been a long road. we got him involved in youth group, really talked to him about what interests him and got him involved in that as well. But most importantly, we had to understand that he was talking to us about the world to maybe make sense if it in his own head. Let him talk to you. He is probably very opinionated about it but let him get it out. You can insert in areas that you need to but he will appreciate that you placed importance on what he is saying. As time goes on, he will learn to also listen to your point of view and why things are not as negative as a teacher, media, etc would have him think. It is slightly painful to listen to but it has helped us grow closer and opened his eyes to other points of view.

  61. Diana Lewis says:

    This was an Amazing piece. I can appreciate your words of experience and can relate. Thank you for sharing and confirming I may be on the right path ;).

  62. Dear Monica,

    I kinda have a question about my 17 year old boyfriend and him being a momma’s boy.
    We’ve been together for a while now and i’m at a point in my life where i have to move out and find a house myself. (I’m 18)
    My boyfriend is not aloud to sleep over at my house i am only aloud at his house and he is a major momma’s boy.
    He kisses her on the lips, lays on her lap when i’m sitting on his, hug’s her way too much in my opinion and always chooses her side.
    I told you i was moving out because my boyfriend wants to sleep over everyday of the week because he is at age but he is not aloud.
    I don’t know what to say or what to do…please help.


  63. Jenni Riley says:

    I love your writing. I so am needing to hear these words. I am feeling like I’m losing my son to his friends. He has one that he thinks is “iT” and it scares me a little. Other good friends are being pushed aside for this one . I don’t want to squash his closeness with me and Dad by restricting this friend to much, although we have a plan to ween him out a bit gradually. He is a good boy (ha 14 Yrs old) and we have always been so close. He does have a wonderful church backing and activities there are so wonderful. I am feeling a loss in my “MOMNESS” hard to explain but your advice really touched me. Thank you Monica

    1. Hey Jenni–Thank you so much for commenting and sharing a bit from where you’re at. It sounds like you’re handling things well, and some honest communication is always the best route. You can talk about balance and the importance of keeping perspective with friendships and always staying close to family. He may or may not show that he gets it, but in time I think he will. πŸ™‚ Just remember that you are the parents and you do have the right to set boundaries, even on his time with friends etc. Keep up the great work! And I promise–your son will always need you! πŸ™‚ Aloha-

  64. Thank you for your positivity and for including your faith in a graceful way! It’s such a bittersweet yet critical time to begin to give them wings.

    1. Thank you Keri–I appreciate that so much. Much aloha-

  65. My oldest son just turned 16. Eek! My youngest son will be 13 in May. I have often wondered if I’m doing things right, even though they are excellent students and athletes and genuinely good boys. This article showed me I’ve been on track, not always perfect or even close, but on track.

    1. Of course you’re on track, Lisa. I’m sure you’re doing amazing! Give yourself some credit and try to just enjoy this time. The fact that you landed on this blog post shows that you are genuinely trying, and that is more than most parents out there! haha. Keep it up! Aloha-

  66. Terrie Alexander says:


    1. You are so welcome, Terrie! Much aloha – πŸ™‚

  67. Adriana Sierra says:

    Thank you this means so much for me, I have 3 boys and sometimes I feel desperate. They are 6, 2 an 1 year olds.

    1. oh you’re so welcome Adriana! You’re at a very challenging season. Hang in there and keep smiling and parenting well and the good days will be ahead! XO aloha-

  68. Well written. We are Christians too and that can make these years easier and harder at the same time. My son broke down crying yesterday when we approached him about some issues with grades and then just clammed up and wouldn’t talk at all. He’s generally very silly and creative but deep at the same time. Two years ago, he was on fire for God and asked to be baptized by our youth pastor…. Now, I can see he’s really searching to figure out if this whole Christianity thing makes sense or not. He’s made a lot of friends from the public high school who genuinely seem like nice kids but I doubt any of them share our faith. My sister has raised her kids in church every time the doors are open, Christian school…. And we’ll see. But I don’t think that’s the real world so we didn’t choose to be so strict but it’s scary. Your kid starts bawling when you ask about why his grades aren’t good and he won’t talk. You don’t want to exaggerate but there’s drugs, depression/suicide, sex, pressures of getting good grades, hormones in general. Hard to know when to give them space and when to get nosy. There’s always prayer. Been doin a lot of that!

    1. Thank you Carmen…Oh yea, sometimes it is hard to get them to talk, but I encourage you to keep those doors open and don’t quit reaching out. It sounds like he has something going on and he just isn’t ready to open up. I suggest you take him for a walk or do something that involves movement and less eye contact…that often allows a boy to open up more. You’re wise to be aware of all of the concerns but yes with prayer and consistent communication I think you’ll do just fine. Hang in there momma! Hope you stick around and keep me posted. πŸ˜‰ ALoha-

  69. Lori Ann Fesig says:

    Thank you for strengthening my reins. No one should have to do this job alone, do you are my partner now. God bless are babies

  70. I am a Christian Mom of a 15 year old boy and I don’t enjoy it! He is so mean to me and mad all the time. I am trying to do your 10 things, but most of the time in ends in my tears and him yelling! I’ve prayed a lot too! I need a miracle and healing for my boy! Please pray! Thank you!

    1. I will pray. So sorry for where you are with your son. I encourage you to seek help — find a counselor or someone you trust to talk to. Perhaps you are too close to the situation to see clearly…Hang in there and do not give up! Aloha-

      1. Thanks for prayers! I am seeing a Counselor. Take one day at a time right? πŸ˜„

  71. Thanks Monica for the advice. I’m a single mom with two boys ages 17 and 19. It’s terribly hard and challenging. I too am a Christian and try really hard to rear my boys in a manner fitting as such. I failed miserably as the boys got older taking them regularly to church after I was divorced. It’s been almost 10 years now. My ex and I share custody 50/50 and we both lay the law down pretty good on them but my ex lacks the kind of patience, love and nurture they really need. He now has a live in girl friend which I do not agree with and he doesn’t put the boys first in his life. I feel I am going to blink my eyes and they will both be gone tomorrow. One issue I need help with right now is, my 19 yr old has a major cursing problem. He knows it offends me terribly and I constantly remind him not to do it around me. I also remind him that it is a horrible habit that will affect him both personally and professionally if he doesn’t curtail it. Do you have any advice for me?

  72. I enjoyed reading your article and will try to remember what youve said but its hard. I have twin boys that are 16 now. One has aditude with me and the other doesnt. Ive found myself not wanting to interact with the one with the aditude. My question is, “when does aditude cross into disrespect? I feel like its the same thing

    1. Than you Yolanda! I am sorry, and I know every kid is different and having twins is probably a great way to prove it! πŸ™‚ From your question I think I can safely guess that your sons attitude is one of disrespect. If it makes you not want to interact with him, then it likely has crossed the line. I encourage you to address it and not tolerate disrespect or bad attitude. Set a standard for him to rise up to and he will likely do it. Much aloha, and all the best to you!!

  73. I have a 15 year old son, and some of his friends have just got their drivers license. I loved your part about boundaries, but also freedom. That is a fine line and I’m struggling with giving him freedom to drive places with his 16 year old friends and telling him “no”, because I’m worried about the things that can happen with a 16 year old behind the wheel. I don’t want him to lie to me about going places, but if I say no, I’m afraid he won’t be included and feel like I won’t find out if he makes a poor choice. Any advice?

  74. God only knows I’ve messed up enough in every other stage….
    as long as you did your best, that was enough mothering.
    Doubt any child is seeking for a perfect mother/father. Just a caring, attentive one.
    So please give yourself a break…. and treat yourself kindly.

  75. What a valuable post! Like you, I have four sons (and we threw in a daughter for good measure). Unlike you my sons are now grown men, ranging in age from 31 to 41. I heartily agree with these eleven guidelines and as I read, felt proud that I adhered to most of them. Today I reap the rewards and my sons fill me with pride as I watch them parenting their own kids.

    1. Oh that makes my heart so happy to hear!! Thank you Rita for sharing! I love hearing from those of you who have gone before me, and come out alive and well (and proud of the boys you raised!) (And a girl!? Oh wow….so great!) Much Aloha– πŸ™‚

  76. I really like this article. It sounds so easy written down, but I have made many mistakes already and feel it mite be too late for my son to know how much I really care about him, how I want him to be open, to talk to me if he needs to. feel he has absolutely no respect me and thinks I am all over him. I have given him a lot of freedom already. To let him know I trust in him.
    I do get involved in his passions.
    I only returned to my faith two years ago, so I did not raise him in the catholic church which I regret deeply.
    I am a single mother who can get overwhelmed easily. Stress and anxiety are my two best friends.
    I want to do a good job raising my son, so he can be a great man in the world.

    I hope what I am doing makes a difference.

  77. I’m glad I’ve found your blog. You give great advice and I love that you are a believer. My husband and I have just gotten custody of our 13 year old nephew. He comes from a place of no boundaries, no rules. So we are struggling with how much to reel him in. He plays video games all the time. (He’s on his phone all the time – games/social media) and I hate the music he listens to; I don’t mind rap, but what he’s listening to is vile. How do we set boundaries for a kid that has had none?

    Thanks for listening!

  78. I could not have read this post at a more perfect time! My son is 13 and has always been close to but recently has gotten stubborn and isolated (not too extreme) but also if I punish him by taking his phone he sneaks and takes mine or his step dad’s at night while we are in bed instead of waiting to be ungrounded. It has really bothered me and frustrated me, I have prayed hard . There are moments he is still that little boy who hugs me and wants his mommy then there is that teenager who wants to do what he wants to do and I have 3 other children and sometimes its hard to keep the patience and understanding of what he needs….just him! I need to really make more effort to reach out more to him on a personal level instead of all of them together so he knows I still see him as an individual.

    1. Oh thank you Rena–So glad you shared that, and so happy to have you here! πŸ™‚ You’re absolutely right–13 is such a tender age, I hope you can keep working on that balance between firm boundaries and connecting points! Much aloha and please keep in touch! XO

  79. Thank you so much for this article. Many times along the way I have wondered where I went wrong. I have 2 daughters with my son son in the middle. I have a wonderful bond with each of then, but there is something extra special about the bond between mother and son. He is joy bringer, a rock, my advocate, my shoulder to cry on. I believe that he has been able to be those for me because I have been those things for him. He comes to me when he needs advice, guidance, or just to vent. He always has. He is 18 now, and is heading into the Marines to start his own life I am so proud of him. And it feels so good to read this article and be affirmed that I have been the mother he has needed. Thank you. I needed that.

  80. Mark (dad) says:

    Acknowledging dads in the post script only seems more dismissive and divisive than eliminating them entirely from the article. Anything and everything written from what parenting skills momma should provide applies equally to what dad should, can, and does provide. Perhaps you’re thinking that dads rough-house more but I know mom’s that do that. Perhaps dads throw footballs but again I know mom’s that do. There’s no reason to discriminate between moms and dads in terms of what kids need. Dads can provide emotional support as well as moms stereotypically. Dads can provide all the things on this list, as it happens. Open this up to what parents can do to sort their children thru teenage years, not just moms, and the article reads more cohesively.

  81. Thanks! I need this forum! My twin boys will be 13 this Sunday. They are so different. I need all the advice I can get to raise them to become moral men.

    1. Oh so glad you found this place then, Marie! Hope you’ll make yourself at home here! πŸ™‚ Much aloha and keep in touch as those boys make their way into this next season. πŸ™‚

  82. I love this and my 3 teenage boys! Thanks!

  83. Karen Faith says:

    I have 3 teenage boys in the house, 16 & 15 & 13/5 (apparently the half is important). I loved your words of wisdom! It’s funny how I can connect with a complete stranger. With my boys lots of love (even if they don’t want it). Lots of boundaries (even if they think I suck!) Lots of encouragement to try new things, be respectful and kind to all people. Lots of encouragement to follow their sporting goals (I am their biggest fan) and to always strive to do their best. Oh and lots of food!

  84. You also need to make talk time a no boundaries, free pass so they WILL talk. They also need to know that you trust them and that you are sitting on the sidelines, ready to step in when they want or need you to intervene. My boys are now 18 and 16, they still talk to me about anything and everything.

  85. This article is great. I would like to add Having an open door policy. While raising mine I would routinely “hide” in my room. Sometimes it would be to read or sit in silence and sometimes I knew something was feeling off in my home. I would say I was going to be in my room for a bit if anyone needed me before super. More times then not someone would come to talk about stuff. Others just needed a one on one moment without a sibling to sit, snuggle, or hang. Many times super was late cause we would be goofing in my space, wrestling, cracking jokes and being silly. These were some of my favourite times. I raised 6 amazing adults. 5 ladies and 1 young man who is turning 19 at the end of summer. From time to time they call or stop by just to down load just to have a loving ear/heart hear them.

    1. I love this Rhondi! Thank you so much for sharing that! πŸ™‚ And well done — that must be quite a great feeling knowing you’ve raised 6 amazing adults!! Aloha. πŸ˜‰

  86. I only have boys as well, one will be turning 16 and the other is 11. I love them so & who they are becoming. I am glad to see that I am not the only one who does these 11 things. We too are careful of what we watch and no swear words at our house either. I was raised on these 11 principals as well as others from the Bible. My Mom taught me how important these things are like being a good example and guidance etc. My boys are a gift from God and I have been truly blessed.

    Your post was well written and written with love. Thank you for sharing.

  87. I am a single mom and my son lives with my father. I’m being patient however I don’t know if my son’s distance is just being a teen or has he become ashamed to be affiliated with me permanently. My parents have given him everything, sent him to private schools so on. I appreciate this but I don’t know whether or not he considers his financially poor mom to be a person he wants nothing more to deal with or if this is just a stage I will have to be patient? Have I lost him forever?

  88. I really appreciate your valuable and thoughtful advice. I am having a difficult time as my boys are so in to sports and I am not the biggest sports fan. My husband shares the love of sports with my boys and I do enjoy watching sports IF my sons are participates in them (ages 14 and 10). What activities can I incorporate into our lives that may get my boys enthusiastic about the Mom/son relationship? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  89. Great reminders!! I get so busy with “life” and teenagers are so independent that it’s easy to let a day go by with no hug… Sigh. Thank you!!

  90. Another stupid man who raised a civil engineer and a marketing director with six great grandchildren. says:

    Wonderful to see some attention given to boys…… with all the pressure on mothers to ’empower their daughters’ and the media attention to ‘women and minorities’ it’s refreshing to see someone giving a helping hand to an ignored group in our society. Good boys make good men who help make a good world.

  91. Leslie Brooks says:

    I am a christian. I don’t know how to entertain my son anymore, because he won’t let me. I am a single mother. I like to find things to do with him. He likes them video games. He spends to much on them.

  92. Thank you. I so needed to read this. Very helpful even for this veteran mom of a daughter, but so naive to this man child I am raising. Thank you again.

  93. Thank you very much for your advice!! This is totally true and very helpful. Sometimes we need a little hand and this is just the great advice. My son just turned 14 and and is a type 1 diabetic, going through those mood swings and we have to be the strong ones. Love them no matter what !

  94. My teenage boy dont listen me and misbehaving with me ..I treat him as you say above…he sometimes hit me if I force him for anything..i am confused please help me

    1. Kajal–That does not sound good at all…No son should hit his mother. πŸ™ I would suggest you seek help where you are. I wish I could help more from a distance, but I cannot help in the way you need. Find a counselor to talk to–I really think you and your son both need the support. All the best to you and do not accept this as normal…There is hope things can change but you must seek it out. Much aloha to you-

  95. Michelle B says:

    I whole heartedly agree with this. My teenage boys are amazing. One thing I struggle with though are my 2 teenage step sons. What are some things I can do to get them to open up and trust Me? Especially the one who resents me.

  96. renee-anij says:

    i sure folks have mentioned this, but teenage girls, too. I would have given ANYTHING to have my parentals connect with me this way. This is how we (my husband and I) react to all of our kids, since birth, because we never received this.

  97. This was so good to read. So far I have two teenage sons with three more to come. I only had sisters growing up – boys still feel like somewhat of a mystery to me. I’ll be coming back here to read this again.

  98. I loved everything you said. Sometimes we forget to do some of those things. I would like to add also not to get too caught up in just reading about how to be a good parent that your so busy reading about it, you don’t have time to actually do it! Live in the now with your family. Make time to just hang out. They grow up so quickly that before we know it, they’ll be off living their own lives and we’ll be wishing we had spent more time with them.

    1. Delwyn: Amen!—Thanks for the reminder! πŸ™‚

  99. Hi Monica, thank you for sharing such a wonderful article on a very much needed subject for me. My elder son is turning 12 yr old next week , I can already see him changing since few months in lot of different ways. Every kids is differnt & so as the mom. But as you said if we as a parent try to understand them well even more than ever then it will be lot easier & fun being around them. I got answers to lot of my doubts after reading your article…… thanks a lot πŸ˜€

  100. My son just turned 17 and I feel I ha e failed.. He will not be graduating on time next year.. I’ve done everyt possible beside quit my job and sat with him every min of every day.. He never ever follows through with anything. He’s Every open with me and we have never had a problem talking but when it comes to school ugh!!!!! I’m a single mother of 4..

  101. Ok i have a very serious question for this type of parenting. I have 3 boys and 1 girl my oldest just turn 14 on the april and my youngest son is going to 5 on july 2. I was not really around when they were younger.. Stupid reasons on my part. Ok my question is this how do i act towards my oldest due to the fact of him bieng molested by his grandpa on his dads side.. Now hes mad at everyone but the person he should be mad at. Ive already got justice for this man.. Even after that hes still very defient and i really dont know what to do.. I am very open for any type of advice or positive critisim on how to react to his anger issues ive offered counsling but he denies it says he doesnt need it.. Im so confused please help me out

  102. Don’t know wht doing wrong ..hve twins boys 15…good boys…they stay wit ther dad and I have them on weekends. And Tuesday.. Want talk to me short with me..sometime I call want answer or text back… Broken heart need help

    1. Hi Atiska — Sorry for your struggle. It is hard when you have to divide up the time with your boys…it means you must be creative and really use the time you have. Perhaps you can do something fun that they really enjoy and then ask them for twenty minutes to just connect and talk together. Let them know you love them and care about them and ask some good questions (not interrogating but lovingly) and just reach out to connect. Keep talking to them, keep praying for them. In time they will see your consistent love and support. Sometimes when they’re teens you just need to be patient. πŸ™‚ Hang in there!

  103. Good words, even for mothers of girls – some other, more specific needs for girls, but generally, spot on…
    Thanks for your time and recommendations!

    1. Thank you so much Leslie…Glad it all applies to girls too. Much aloha for taking time to comment and all the best to you! πŸ™‚

  104. hi! Love this post. Thank you for sharing. I don’t have a teen boy. In fact, I have the opposite… A toddler boy. I read your post anyway because I am a little curious about the future. Gotta say this guide is as applicable to a tot! From boundaries to showing interest to expressing forgiveness and laughing a lot! End of the day it is all about growing together at every stage! Thank you for sharing!!

    1. Amen! Thank you Kathleen for commenting. Enjoy that tot and don’t blink — he’ll be a teen before you know it! πŸ˜‰ (And now I sound like an old lady! haha) Aloha-

  105. Wow , Jesus brought THIS to me today. Thank you for your words.

    1. Oh so happy to hear that Lisa!! Much aloha to you! xo

  106. Pam Osbolt says:

    I’ve been following your blog for just a bit. I love it! You do a great job. I have a lot of similar interests so it’s always interesting, helpful, and refreshing. I’m sure you are too busy to answer this but if there’s a moment in your busy schedule…..

    My husband and I have 5 kids. (4 boys and a girl) We own several restaurants and we are thinking of taking a 6 week family sabbatical. If we were to take our family to Hawaii, which island would you pick? The boys would love to try surf lessons. We love hiking. We love coffee-maybe visiting a coffee plantation would be nice for my husband. He roasts his own beans when he has time.
    Again, no pressure to answer. Just thought I’d pick your brain for ideas. I’m reading up on the islands but it’s a little overwhelming. Thank you!

    1. Hey Pam! Thank you so much, and of course I have time to answer! (also, lucky you with the girl in addition to four boys…wow!) The hard thing is all of the islands are amazing. It’s hard to narrow down a specific spot. Most families seem to be drawn to Maui, and I am also a big fan. Oahu is great, but unless you like a buzzing city, I’d stay away from Waikiki and try to find a rental house on the north shore (where I live, not biased at all, haha) Kauai is incredible for more country/less crowded places, though I don’t have much info on which areas etc. If you have friends who have spent time in Hawaii and who know your family well, I would definitely ask around. But the bottom line is: You can’t go wrong! As for coffee: We do have more coffee growing here on our island all of the time, but I’m think the big island and Kauai would be your best bet for exploring the Hawaiian coffees…Though be warned, your husband may end up wanting to transplant…haha! Much Aloha and keep me posted!! xo

  107. what a wonderful and encouraging post! So well written. My Son is 14 and we are finding our way but it’s so encouraging to know that I do a lot of these things already – by Gods grace! Thank you for sharing xx

  108. I Really enjoyed reading this I have a 14-year-old boy, My only child,seems like just yesterday he was 2, he is fortunate to have a great dad,when he was younger it seems he and I spent all of our time together and lately I just have a really hard time getting him to open up to me. Your article was very helpful. My mom n Dad moved in with us about a yr ago, my Dad had early onset Alzheimer’s and I think him watching my dad deteriorating so fast really put a lot on his shoulders, my dad was definitely one of his heroes! He passed away 3 months ago at our home? I cannot get him to talk to me at all about my dad? Even when we were telling funny stories and happy memories he walks out of the room he seems to be very isolated lately? And he is just 14 so on top of everything I just want to handle things right!I being a teenager is very confusing on top of everything else! One Thing you mentioned that I really loved I notice a lot of times Jordan wanting to show me a video on YouTube and I will tell him to hold on a second I think I’m grieving myself I really need to pay attention to small things, and I usually do but when I don’t I find myself feeling guilty. Time passes by so fast. Ty Amanda

  109. hi…
    i’m an 18 year old girl … i’m practicing from years to be a great mother from now till i have a child once because my mom doesn’t care and it made me to care about it.
    i have stupid problems with my mom … she doesn’t work and she’s always at home but she doesn’t cook anything for me and i always eat junk foods and whenever i tell her that i’m hungry and i want dinner or lunch she says we have eggs in the fridge go and make something for yourself … i really hate this … i’m the only child and nobody cares about me … i’m just happy wirh my friends and i’m always argueing with my mom … she doesn’t even listen to me and she always blame me … she has never played with me even once when i was a little kid … the only thing that i remember from my teen days is my tears and my cryings… please whoever is reading this please care about your child … make some times for him and talk to him … leave him to have his own privacy … i hate when my mom checks my phone … be open-minded … don’t make them to be who you couldn’t be at your teen days and make them feel free and fresh … don’t argue a lot … when they wanna show you something please watch it don’t be like my mom … i know she did valuable things for me and i love her so so so so much but as you said “nobody’s perfect” but that doesn’t mean that you have to make lots of mistakes and try to be perfect πŸ™‚πŸ’‹

    1. Hi Sindy! Thank you for taking the time to comment, and I am so sorry that your heart hurts. I am proud of you for wanting to learn about relationships and I am sure one day you will be a great mom. I love that you see your mom’s positives even though you feel hurt as well. I’m glad you still feel love for her. I really encourage you to just talk to her about how you feel. Tell her how much you love her but about your feelings too. It’s good really that she checks your phone because it shows she cares about you (even if she handles it in a way that makes you feel frustrated.) Ask her specifically for some time together. Try to reach out to her more. Meanwhile, you can know that God loves you and you can talk to Him anytime. I pray that you will grow up strong and make good choices. You have the whole world ahead of you! πŸ™‚ XO Aloha!

  110. My son is a “man-of-few-words”, just like his handsome father. But, this can be a challenge for me to understand what he is dealing with in his personal life. So I tried a method of communicating that my girlfiends and I used in highschool. Instead of passing notes to each other, we had a spiral notebook we’d exchange between classes. Easier AND how awesome to go back and read the chronologies of our social lives!!
    I started it with my 13 year old son. I wrote a short sweet, note explaining the purpose of the notebook. Low and behold, he wrote back. Almost immediately we were discussing personal heart issues. It’s given this boy of few words a safe place to talk about anything. Hope someone else finds this to be an open door for them and their son.

    1. I love that Debbie! Thank you for sharing. I might just try that with one of my boys in particular. πŸ™‚ Much aloha!

  111. Thank you Monica! From a mom with 4 boys too.. I needed to hear this today!

    1. lol.. I didn’t think my previous comment posted! Oh well πŸ˜‰

  112. Thank you Monica! As a mom of 4 boys too πŸ˜‰ (It’s so fun isn’t it?? And humbling at the same time!), and similar family/life philosophy this was exactly what I needed to hear. Our oldest is 14 and we’re definitely learning as we go with the whole “teen” thing. Even though we are on the exact same page with all the things you listed, it’s nice to know someone else is right there too and to be encouraged when you’re constantly wondering, “am I doing this right??” With tears in my eyes, thank you! I needed this today.

  113. Wonderful read. I too have a teenage son and this is just I needed to read. Thanks. It makes a lot of sense to me.

  114. DJ Goveia says:

    Every point you made here is true for teenage girls as well!

  115. Saman Khan says:

    I’m a mother of 2 boys, elder one is 21 and younger is 17, but his attitude with his elder brother sometimes is very rude. They are friendly otherwise, the only problem is that if elder boy speaks something to tell him, he cant take it, and talk badly and rudely, whereas my elder son keep quite as he dont want to fight. Earlier this thing often create lots of tension between the two.
    I get very upset on this and he just don’t listen to me regarding this, even after he cools down.
    I really dont know how to handle this. This upsets me . As i feel he dont have any respect for his elder brother.please help..

  116. I would add a strong faith base. Help them realize that there is a force greater than them and this will follow them into young adulthood as they begin to make bigger life-changing decisions.

  117. I read through your articel and for some reason it made me tear up. I really like the the heartfelt approach you take! Its nice to know that there are Moms out there who do love their kids in the right way , so they can (hopefully) become responsible and mature adults. Lovely read – thank you.

    1. Thank you SO much Eva! That means a lot to me. Sending aloha and a hug! πŸ™‚

  118. I enjoyed your words Monica! Every inch of your list are things I strongly believe in; and truly DID when my two boys were elementary age. Last year they turned 13 and 16. (I started a business.) They changed and I did too. I was really proud of the level headed mom who WAS their “safe place to land” 24/7. Your post was a wonderful reminder (stand for something,..fall for nothing. Be open.)

    I have never posted a single word, or photo. This is a first. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for the picture I will carry forth of who I am. What your doing here are the seeds of change. I’m sincerely grateful.

    1. Thank you so much for commenting…it means a lot to me! πŸ˜‰
      Love hearing the positive story of how you did pour into your boys and have no regrets! I am sure the season ahead will be a good one! Aloha-

  119. Loved this! So uplifting and on point. Lots of great advice!

  120. Anne Palmer says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! Thank you! Sharing with all my fellow mommies! You rock! xoxo

  121. The thing I’ve found with teenage boys (I used to teach them too) is that boys will often open up to you when you are doing something shoulder to shoulder, not face to face. So, they aren’t going to probably sit down over snacks and divulge their deepest feelings. My oldest son is 17 and pretty stoic, but if we work out in the yard (which he likes – go figure!) or around the house together he will open up and talk about stuff to me. He gave me the greatest compliment the other day, He said, “Mom, you really listen to me. I know when I tell you stuff you haven’t already made up your mind – you are really listening to what I’m saying.” πŸ™‚ He has quite a bit of freedom. We are doing something crazy. In preparation for college, we’ve been pretty hands off as far as rules go. I ask that he let me know when he’ll be home for schedule purposes, but we are letting him be the captain of his ship in our little pond so when he sets sail in the larger ocean next year at college he’ll have a few choppy days under his belt. πŸ™‚

  122. My 2 teenage boys live with their dad. I would love to spend more time with them, unfortunately my ex husband isn’t allowing me to see the boys. I have been fighting with him for almost two years now for court ordered visitation. After mediation he only allowed me to see the boys once a month for a span of two months. Once school started he had stated that their education was more important. I agree that their education is important but they have days off school so I am continuing to fight for what I believe is the right as a mom to be time with my children on the days they are out of school.

    1. I’m so sorry Kate. That must be an awful position for you to be in. I hope that you have some solid support on your end, and you can handle things with such integrity that the court would see your side…I haven’t dealt with this sort of thing personally, but my heart goes out to anyone who goes through it. Hang in there! aloha-

  123. Meo Kyser says:

    Hi Monica! This was an encouraging read! I have a preteen boy and a 4yo boy, and I wonder Every.Single.Day if I’m going to do this all right! It’s blogs like this that give testimony that I (we) will get through this. We need to start changing this world and making it wonderful again…. and my goal is to start with my boys. This was an awesome article, thank you!

    1. Love your heart Meo! Keep it up…we can do this!! XO

  124. Thank you so much for this! I have a 12 year old that is out of control with his behavior. I have been in a constant battle with my husband whom doesn’t agree with me on my parenting style. Recently I asked him to look up both definitions boundaries and security. His quick comment was”where do you get this crazy stuff?” He puts my intelligence down all the time. But today I want to thank you for confirming my thoughts!!!! Thank you for uplifting me today! God Bless you!

  125. I raised two boys who have become wonderful men, husbands and fathers. Our motto at our house was, “Keep them busy and tired!” and for the most part, that worked. Plus we always ended up hosting the after-school crowd which we nicknamed the Cheese Club because they started out just eating cheese and crackers and moved to eating practically everything in the fridge, but that was a small price to pay. The first time I came home from school (I was a high school teacher) after my younger son had gone to college and there wasn’t a crowd of teenage boys eating snacks, drinking Pepsi and shooting hoops, I must admit I teared up. Those are great memories.

  126. Love your blog!

  127. I am having issues with a 15 year old boy. He is not my biological son, I have only been in his life for the last 2 years. I find your information very helpful but I am struggling. He reminds me daily that I am not his mom. I tell him that I may not be his mother but he is my son and I love him very much. Do you have any advice on how I can get close to him? I try to joke with him, set boundries, i try to have convwrsations with him. He wants nothing to do with any of it. He pushes ever button, refuses to listen, acts childish, walks away from me….and so on…. PLEASE HELP

  128. Rebecca C. Perez says:

    How can I have fun with my 13 year old without spending money. My son don’t talk much he pretty much spends most his time on the computer, iPhone, or video games. Just about most of the time I have to have money just to spend time w/ him. I blame my self for that. When he was four he was attacked by a dog and everything just changed. It was the most awful thing I went through w/ him. Ever since that day I feel so guilty like it was my fault. So every time he ask for something I buy it for him. I don’t think I ever told him no. When I do tell him not he won’t talk to me or he’ll get mad, so I feel guilty about the dog attack and I give in. Ever since that day I feel like I hurt him if I can’t make him happy & he’s upset, but all these years I had the money to buy him everything & now I don’t. I want a relationship w/ him to where I don’t have to spend money. Is it to late to change what I done wrong all these years?

    1. Sorry Rebecca, sounds like you’ve got yourself in a tough one. My best suggestion would be to be very honest with your son. Let him know that spending money does not equal love, and that you regret how things have gone. you might even be honest that you have struggled with guilt, but that that isn’t the best way to deal with it.
      I would be firm and loving. Let him know that you want to spend quality time with him, that you need to create stricter boundaries on games and devices because you love him. (It’s not healthy to be raised without boundaries in those things!) Communication is key, but you need to be the parent and quit operating in guilt and fear. All the best–

  129. I have 5 kids, four girls (18, 16, 16, 11) and a boy (14). I’ve screwed up countless times over the years, of course. The past year with my son has been especially hard– he’s often very angry. But, I try to remind myself of one moment with him that made me feel like a really great mom. A few years ago, he came into my room and we started just chatting. Out of nowherenowhere he asked, “Mom, what’s masturbation?” I calmly answered and the conversation went back to other things. My response was good, but I was ecstatic that he felt comfortable to just ask me such a tough question. Now, when things are hard, I just try to remember he does trust me. All I have to do is keep giving him reasons to keep trusting. I am so in love with this wild young man! <3

  130. I absolutely loved this! I am a single mom with a son, he’s only 9 right now but the years are going by so fast, the teenage years will be here before I know it. Thank you you for this…I know it will come in handy when the time is right!

  131. My teen son is very negative and judgemental. He didn’t learn that from me. Though I have my days, I’m mostly very positive and upbeat and until the last few years I raised him solely on my own. I try talking to him about it but no idea why he is that way. They won’t always learn by example.

  132. Thank you for this, I love it and needed it! My son will be turning 13 in less then 2 months.

  133. I LOVE this post! As someone new to the blog world and about to enter into the world of parenting teenage boys, it was reassuring to read that you have not had huge struggles. Right now, I feel somewhat lost but all of what you said makes real sense. I loved that you added the practical rules that you have in your home in addition to the “big ideas”! Angela

  134. This is perfect for me, being a single mother of a teenage boy. Thank you very much. Now I don’t feel so alone out there any more……

  135. Loved your post. I too have two boys, but mine are still young. I totally agree that investing in them now will pay off later. I’m establishing an attitude and environment of, “tell mom anything, I want to hear it all, even though I might not like what I’m hearing, I want to know.” I am learning how to love them both fairly and according to their love languages. It’s so fun watching them grow to be godly young men who love God and serve him even at a young age. Thank you for your words of encouragement and insight!

  136. I have 4 sons and was touched a couple of days ago when my 13 year old son told me “thank you for your prayers mom”. I knew he was having a hard time starting a new school and I told him that I was praying for him. Thank you for the article and God bless, Monica

  137. I have been rasing my two Grand children since they were babies. The question I have is on the last one I have left. A boy fourteen, he’s a good young man, helps me a lot, since I’m seventy. What I have trouble with is letting go, more with this kid. I guess I get scared, because of how my own son had freedom and ruined his life (he is this teens Dad). I’m afraid of the bad influences out there, he has never gave me any problems, other then the usual teen stuff. He tells me he is never going to do drug, drink, he doesn’t want to ruin his live like his Dad and mom did. I trust him, it the other kids and influences he will come across in his first year of high school. Can you give a old lady a few word to help? PS. His older sister gave me a lot of problems, some like her parents did. She’s doing better now. But she had to grow up fast, she has a Daughter. In school, going to be a doctor, has 4.5 grade average. Thank you so very much.

  138. Gen goΓ±o says:

    Thank y ou so much for this. I have one son in college and another in 9th grade. Teens…they really need listening ears. And it really takes hours to listen to their stories. And when i cut them, they feel bad.

  139. I loved this I have two teenagers and some days I think raising them is the hardest thing ive ever did but it also is such a rewarding accomplishment at the end of the day. I have to say I thought thos was beautiful and so helpful thanks for sharing

    1. Thank you Sheila! I’m so glad you are enjoying the ride…the ups and the downs! πŸ™‚ Aloha

  140. As a mother of 3 boys I absolutely loved and agree with your article. Two of my boys have successfully made it thru the teenage years (20 and 22) and my third will become a teen in December. As all of your points are true and important, the 3 that resonate the most are boundaries, direction, and example. Especially that I divorced during their teenage years these 3 things became especially crucial since it was their mom that they lived with and spent 98% of their time with. I found that setting an example of what a woman should be (how you dress, speak, act) and the people who you surround yourself with were very important aspects of the men they have become. They are hard working, they respect woman, and they choose the people they spend their time with wisely.

  141. I completely agree with everything you wrote. Most importantly for my kids and I is communication and feeling comfortable being able to tell me anything without worrying about the consequences. My husband and I have a great relationship with both my son and daughter and love your list which reminds me of the little things that mean so much. Thank you!

  142. I wish I had posted stuff like this when my boys were teens… Parents raising boys need to help each other, early childhood was a no brainier, but teen & young adulthood was very difficult. I have good men, but I often wonder what-if… Keep this up

    1. Thank you Mary. And honestly, I think the “what if’s” are just part of being a parent…:) None of us are perfect or can cover it all, but yes–I’m hoping to encourage a few people out there to slow down and take the time to do it well. πŸ™‚

  143. Sara Rajendran says:

    Great article Monica, I have 2 boys 9 and 11 years old and at times I wonder where I went wrong when I hear complains about my eldest son .
    My wonderful cousin and your great article has hel

  144. How much physical touching is too much? My thirteen year old grandson is at times very affectionate to both myself and his mom. He is a type I diabetic and at times feels tired. He loves to lay on the couch and let you scratch or rub his back. Then falls asleep. Is that too much? It’s different in public. He won’t even let you rub his head to tussle his hair. When around friends it’s like grandma knock it off. Confusing? You bet

  145. Because of health reasons, we only have one boy who is now 14. Since we live far from both sets of grandparents, every years since he was 2 months old, my husband has allowed us to go to visit both sets of grandparents and whatever aunts, uncles and cousins we can fit in. It’s anywhere from a 12-15 hour drive from where we live to where they live and the conversations that we have been able to have and the bond we have been able to form in those times with just the two of us have been amazing! They are hilarious! And thoughtful and insightful and they tug at your heartstrings so many times in so many ways. The problem I have had with only one child has been stepping back and not becoming a “helicopter parent.” I have had to tell myself over and over again to step back, let him learn, let him make mistakes, let his teacher do their jobs, and be there when he needs me. He is definitely at the stage where hugs and verbal expressions of love toward his parents is not as cool as it was when he was little, but that makes the times that he voluntarily does those things even more heartwarming. I miss my little boy, but am having so much fun with my teen! I wouldn’t trade any of my memories or experiences for the world! Love your blog and posts!

    1. I totally know how you feel Christy! It is so hard/beautiful/emotional…:) Sounds like you are balancing it all well…Keep it up and enjoy him! XO

  146. Absolutely love this post!I have 3 teenage boys (and a 10 yr old daughter). It hasn’t been an easy year, and when I read your post I felt challenged and a little overwhelmed at first. But I’m going to keep coming back to this post and start implementing your ideas. Thank you so much!

  147. Beatriz D. says:


    I just read both of your posts about what boys need and while you talk about teaching your boys Boundaries and No, I didn’t see anything specific about their treatment of women/girls.

    I was wondering what your thoughts were about raising men who are caring and compassionate towards women. In the wake of Stupaville, Duke, and countless other instances of young men being sexually violent I think it’s a little irresponsible not to talk to your boys about consent.

  148. Thank you so much for not only your insightful information but because of you so many have shared their stories that have confirmed my husband and I are on the right tack with helping to raise our “so called troubled 15 year old grandson”.

  149. if i can do all it, i will become a lovely mum in his eyes “)

  150. I really enjoyed your article, it was very much spot on. I have a soon-to-be 15 yo son, too and these are the best years! Though it takes some patience to navigate them, I think I love them most of all.
    I want to share one thing I have done, this began back when he was about 8 or 9, was to take a special mother/son trip every year. It gives us a chance to connect on multi levels, but have a lot of fun, too! It is usually a camping trip, but we have also stayed in cabins or hotels. I let him pick the place, he plans almost every aspect of the trip, he gets all the camping gear ready and we work together to set it up when we get there. He makes a meal plan and we go shopping using the list he wrote up. If the location is close to restaurants, we might eat out once a day, he picks the place to eat. If there’s a lake, he plans for fishing and water activities, he has to make sure all the gear is complete and ready to pack, if he needs any bait and tackle, he adds it to the list. But he has to plan ALL activities.
    Biking- he helps put the bike rack on and makes sure bikes are loaded securely, with all tools and extra tubes, tires, inflator, etc.
    Hiking- boots, walking sticks, hydration packs, maps, compass, granola bars, etc.
    Even down to the board games or card games we play at night, he is in charge of every last thing we do. He builds the fires, BBQ’s the meat, washes and roasts the vegetables, roasts the marshmallows or pops the corn. Helps wash all dishes and utensils and is responsible for making sure the fire is completely put out before bedtime. I know that it sounds like a lot, but it entails even so much more! It gives us a chance to bond over working as a team, but he is the team leader. It lets him flex his choices and gives him the chance to show how responsible he can be, because I am counting on him for all my needs and entertainment! It’s a very exciting time for us both, we look forward to this trip every year!

  151. Help. I feel like I’m drowning. My son is 16…wow, so hard to believe! He and I have always been extremely close. He always wanted to be with me and hugged me truly all the time until this year. My son seems selfish, moody, angry and hardly hugs me. My heart is breaking. I never expected this from this particular child…maybe my others, but not him. We had a bond that was very unusual…everyone saw it. I feel it’s gone. We are Christians and we homeschool. His father left us when he was 9 years old. He was upset and very hurt, but not like this. He tells me that when he was younger, he didn’t think and now he does and knows how everything really is. I feel he is very angry about his father leaving him and not showing much attention to him, even now. His father barely sees him once a month, it that, and doesn’t call often like he’s supposed to. I pray, but truly don’t know how to help. I miss my son.

    1. I’m so sorry Daisy. I can feel your pain and frustration. My first questions are whether or not your son is involved in a youth group or anywhere that he has a positive male role model you might talk to? And are you in touch with his father…Would there be any hope for counseling in that relationship? Obviously this is a complicated scenario with dad leaving you guys (I’m so sorry!) and now the teenage years have hit..But I also wonder, since he is homeschooled, where he is getting his new ideas that tell him how everything is? Does he have friends or some influence that is feeding him new thoughts?
      Most of all, I will pray for you now, and I am so sorry. I do believe that you if you keep consistent character and love your son unconditionally, that in time he will turn back to your steady, reliable relationship. You might just have to be patient. Hang in there momma!! aloha-

  152. Ceci Sandoval says:

    Your post couldn’t come at a better time! This has given me a great direction as a mom to a teenager. Thank you so much.

    1. Thank you Ceci!! That is my favorite thing to hear! πŸ™‚ Aloha and keep up the good work!!

  153. I know I’m late to the party but I found your blog while looking for teenager advice. I just want you to know how much I enjoyed your post. In fact, I cried at one point! You sound like an amazing mother.

    Thanks. . .and do keep writing!

    1. Wow, thank you Leezah! That truly makes me so happy. I will keep writing, and thanks for reading!! aloha-

  154. What a great read! Thanks for sharing. I have four young boys…oldest just turned 6 and younger is almost 18 months! I’m. Not there yet but I’m sure in the blink of eye, I will be! I hope I remember your insightful words and humorous outlooks on this journey. Thank you for your post. I’ll be sure to share and look forward to learning more from you vicariously! Best of luck to you and your family. Thanks again for sharing,!

  155. I absolutely loved this! I am the Mom of 3 teenage boys, 17, 16 & 14 (in Aug). I can relate to every single one of these & they are all great! My 17 yr old just recently had a terrible ski accident & he is now a paraplegic. BUT, he has an amazing attitude, spirit & sense of humor. So I figure that if we can get through this as a family, we can get through anything!! We all know there is no book for this. I sometimes feel like they are going to eat me out of house & home too. Not to mention all their friends they bring over! But, at the same time, I love it! Our place is the place everyone wants to hang out & I know their friends pretty well & that is really important too. Plus I also know their parents & have a way to contact them either phone # or through facebook! Another rule I have is if they have Facebook , then they have to add me as a friend. So whatever happens on there, I get to see it!! I’ve had to ask my oldest to take comments off every once on awhile. And he does. Also, nobody has a tv in their room. Well, now my 17 yr old does because of his situation. But that didn’t stop the other two from asking. They always have to try☺ Oh & one more thing I have as a rule in my house. When their girlfriend is over, they can be in their room, but the door stays open & I can walk in at any time, or they can be downstairs cuddling on the couch, but again, we can walk down there any time. And we do, trust me. They also don’t get left home alone with the girls. …ever, I don’t even care if it’s not their girlfriend. You have to use your own judgement because my 17 & my 16 yr old are different. My 17 yr old is more mature & my 16 yr old has done some things that make me not trust him completely, but he’s working on earning it back. Thanks so much, I liked every single one of them! Kim

    1. Thank you for commenting Kim. Your positive attitude is contagious! I am so sorry for your son’s accident, I cannot even imagine what you’ve been through and are now adjusting to. But wow–You sound like you are walking through this season with a ton of grace and an amazing spirit. Bless your heart!! xo

  156. Robert F. Altman, AE1, USN(Ret) says:

    Monica, loved the article. As a Navy dad, I missed a lot of time with my kids, especially my son, so when I was home, I spent as much time as possible with both of them. I coached both my son, and my daughter, in T-ball, and was their biggest fan in soccer, etc. I know that I often embarrassed them at the games back then, but now–I’m a 67 y/o retiree–we all laugh about those days. One on the things I learned with them was this one: “Did you give it your best shot? If so, you have nothing to hang your head about!” That applied to school work, drama club, sports, or whatever. I found that it worked out well. A C, or even a D, on the report card was fine, as long as they worked hard to get it.

  157. i LOVE this post. I have 14/12 y.o. son and this spoke to me! I’ll be printing out and keeping it close. Thanks

  158. Thanks, for sharing n suggesting such important point. I m finding difficult to bring up my teenage boy.

  159. Patricia Thomas says:

    I was 37 when my husband and I had our one and only beautiful son and wanted to give him everything his little heart desired. He is 15 now and has been such a good kiddo, involved in church and band in school and never given us any real trouble. He was always a mama’s boy which I love and he loves being active with his daddy especially in the last 8 years since I was diagnosed with lupus, diabetes and a list of other things that keep me from being able to o to his concerts, etc. I felt like such a great mom until my body betrayed me. I so appreciate this article because it has given me a little more insight into what he needs and why he acts so Moody at times. Especially he and my husband have started to butt heads which breaks my heart and when I try to help they both get angry at me thinking that I’m takings sides with the other. AAAAAAAuuuuugh!!!!!!!!! It’s a wonderful and terrible time all at once!

  160. Thank you soo much for this useful article Monica. so much to learn .

  161. I’m a single mom of a 17 year old boy. 9 year old girl. There are times I feel so disconnected from him. Where and how do I begin to pull him closer

    1. Oh I am so sorry Dana. That hurts my heart. It is not uncommon, and sometimes it is just a season. Don’t give up. Stick around–I hope to speak to these things in future posts, and I do hope you find some encouragement here. πŸ™‚

  162. Hi. I am a mom of 3 boys. My oldest is fixing to turn 15. He is dating our pastors daughter just started a few days ago. I noticed he was on the phone for 3 hours a few days ago till 11 pm. I had asked him to get off the phone and she asked to speak to me and said her parents said she could talk till 11 pm.. I let him talk till then and he was off at 11. The next day they were on the phone again for over 3 hours so I said he had been on there long enough to take a break. He got kind of upset so we had a talk. I told him he needed boundries so I said he could talk 2x a day 90 min and text all he feels like he needs to.. and not past 10 pm.. he told my dad and my dad got mad and said I needed to “let him be a teenager.” What is your opinion?

    1. Tina–Wow, interesting. Is your dad a father-figure to your son? Because I do think you need to be in unity with the other parent on this topic, but otherwise I wouldn’t let anyone’s opinion affect you. Yes on boundaries. (I wouldn’t even let my son date at 15, so you’re already being pretty open I would say.) If you think 15 or 30 or 90 (which is a LOT by the way) minutes is enough on the phone, then by all means, put your foot down. At 15 there are plenty of other things for a kid to do, and even if the Pastor’s daughter thinks it is fine, you stand your ground. (I could say a lot more on this one–but bottom line: You are your son’s parent. YOU be in charge.) Even teenagers need boundaries and at 15 he is a young teen!

  163. I have 3 boys. One is in college, one high school, one in middle school. My high schooler definitely pushes the envelope with us. He is the middle child, and was fairly easy to raise and easy going. He is more challenging now.
    The latest things with him are smoking, chewing tobacco and now he wants to purchase a motorcycle (with his money from working summers). Whatever we say to him goes in one ear and out the other. I work in health care and for obvious reasons, I don’t want him to smoke or get a motorcycle.
    All of this causes problems with him and arguing between me and my husband. It’s been a rough year! πŸ™

    1. I’m sorry Mary–I can imagine it must be rough right now. I hope you can make some firm rules about what is and isn’t ok in your home (as long as your kids live with you, you are in charge…) and find a way to make some peace. Your marriage and family should not be destroyed by one disobedient son bent on bad choices. Hang in there and I do hope you have better days ahead! πŸ™‚

  164. I am a mom of two teenage girls and one son, the middle child. He is 15yrs old now and has recently been found out on his new phone messaging a girl with sexual comments/suggestions. I have taken his phone obviously and he has spoken to a younger, 20 something, gentlemen from his church about this awkward and uncomfortable issue. He refuses to talk to me about any of it. He say I do not listen and I just yell and scream and would just ground him. Yes ilI admit I do yell a lot. I have no excuse other than I grew up that way. I dont know why I do this. I could never talk to my parents either. I want him to talk to me. I have told him this. I am here not to judge him or yell at him but to listen and try to advise him, guide him. I even told him if I feel out of my league with something I will help him find someone he feels comfortable to talk to. I will keep praying on this and reread your article. It jut hit the spot tonight with whats going on with my own son. Try and if you have any more suggestions for me please feel free to email me.

  165. At 16 1/2 my son had good grades, on wrestling team, took pride in his appearance, was funny, affectionate, against drugs and cigarecigarettes, played video games..good boy. Got a girlfriend who had a rep at school. In a blink of an eye she took his V, turned him onto pot and other, he quit the team because it took time away from hanging out with her. Woke up one morning to see her in his bed she had spent the night. I said no so he left that day to go to her house and that was it he moved into her house. Maybe this doesnt matter but theyre illegals. I guess it matters because they suggested he dye his georgeous blond hair black and he did. He came back for all his stuff. I was already disappointed to see her wearing all the beautiful close i bought for him at the mall. Im a single mom i practically dress like a bag lady when im not in my uniform (luckily i wear a uniform for work) next time he came home for money she had pierced his lips and his lips were infected, swollen, his hair was black and fried, his clothes were worn. Got to the point that he only came around or called when he wanted something. Recently past 8 months i feel like i have to buy his love. I wondered if that was better

    1. Nothing. A couple of days ago he was emotionally, verbally vicious. He has zero respect or love for me unless im pulling my wallet out. I drew a line. Told him dont come over or call untill he can love and respect me. Ive had it. Ill miss him. He’s 17 1/2 now. I see other single moms with teens and the boys are protective of mom no matter what. Theyre loyal and theres give and take. Weve always gotten along well never argued all his life just a little bickering… i thought we did good he’s on the right track. BOOM it all went to hell over night. I am broken hearted. He doesnt even remember any and all ive done for him bc of the few recent times ive had to say no as hes been taking advantage And i have bills. Im hurt and done and hope someday he realizes how much i did and how bad hes treated me. Maybe he wont ever come back. … any advice?

    2. Oh wow…That is just heartbreaking. I am SO sorry. I’m sure there are a million mothers who can relate, and so many of their kids do come back around and get their head back on straight. I pray that will be your son’s story. Hang in there. Ask for help where you can. Take care of yourself! Keep praying.

      1. Thanks. I pray a lot.

  166. Janie Rehrer says:

    Monica I think u know my son chris Rehrer He sent me this for moms day I love your advice God bless Janie

    1. Hi Janie! Thank you, and thank you to Chris for passing that along! πŸ˜‰ We actually met before–you came to my house for Giselle’s wedding shower! πŸ™‚ Our whole family adores Chris–You have obviously done an amazing job. I should be asking YOU questions!! πŸ™‚ Aloha and God bless-

  167. Loved this article … Just want to know what to do about schooling with a teen age son. Especially when your teenage son is capable of so much more but hasn’t the interest to want to do better.

  168. I have just read these rules and hope it’s not too late with my 16 year old. He has gone from being a bright, diligent student to doing as little as possible and has also started lying about what he has done at school (handing in homework, attending music practices etc) and often for no apparent reason (he’s done the work and says he’s handed it in but he hasn’t.)

    I just don’t know where to go from here. Any ideas?

    1. Thank you Penny! I would start with some honest confrontation. Taking time to really connect and listen to him. It sounds like something is going on, whether he is struggling emotionally or has some negative influences…? Communication is key. Keep praying for him, and give it some time. Sometimes things work them selves out faster than we think too!

  169. we have a few close friends that are more like family. With that said, when I was about 13 the lady I would babysit for was someone I could talk to more then my mom at times. My mom understood it. With that said nothing I said would she tell my parents unless I was going to hurt myself or others. It worked out very well. My son has that bond and I think it is great.y husband is military and is gone more then he is home. So the male in his life are friends husbands that are home. It works for us. Military life with a teenager opens more issues and we as moms have to think outside the box sometimes.

  170. Natalie Boatswain says:

    My son is 14 thanku some positive advise

  171. Great advise!!! Thank you!!

  172. WOW!!! So glad I found this blog. Have had the joy of raising two girls, one married now and the other away at uni. And now my son is a teenager!! This has come at a great time, to encourage me along as I train up a teenage son now. Thanks!!

  173. I have 4 boys, 2 of which are teenagers. our home is a crazy home. I have 5 kids total, I am PTA Pres, Cub Master, a husband that is gone 12 hours a day, and I work at the Elementary school…BUT the thing I love the most is taking time to listen to my boys. Some days they all want to share with me at once, and some days they don’t want to talk at all. Give them their space and your love, and they know that they are safe at home and can come to your for anything. We have A LOT of practical joking, fighting, wrestling, etc. but at the end of the day, they all know that they are loved and encouraged to do their best.

  174. Bruce T. Smith says:

    Another helpful tool is the Virtue’s Project. The Language is awesome.

  175. Thank you it helps to know, I’m not alone in this situation. Thank you for your wonderful advice!

  176. Hi there, i have an 18 yrs girl and a 13 yrs boy, my girl is better now but during her younger teenage years I had a hard time with her, its good that one of my close friends suggested the 5- love laanguages for teenagers, it really help me. my problem is my 13 year old, whenever I ask him to do something he always says STOP to me, its so annoying, I try my best not to yell at him ‘coz it makes my stress meter really high, respect is not there, can you give any suggestion on how to communicate with him nicely.ty

  177. Rachael Peploe says:

    Thanks so much for your awesome tips on how to raise teenage boys – especially from a christian’s viewpoint. I have a 13 year old son and an 11 year old (going on 15!)son and even though I have a loving and supportive husband, he seemed to decide out of the blue a couple of years ago that he was an atheist after being a christian all of his life. This makes family life difficult, especially on a sunday when it comes to church. Your words of wisdom have given me encouragement. Thank you.

  178. claressia says:

    Absolutely Love this!!

  179. I liked what you said about being there as much as possible, physically as well as emotionally. When I was a teen I once said to my mom in annoyance, “Mom, you’re always THERE!” She cracked up and still teases me about it. πŸ™‚ Now that I’m a mom I can see how valuable her being ‘always there’ was to our relationship, and I find my teenaged comment very funny as well!

  180. wow…thanks for all those words…my son is still only 9 but very very much forward…and our children dont come with an instruction manual…so tried and tested advice is sound to hear…again many thanks

  181. Cathy Yokel says:

    Thank you for the advice. I found it very useful for not only boys but teenage girls as well.

  182. Praying the scriptures for your teenagers, a wonderful source!

  183. I really enjoyed reading this post.ich have twins turning 18 very helpful for me. Thank you for the message. Lily

  184. I am the mother of two young men ages 20 and 17. They are the joy of my life! Your observations are spot on. We have always had an open house policy where my sons know they and their friends are always welcome. Often , last minute calls were made and I would be scurrying around to get food, snacks, drinks, etc. it was sometimes surprising the things the boys would converse about while they were all gathered around my kitchen island eating. There would sometimes be as many as 15 young men in attendance. Now that they are off to college, I miss those days but cherish the memories! Sure we had some growing pains and had to know when to”give grace” and gently remind our sons of our guidelines for respect and responsibility but with our past instruction and a lot of prayer, we made it through to a rewarding relationship with two fabulous young men that I am very proud to call my sons!

  185. Voxyz Hardee says:

    Thank you for the info

  186. Valorie Ramstad says:

    what should a young parent do when her 15 year old beats up on his little 11 year old brother… scares the sister so much she locks herself in her room when he is in the house… threatens the young brother with death and death to himself.
    I had that question posed to me just this week and it breaks my heart!!
    The 15 year old rants and raves… calls his mom some really ugly names… and has no respect for his step dad at all… randomly goes around the house and breaks things…
    The Mom has now locked him out of the house because of the threats to the younger brother, has pitched a tent with heater so he has somewhere to sleep… but keeps the other kids as well as herself and hubby safe …
    By the way … he turns 16 in August…
    Any advice?
    Thank you so very much…

  187. Great post! I can recommend these tips as a professional counselor AND as a mom!

  188. Someone once told me that as soon as you teen started High School, you blink your eyes and they are off to college. My son and I have a special bond. He was so lucky to have received his characteristics from my mother who passed 5 years ago. He and my mother were so close. I believe she watches over him too. I am scared of him growing up and leaving. However I am proud of the young man he is today. I just need some encouragement and words of wisdom that life does go on after your children leave home. I want to prepare him for that time also. Thank you for sharing your experience, strengths and giving hope.

  189. My twin boys are in their last year of teens now. I sometimes find myself dreading their 20th birthday coming up this September, and all because even though the time it’s here, I don’t want it to end just yet. It’s gone by so fast, all of it. The baby stage, the toddler stage, elementary school, growing up stage, all of it. How did it go by so fast!? They grow up, they are man now and I couldn’t be more proud of them both each in their own wright. The one thing that is so awesome is that I don’t regret staying home with my kids, never, not a bit, and actually all the sacrifice in the would is more then worth being there for my boy every step of the way. I agree with every bit of advice you give here in this article. Right on!Thank you for sharing.

  190. Thank you for clarifying that you are going to be getting your Husbands prospective on parenting as well. I was about to completely dismiss you as just another woman that views dads being only good for lawn care and car maintenance.

    All to often in todays society that is exactly how dads are portrayed. Bumbling idiots that couldnt find their way out of a wet paper bag, much less take care of a child. Or worse yet, they are there to be betated and made fun of.

    As a dad to a young son, I strive daily to be the type of man I want him to model himself after. Just as I strive to follow in my Dads footsteps. I talk to him regularly of honesty and integrity. Defending those who can’t defend themselves, and treating others they way you expect to be treated, no exceptions. I am laying the ground work now for discipline. He knows what is expected and tolerated under my roof. He knows what is unacceptable and the repercussions that follow should he cross that line. Laying the ground work to shape a good person starts young and it is a long process. Some have said I am strict with him since he is only 8. But I would rather establish that discipline now at an early age. So when he becomes a teenager it wont be a battle of anything it will be a time of earned rewards and loosening of the rules where he can spread his wings. Or get them clipped to rein him in, if he breaks the rules.

    I also hug him daily when he is with me and tell him multiple times through out the day that I love him. Even in front of his friends. And he fires it right back to me, “I love you Dad!” He knows he is free to talk to me about anything, he knoes I may not like what the subject is, but I wont scream and yell at him or berate or manipulate him for it. He knows that I will always listen. Thats not just a mom thing.

    Dads need to tell their kids that they love them. I didnt hear those words from my father until I was 23 years old. I almost couldnt say them back to him. When that happened, I knew then and there that I would never allow that to happen to my kids. Both my son and daughter hear it from me and they can fire it right back to me with out hesitation and mean it too.

    Kids are a life long project. Even when they are grown, we still worry and fret over them. I am proud of the woman my daughter has grown into. And I oove watching every day I have him, the man my son is shaping up to be. He is still a little boy, but already I catch small glimpses of who he will turn out to be. It is exciting, fun, stressful, and always a pleasure. With Gods help and support from our church, we will be successful.

  191. Loved your article! My children are in heaven, oldest son; 2nd son is 33, and a daughter 22.
    Having a son pass on definitely changed our parenting style to a deeper more hands on level.
    I would add that if you have a child who is going through a difficult time, like our second son whose bro died, put them in the second seat of the family van when you want to talk, or somewhere that they font have to establish eye contact or register every facial expression on your face! You also do not have to address the eye rolls or grimaces that your child might make!! See! Positives all around. Plus, my son really opened up and those meaningless drives became treasured opportunities to connect.
    Also, give those heartfelt hugs even when they might not be so heartfelt at the moment, or as a friend put it, hug them when you least feel like it. Done regularly, this brings great results. My surviving son and daughter now are my friends! Good luck all. Oh! Remember to pray for your kids!!!

  192. I’m a mom to 5 boys ages 16, 14, 12, 9, & 3. I have to say the teenage years have not been fun. The hardest yet. I’ve done a lot of your suggestions. It seems to cause my oldest to pull away even more. It’s very hard. I’ve learned to give him his space until HE is ready, which has helped tremendously. He’s just got one of those intense personalities!

  193. Great list! I’d add the one I failed at with my first. .. Help them grow into men by letting them fail as boys. It was really hard for me to stop “saving” my son. If your boy forgets his lunch or homework at home, I’ve come to believe it’s better to let him go hungry or take a hit to his grade. When he puts off working on that assignment too long, don’t stay up all night helping him get it done. Suffering dumb, little consequences teaches him to be responsible for himself in ways he just can’t learn otherwise. I saved my firstborn way too many times. He grew up and is a great guy. .. graduating college and commissioning with the Air Force as a pilot. God is good and fills in the gaps we leave, but I worked against the maturing process and did him no favors in the long run. Somehow I thought he’d learn responsibility by seeing the effects his irresponsibility had on me, and listening to my lectures. πŸ™‚ Instead, I trained him to believe that he didn’t need to prepare our follow-through. Mom would fix it. Yipes! Don’t be me!!

    1. Such good thoughts Terry! Thank you. I’m in total agreement on this, and have mentioned it in many other posts–but glad you added it here. Sounds like you’ve done amazing, and your son is doing great now. Bless you and thanks for commenting! aloha

  194. One thing my kids of heard me say a ton and will continue to hear me say is “with every privilege comes responsibility and with responsibility comes privilege”

  195. Thank you so much.I have a 13 going 14 this Sept and it is nice to know I’m on the right track,specially on the listening,hug,sense of humor part. I love my boys!!!!

  196. Thanks for putting into words the feelings, needs, and wisdom of so many moms, grom or otherwise. Fabulousness on a page.

    1. awww, bless you Cyn! Thank you for the kind words. πŸ™‚ Aloha-

  197. I love it!!! I would add verbal, unconditional love. My son sees & hears that I love him & knows it’s ok to return the feeling verbally. Even in front of his friends. He also shows open affection to his father & other males. It’s ok to hug a man or even a kiss on the cheek. My 14 year old son watched his 11 year old cousin (male) in a play. After he hugged him & kissed him on the forehead & told him he was proud of him. Neither felt uncomfortable. It was beautiful to see the openness, affection & encouragement.

  198. This was a great read. Even though my kids are only 5(boy) 4 (girl) and 10 months(boy), I want to know that there is a way to have fun & success parenting teens. People keep telling me “oh you think it’s hard now, just wait until they are teens!” I feel really upset when I hear this. Maybe that person didn’t stay at home full time with their littles. Maybe they didn’t discipline every.single.time. I have no clue how it could be harder than having 3 kids 5 & under. (My oldest will be in kindergarten in the fall—finally!) I know those years will be challenging in other ways but I know many parents that love the teen years! And usually they all tell me that hard work when they are little pays off when they are teens. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to write this. My kids are sweet, cute and so funny right now and I know I’ll miss them being little but I look forward to a time when I can maybe play a game we all enjoy or see a non-cartoon movie or have one dinner without several meltdowns. When I say that people always shoot me down and tell me the teen years are terrible. It’s good to hear another perspective!

    1. Katie–I am so glad you commented! No way–Those people are nuts. In my opinion, you are in the hardest season of all (A post on that exact topic, coming soon.) It sounds like you love and enjoy your children now, and I guarantee that as you pour into them now, work hard on their character and stay connected to them–you will reap the benefits later. You’ll have an amazing relationship with them when they’re teens! Keep it up and have no fear…The best is yet to come! πŸ™‚

    2. I have 5 kids, 4 oldest are boys (15,13,10,8 & daughter 5). When I had all of my little ones at home ALL day, every DAY… it was daunting. It really is physically exhausting to deal with these young whirl winds. Don’t get discouraged by other people’s experiences. Every “season” has it trials, and you are smack in the middle of one. Having small kids is hard and having teenagers is hard- all in their own ways. BUT… they are also rewarding. Keep on truckin’ everyday. It is difficult and many days are filled with guilt and tears, but you wouldn’t be a great mom without these feelings. Just know that just being there for them is the best thing you can do!

  199. Excellent. This also applies to teen girls as well…thanks for sharing.

    I would also say that boys need to know that mom isn’t holding on to them. I remember reminding my son often of how precious he was and then call him by his pet name that I gave him when he was small. He cringed every time. It’s only after he was fully grown did I realize he didn’t need or want me referring back to him as a small child, as it made him feel small and inadequate. They want to know their voice is being heard, has value and that you are seeing them as the man they are growing into. Blessings on your family as you journey through life together. You sound like a great mom!

  200. Excellent! Outstanding! I’ll share with others for sure. God bless you for your wisdom and your ability to communicate so well.

  201. Sue H Heaney says:

    I stumbled onto your blog while browsing fb. It was posted on one of my son’s long-time friends fb page. He is also one of my fb friends also. He turned out to be a great man as did my son. I find the fact that so many can share so much with social media postings such as your blog is amazing. I raised one son. He recently turned 50. We have had and still have a wonderful relationship, not always easy, but good. He recently posted that I was one of the best mothers ever, and I believe he is a most precious son. I don’t really know how that happened, but it may possibly be because I have practiced most of those points you posted just because they were things that a mother should do back in the 60’s and 70’s and on. I was just being a mother. I raised a daughter also, and know they are totally different to raise and require different mothering techniques. My son required more of my time because he suffered a serious accident at a young age. We had much one-on-one time with doctor visits, school lessons and homework. I think regardless of how frustrated you become and how difficult things may be because of some of that teenage rebellion, you must still be the best mother you can. There were times when it was not so easy, but trying to look through the loving mother’s eyes God gave me, over time I learned to see the loving son who needed me. Things were so different back when he was a teen. Times were different. Yes, there were drugs and yes there were opportunities for getting into mischief with friends, but we got through those years unscathed. I had the co-support of a stern but fair father who set the necessary boundaries. Yes, someone needs to be stern. Today I don’t see so much of that. I am not referring to being mean because mean and stern are two different things. Love your son, even when you find it difficult, listen to him, hug him and try not to “run his life”. You will do just fine. Somehow I did.

  202. Beautiful words. I have raised 2 girls and my son will be 13 this year. I will read and reread these suggestions a million times God willing I get it right

  203. I love this post! My son will be 15 this summer. I’ve had the privilege of being a SAHM. Some of the seasons we’ve been through have been wonderful – some I couldn’t wait to pass. But, these teenage years? These are THE BEST! I totally agree with you about how it’s so much fine to see the young man he’s turning into, the conversations we have, his sense of humor, and his own developing views about life. I’m trying to soak all this time up before he sprouts his wings and leaves the nest. Your points are spot on. Thanks so much for sharing!

  204. I love this article. Yes, being a teenager is hard. Being a mom of a teenager is hard but this article shows how simply being there, listening makes the “hard” part doable. Thank you. #lovemyteenageboy

  205. Great article…after having raised two boys who are now 26 and 29…I couldn’t agree more! They are both married, employed with mortgages. We are very proud of the men they have become, although there were definitely some tumultuous years! Hang in there MOBs! (momsofboys)

  206. Thank you so much for these words of encouragement! I lost my husband 2 months ago to cancer and am now raising our 14 yr old son on my own. We both had children from our first marriages however they are now all over the age of 25. Things were different back then especially when the boys hit puberty…I sent them to my husband. I can’t do that now, I have changed my life so much in the last 5 months to care for my husband at the end of his life that now I am focusing on keeping my son grounded and level headed that I feel as tho at some times I am smoothering him. Thank you for the tips and pointers!

    1. I’m so sorry for your loss, Sandi. I cannot even begin to imagine what you are going through. Prayers for you…

    2. Sandi–I am so sorry for your loss. You must be such a strong woman to have walked through all of that and now able to get focused on connecting w/ your son. Bless your heart. I have no doubt that you and your son will walk through this together. I am personally much more the talker than my husband w/ my teenage sons, (even on puberty topics :)) so I know you can do it fine…But obviously you would want for it to be different. I pray that you have a good support network for yourself and that you will be patient as you walk through these things.
      You are wise to be mindful: No smothering! πŸ™‚ Just loving you son and a little letting go too is going to be best as you nurture yourself and find a healthy place! Thank you for sharing and I will pray for you. Aloha

  207. Hi,
    Great reading. I have 2 girls-what advice for them?? Please. Diana

  208. Charlene Wilkinson says:

    Thank you for this encouraging message my son is 13 going on 16 if you know what I mean . Testing times but grateful how we have an understanding . Love my boy xx

  209. Thank you for this beautiful article. I am a single mom of 2 boys, one 9.5 and the other about to turn 13. Indeed…where does the time go! I have arranged my life, even as a single mother, to be available for my boys, without being a “helicopter mom.” As they get older, I’m seeing how incredible this has been for them. They trust me, and my oldest is starting to talk to me about “real” things that I can enjoy with him on such a deep level. It’s truly beautiful!!

    I appreciate your encouragement, as I sometimes wonder if I’ve been “too available” to them by working from home, always making space to be at their school events and answer their questions, etc. I also have to make ends meet, and sometimes this gets tense for me, wishing I could have a “normal” job away from frequent interruptions. Yet over and over, I see that it’s worth it. As of late, my oldest is even starting to comment on how he could help out more as he begins to actually notice the work that I do. I love raising my boys!!

    1. Awesome Kim, thank you so much for commenting. You have chosen well–Nothing could be more important than what you’ve chosen! πŸ™‚ Bless you and keep it up into these exciting teenage years! aloha-

  210. 12. Independence. As much as he needs you, you’ve needed him. Soon he will have to separate from you and stand (only) on his own two feet. You need to let him know you can stand on your own too. As he gravitates more to peers than parents, and your mom job goes towards retirement, you need to actively fill the void and let him go.

  211. Excellent article! Thank you. The best book I ever read on the topic is ‘Available Parenting – Radical optimism for tweens and teens’. We parents need all the help we can to continue to have a great relationship with our wonderful and amazing teens.

  212. Great article. Any advice for older teen boys! I would agree with everythjng you say for 13-16 or 17 but those right of passage years are leaving me without a clue!

  213. Colin Bryant says:

    This is great stuff, absolutely vital. Fathers have a huge role too and one that is vital. They are the only ones that can validate a young man and accept the young ones into full and complete manhood. Rites of passage if you like. A mother cannot do this but let this be no criticism of a mothers role. Both parents are vital. Only one parent really skews the young man.

  214. I am trying to subscribe to your website, but I can’t. I didn’t get a link to verify my email. Will you subscribe me to your website?

    Thank you.

  215. Nancy Capone says:

    I am a mom of a 22 year old, and a 12 year old. Went through the teenage years already, with keeping him busy in karate, I joined as well, had his friends here in my home, I was a single mom with him, but a ton of support, I found his best time to talk was before bed. We would talk for 1/2 hour all the time so I planned for it. Now he doesn’t drink, he’s home fri & sat nights, not out getting drunk. Has his career almost set, just needs to pass a journeyman’s lic, has CDL, and Hydraulic lic’s. Now again a single mom of the 12 year old, with no support of his father, and its nothing but a mess, we talk (always have) making sure he know’s he is safe. He love’s his sports and teams, so we always have kids here. Both kids got good grades so far, and now the 12 year old gets the responsibility and freedom thing I love that. The time goes so quickly, I enjoy every min and never wish it away.
    I thank god, for them, for they truly are a gift.

  216. katharine Miles says:

    Thank you! Well said!

  217. With 6 teenagers, including 2 boys, I live this! All these points are so true. Thank you!

  218. My son is on the cusp of be owing a teen and I’d like to add one thing: organized groups help provide some of these points you mention. Ryan is now a Boy Scout, which is reinforcing these same principles that you mention and we push at home. Especially # 2 and 3. We have excellent leaders in his troop, but it’s like an extra set of hands molding him into a young man, especially when Mom or Dad are too nerdy.

  219. I love and agree with most of what you said here but I’d like to add a word of caution about speaking in absolutes. My 16 year old son has two big sisters and the little sisters and three step sisters and just the one step brother. His daughter left me for his step mom when he was six and then when he was 13 his dad moved 9 hours away. I’ve out in years of tears and sweat and love and grace and direction and discipline and strength and weakness and I don’t have that wonderful bond with him that you describe here. Hopefully as an adult he’ll recognize all I’ve done and stop resisting me.

  220. My son is six months away from officially being a teenager but I’m already seeing some of these things. Very well said!!

  221. I really enjoyed this article. However, my daughter is the one who is the new teenager right now and I feel a lot of this wisdom will be great for me to practice now with her. Thank you!

    1. Thank you Errin! I’ve heard that from a lot of people, so I’m glad if it applies to your daughter as well! πŸ™‚ Aloha

  222. Great post. I have triplet boys who are 16. It’s difficult every day. They are all so different. Sort of going through a quiet stage since they all had a girl friend and now they don’t. It’s been a challenge to go through and know what to say. I wish they knew what we do, that all this high school stuff will be a big blur down the road. With College approaching they will be more independent and able to explore things with hopefully out all that drama of high school.

  223. I don’t have boys – I have two little girls but I loved reading this:) it’s the small little things that one forgets do that are sometimes the most important. Keep writing keep sharing and your boys are lucky to have you:)

  224. I’m not a mother yet, (hopefully one day that will change) but many things you’ve mentioned, I’ve seen put into practice by my boyfriend of 6 year’s mother. Both him and his brother (and his parents) give the most amazing hugs (and good morning and bedtime hugs are non-negotiable) and when they’re together as a family they always have such fun and are always laughing. His folks are both so interested in their boys lives (25 and 23) and even though both kids live about 2000km away,they talk on the phone regularly (about once a week, sometimes more, sometimes less) and one of the best things I’ve learnt from them is the art of asking questions. If my boyfriend tells them we went to a friends braai, they want to know which friend, who else was there and did we do anything fun.

    I think the one thing I would like to add here is that both my parents and my boyfriends parents have always had open homes when it comes to our friends. They’re happy to spend time with our friends, getting to know them, chatting to them and treating them as their other children. I have many honorary sisters from my time at high school and I know there are guy friends of my boyfriend who are like honorary brothers to him.

    Thank you for sharing this post, it’s made me really stop and think and consciously be grateful for both my parents and my boyfriends parents

  225. Hayley Evans says:

    I’ve loved reading something that backs up what I’m trying to do with my eldest son Tyler who’ll be 13 in a few weeks.
    I’m one of 5 girls so having 3 boys has been a learning curve.
    I insist on talking. We sit down together for dinner every day and go around the table talking about our days.
    I’ve made myself so approachable that Tyler has come to me not his dad to show me his body changes

  226. thank you so much for this article

  227. MΓ³nica,Beautiful article! I’m the mother of three handsome boys (33,29,23). I have been blessed,very proud of these young guys. Its so true what you just said . I learned a lot during the process with them…I wouldn’t change a thing.

  228. Ann Billington says:

    Monica, I love this article! My eldest just turned 13. He doesn’t say much. He asks for a lot but doesn’t disclose much about how he’s feeling.
    You have helped me to see that I’m doing a lot, even if it’s going un-discussed. I do a lot of what you mention above. The only feedback I’ve gotten lately has been in my birthday card (which he drew and wrote in). He thanked me for supporting and loving him. It was touching.
    Thank you for taking the time to understand this stage and articulating it! xx

    1. Thank you Ann. Good work, and those hand-made birthday cards are pretty priceless, aren’t they? πŸ™‚ Keep it up and thank you for stopping in! aloha

  229. Kari Martinez says:

    I wish I had this a few years ago. My oldest son is 25 and my baby almost 18. It has been trying at times, but we got through the rough years and they love me again.

  230. Sometimes I feel like the only thing he needs from me is a taxi service and a fully stocked cupboard/fridge…..

    1. I know the feeling…but one day he’ll probably tell you how much more he got out of all of your interactions…even if while eating or taxiing. πŸ˜‰ Don’t grow weary!! Aloha- thanks for commenting. πŸ™‚

  231. cassandra says:

    wow, so glad i stumbled on this today, i really needed to read something like this after the morning i just had with my tween- 11yr old son!! i was feeling really lost and upset after a massive argument, it has not been easy in our house especially for him, i have been going through breast cancer since last year, he has started high school this year and i think he has a lot emotionally on his plate, i have always been one for keeping the communication lines open and he knows i hope that he can talk to me about anything. However it was just so nice to read this and be able to take the pointers and really work on it to make sure. you certainly do make a lot of sense, weve the holidays starting today and i will be working on this with him over these to really cement our relationship. thank you.

  232. This will not work for mothers like me. I have 2 boys, 15 and 16 on next birthday. They are my 4th set of teens and I am single at 58. I can barely give the essentials and they only get space when they leave the house. I just lost my job aftER 15 years. The boys don’t respect me and are dΓ¨fiant.I am dysthymia struggling 2 survuve. They are lazy I lost them somewhere

    1. I’m so sorry Patricia. Sounds like you are in a very tough situation. I hope you are looking to local resources for some support and encouragement. I will pray for you.

  233. a rejected mom says:

    I loved reading over your list. I did each and every single one with joy and love. My son repeatedly told me that I WAS the best mom he could ever have. Yet, when he was in his twenties and just out of college, I separated and divorced his dad. His dad did all of the opposite on your list as our son was growing up. oh how my son hurt emotionally and spiritually over his father’s actions and words. Now my son has rejected me and is standing faithfully by his dad’s side. At first I didn’t understand how my son could reject me so. Nevertheless, when I think about it his dad is weak in character and needs someone to take care of him.

  234. I have a 14 year old who is smart as can be, but is failing almost every class because he won’t do homework. I have tried EVEY THING I can think of. I have had meetings at his school. I am lost and feel hopeless. Please help.

  235. I am saving this and the ones for middle school and elementary school boys, as my oldest starts preschool this fall and will be heading to college in the blink of an eye. Thank you!

  236. Wow. Great read and so true. I’m a single mom of teen boys 16 and 18. I have been very fortunate so far and have had no major issues as they are able to openly communicate about anything with me. I have to agree with you. The teen years are by far the best time of my life with them. My oldest leaves to college in September and the idea of him leaving makes me sad but I know he will always need and love his mom.

  237. Thank you so much for everything . I am a mother of teen boy and 2 little boys too. This was everything that i needed now. Thank you very much

    1. Thank you Angela! So nice to hear that. πŸ™‚ Keep up the great work!

  238. I’m glad I found this page!
    I need these reminders.. easy forget in the day to day.

    Aloha β™₯

  239. Monica,

    Thank you! We just “inherited” a 16 year old boy and were previously childless. Needless to say we are starting at the ground floor with all of us. This brought some useful tips for me to use with my new son who has been through some tough times and is quite quiet and skeptical when it comes to who cares about him. This article helped me personally. I felt you should know!

    1. cassandra says:

      i think you are a superstar, all the best with your new son πŸ™‚

  240. YOUR comments sound well and good but how do you go on whem your son just turned 13 4 weeks ago you tried to have the sex education talk and un be known to you he likes boys instead of girls. Something you didn’t see coming as he is been a very loving very well behaved and straight A student. A person who grew up with 2 younger sisters 1 is 11 years younger and the other is 7 years younger and you have and love your 1 year old nice. How do you try as a Christian back round deal with this news and sin that affects him family health and society. As a mom I saw all my hopes and dreams for him crashing down in 1 day. Feeling I failed somewhere. Dow do I keep the feelings I have for homosexuality and my love for my son the new teenager separate? Non of us are perfect Christians but how do you deal with this kind of conflict?
    Sincerely a devastated mother of her last teen – a boy

    1. Meant older sisters sorry for typo

    2. Sue…I am sorry for what you’re going through. I wish I had some wisdom for you, but I just share in the struggle to walk in your convictions and love your son right where he is…I would really recommend you find some good solid Christian counsel–is there a Pastor or someone you trust who you could go to? I am praying for you and just really empathize with how difficult it is to be surprised by something you were not expecting and now trying to put your feelings together. Hang in there and trust God to work things out. Aloha friend-

  241. yvette dorn says:

    I am so glad that I found this post and can’t wait to check out the mom-of-boys society. I am a mom of 4 boys: 15, 13, 10 and 7. I so much enjoyed reading this post and got a lot of great advice from it. Somedays I feel like I am doing it all wrong, but your post made me feel like I am on the right track and just keep plugging along. I know that this is such an important time in their lives and just want to raise good Godly men. Thanks for your encouragement!

  242. I loved this article. I, too am a Mom to 4 boys (15, 13, 11, 11) and I could really identify with you! Your article made me feel like someone out there knows exactly what I’m going through and you have a similar parenting style. Lately I’ve been having doubts about my parenting, especially because my 15 y.o. doesn’t seem to want or need me around, unless he needs me to take him somewhere. This article has really shown me that I am doing just fine and to keep on keepin’ on, as the saying goes. Thanks for the reassurance!

    1. yay—Good for you Brooke! I’m sure you’re doing amazing. It isn’t easy going through that thing of not being needed so much, but it is normal…and healthy I suppose. πŸ™‚
      You do have your hands full, that’s for sure! I bet there were some crazy days when they were all little! Aloha, and thanks for commenting.

      1. Oh boy were there crazy times! Their younger years are all a blur for me now. They really kept me on my toes. When people say, “you have your hands full!” I always reply with, “They are TWO handfuls!!!” haha! Thanks for sharing your family with us readers! I look forward to reading more from your blog! Love, from the Pacific NW!

  243. Monica u have a beautiful family and my dream life!! FYI I live in Beaverton, Oregon. Born and raised and would love to live in Hawaii. I honeymooned at the Ihilani and enjoyed Oahu. Thanks!!!

  244. I enjoyed reading ur post. I don’t have boys but do have 3 girls and if u have suggestive websites for girls of all ages since I have a 6,8 and 23 year old. I would love it!!!!

    1. Thank you Julie! I honestly don’t know any girl-mom sites off the top of my head, but I do hope you’ll stick around! πŸ˜‰ Most of my topics apply to boys and girls (and many people have told me that the Teenage boy post could have been written for girls too–it applies just the same! ) Aloha and thank you!

      1. Yes I agree I read and was keeping my girls in mind!! Mahalo

  245. Mary Brady says:

    As a mother of 4 young men, the youngest is 19 oldest is almost 29. I have a little experience with teenagers. Listening, boundaries are great, but the thing they need most is a strong male influence who they can talk to and hopefully emulate. Males do thing and act differently from females and this is the time of separation from Moms. They still love you and at times question you and your values but they need time to become Men and with that responsibilities of growing up.

  246. Hi I was wondering about the rule where you can check their computers and phones. My son is only 7 so I have a while yet but how do you balance keeping a check with not invading their privacy?

    1. HI Becky–Sorry it took me a bit…Hmmm, I know what you mean about balancing kid’s privacy with checking on things. But I guess I just have decided that as long as they’re in my house (and not legally “adults,”) they just have to give up a bit of privacy in this way. I honestly RARELY (almost never) check my 15 yr. old’s phone because he has proven completely responsible. But he knows that the minute I have a concern, I can check it. It’s all about the relationship. πŸ˜‰

  247. Great share….just love the hands on mummy inside info! Thankyou.xx our boys r still little but it’s all helpfully stored. My Sil will surely love.xx

  248. I love this and it is exactly how I feel. Great post.

  249. Great article. I’m a South African mom of two boys [17 and 11]; we live in Dubai. I love your philosophy. It works.
    Bless you

    1. Awww, bless you Leonie! I love hearing from you. πŸ™‚ Aloha!

  250. This is a wise, wonderful list, but this is exactly how I am raising a girl, too! No need for it to be only about boys πŸ™‚

  251. I have 6 sons with one daughter sandwiched between. In our home we will have, God willing, 25 years of ‘teenagerness’. Almost an unbroken 25 year span…there are 3 days between daughter turning 20 and fourth son turning 13 that we had a reprieve.

    All of the above is so absolutely true and I appreciate your encouragement. What I want my wife to know is: never stop. What I want my boys to know is: your mom and dad will never stop loving you.

    It is AMAZING when they come thru the ‘process’ of teenager and you get to be good friends with the men that they become. My oldest are now 30, 28, and 26 and are a constant source of joy in our lives.

    1. Thank you Michael–such encouraging words. I really appreciate it. “never stop.” yes! πŸ™‚ Good for you–sounds like you’ve done an amazing job! aloha

  252. Marilyn Wood says:

    Great article!!!

  253. Simley Deuchar says:

    Monica, I loved your article and hope you had a great weekend away!!
    Simley from the South shore:))

    1. Smiley! πŸ™‚ So happy to see you here–I looked for you on the flight back…hope you made it ok. πŸ˜‰ I’ll email you soon! xo

  254. Excellent article. I work with teens. Great advise. Glad to know Im ready as my o yo gets older.

  255. Great job, mom! Actually, I feel like I could’ve written this, I pretty much did all this verbatim – and what a wonderful “man” we raised. You wouldn’t believe some of the conversations we had – would’ve made some blanch! We are still really honest with each other. He’s 26 now, went to a great college, has a great job – and he’s still the funny, handsome and super intelligent baby, kid and teen we got the privilege to live with. Please moms – don’t hang back from your teenage boys – they need to know you are there for them more than ever – what a balancing act it is! What a thrill. What a joy.

    Thanks for this article. I am sure you’ve helped some family today.

  256. Tiffanee Cook says:

    Thank you for sharing. I’m also a mom of two teenage boys. Austin 16, Chase 14. My oldest is on the spectrum of autism. Some day’s can be a challenge, but I continue to love them both. We laugh, cry, and act silly. Life is hard enough I want them to walk away feeling valued, loved, and realize their worth.

    Thank You!

  257. Amazing post. I am a mom of four precious boys (3 teenagers). Great stuff!!!!

  258. Monica P. says:

    I’m so glad I stopped to read this. Very helpful and enlightening, will definitely come in handy as I raise my soon to be 14 year old son.

  259. I too have boys, 21,17 and 14. I can tell you that all of these points are so very true with them, but have also been true with our daughter (20). So, these points could just be for ALL teens. Thanks for putting into words those things we have tried to do, as parents, for our boys. Now when people ask for advice from me I’ll just show them this post!

    1. Thank you Ali!! I’ve heard that (about the girls) a few times and I am SO glad to hear it! That’s awesome that you would share the post–I am happy that you’ve enjoyed it. Aloha!

  260. Susan Achorn says:

    I am now 71, have raised 3 Sons and a Daughter, am the Grandmother to 11 Grands and 1 Great Grand. My boys were 1-2-3 when there Marine Father went to Vietnam. We have been through teething, Potty training, learning to talk, push a car, ride a Bike, First Grade, first Girl Friend, First Fight, Prom, Graduate from High School and College, Marriage, Fatherhood, Empty Nest and more. My Children were and are the Joy of my life. I don’t know how many other things that we have been through but we made it. It was trial and error, a lot of Prayer, tears, lots of Laughter, jokes and a whole lot of Love. As I look back now, I am Blessed among Women, I was chosen to be the Mother, Caretaker, Disilipinarian , Cheerleader, Teacher, a soft spot to land when their whole world fell apart and the Momma to Jerry, Timmy, Richie and Cheri. Thanks Guys it has been the ride of a Lifetime, and I owe it all to you four.

  261. Love this post! I’ll be Shari g it on my blog FB page – thank u!

    1. Thank you so much Terri! SO glad you like the list! πŸ™‚ Aloha!

  262. So helpful! My youngest son turned 13 today and oldest son will turn 15 in April. I so want to get it right!
    Thank you for the insight and reminders.

  263. These are spot on. A couple of things that you touched on when you said “with freedom come responsibility” is that teenage boys also need appropriate responsibility and accountability.

    We can save them so much from hardship later on if we would just trust them to do some hard things and refrain from rescuing them from the consequences of not-so-great choices.

    It’s amazing how much more responsive my boy is to facing up to his mistakes and making things right than he is to listening to me barrage him with a litany of “I-told-you-so’s” while I clean up his mess. Instead, LIFE inflicts the penalty and I can just be his supporter. (“Wow, that’s the pits, but I know you can make it right.”)

    1. such good thoughts Mary! Thank you. And I agree, 100% πŸ™‚ aloha!

  264. Matt Maldonado says:

    Very true! All I got to say is prepare for 16! It gets worse before it gets better. But it’s all worth it. πŸ™‚

  265. I’m the proud mom of 3 boys (24, 20 & 18). One thing I’ve learned, raise your boys with respect , love & humor!
    It’s surprising when people come up & comment how polite & helpful my boys are! Lol
    Those 3 belching, brawling, goofballs?
    Yes! They know how to behave outside of our home. Home is a haven where they can relax & not be judged (mostly). But they have been taught how to carry themselves in public. I’ve been told by my two eldest what a gift this is!

  266. As the mother of 2 boys that are now grown men, this article is spot on! the biggest thing is to stay engaged with your boys. They, although they will never admit, want you to be involved in their lives day in and day out. This is something you must to in order to have a lasting relationship that grows as they age. To this day, I am still very close to my sons…they will still call and ask advice from me..and also call to report great news..Now my youngest is a father of a son and I hope that he remembers how he could talk to me about anything..and to keep his sense of humor and if I could give any advice..Write stuff down so you remember all the stories and events. no matter how small…so that you can share with them as they get older..

  267. Wanted to read and share with my sister, she is really struggling right now with my nephew, hes kind of a butthead, lol but we won’t give up even though hes REALLY hard to be around sometimes! Thanks for the tips, I also have a boy, hes only 4 but its never to early to start researching what to expect with upcoming behavior! Thanks!

  268. This is so good to read! I also feel good because I do a lot of these!!
    I love what you say about their sense of humor. My son cracks me up all the time! I will laugh until I cry!!
    Thank you for sharing this!!

  269. I am a therapist with a 13 y/o boy. This is one of the best descriptions I have come across of what parenting a teen is like.

  270. As a mother to an adopted teenage boy (adopted at age 12) I don’t know how much the bonding at a young age can effect the type of person my son is becoming, but already at 16 he is an amazing young man and I see the benefits of being a listening ear and unconditional love when I look at him! Thank you for your advice! I am always looking for anything I can to help me to understand this whole new world of teenagers;)

  271. I’m a mom of 3 grown boys from 1st marriage. Now I have a 13yr old son n a 12ur old daughter. My dilemma is I’m a widow raising the 2 younger ones alone. ‘M sister sent me your blog. I think it is GREAT but I find it hard by my self to fulfill all these needs of my son any advice would be helpful

  272. very positive, thank you

  273. As the mother of a (now) 17 and a half year old son, I thought I was out the other side with no problems. Well wasn’t i in for a shock this year. I feel like after all these years of being a single mum that I had it down pat. I feel like my son is slipping away from me. He holes up in his room playing computer games and seems to have no motivation for anything else AT ALL. I know this is just a stage but after having control for so long, I feel so helpless. It seems he is just throwing his life away. I have a great support group (for me) but I I don’t feel like HE has anyone to talk to. If I talk to him I get the impression he thinks ‘here we go again’. I feel like I can’t even have a normal conversation with him. Your blog has helped reading that I’m not alone and that he IS just being a teenage boy. Well get past if and I’m hoping our relationship is stronger for it.

    1. I feel for you, Jacki – I’ve always thought 17 was such a difficult and important time – they are really on the cusp of life — maybe the hole down with games because they are just so worried or scared about what the future holds – they are so close! I hope you are able to pry him out of his room somehow and get him engaged in things that interest him – get him out of the house. Get him thinking about his future and what and who he wants to be.

      I wish the best for you – and him!

  274. All that is true and great except when you are dealing with a Disney parent who uses their “hidden” millions to continually undermine any real parenting

  275. Janet Eve Josselyn says:

    Loved it! So true. Mine is 18 years old and we have a great relationship. We find mutual ground in humor – whatever the subject!

  276. Found many points truly recognizable in the relationship with my son. My amazing, sweet son.

  277. Absolutely loved this post! As a high school teacher I know all too well how teenage boys are truly special, and not the lazy troublemakers that society tends to peg them as. With two little boys, I can see how I can still use some of your tips even now. Thanks for sharing!

  278. I work full time and have 3 sons 12,9,5 and two girls 20 and 2 we are a blended family my 20 year old was adopted and 12 is from husband first marriage.

    Any advice on being there for all of them? Especially my 12 year old he seems to be spending more time in his room and has a bad attitude.

    I also suffer from chronic migranes so I am in bed a lot after work.

    1. Oh Jessica, my heart goes out to you…I think the best thing you can do is to be very genuine in the time you do have with your kids. For example, with the 12 year old you might just sit down and talk to him, let him know how much you desire to be there for him, and that you are sorry for when you cannot be…You can communicate your love and support and ask him how you can best support him even though you are working and have migraines, etc. If he knows you really care, he will be more likely to reach out to you when he needs it. I would also add not to let any guilt or overwhelmed feelings stop you from having boundaries in your home. Perhaps your 12 year old should not be allowed to be in his room so much? Or if he is, his door could be open, or you might be able to monitor what he is doing. Let him know (and all of the kids in the home) that you care very much about them in whatever ways you can, and carve out time to give them each some one on one. πŸ™‚ I’ll pray for you. with aloha-

  279. Thanks for article and full of inspiration, greetings from Slovakia :-)!
    Martina /mom of 3 boys and2 girls/

    1. Thank you Martina from Slovakia! πŸ™‚ SO great to have you here. Hope you’ll stick around and say hello any time! XO with Aloha!

  280. Mary Kennedy says:

    Needing advise and encouragement as a single mom with joint custody of a very special 10 year old son.

  281. Love this post! My son is going to be 16?! in January. I am happy to say that I am trying to be this kind of mom. It is nice to know there are fellow moms out there fighting for their sons to be strong men of character. Boy, it’s a tough job in this world today. I know he will be a great man. To all of you parenting wild, crazy, stubborn toddler boys know that in the end it is worth it. I always said that my stubborn toddler would be a strong leader one day. I can see that now. Hold on, you will be looking up to him sooner than you think!

  282. karen walker says:

    Thank you for some great advice on raising teenage boys I need all the help I can get,I am raising my 15 year old grandson ,Ive had him since hes been born and it gets very trying at times I must say but all in all he is a good kid ,he is a musician so again it can be little trrough at times ,if you have any suggestions please let me know.

  283. Oh I appreciate this guidance! The younger years were so beautiful and easy, but the teen years are killing me!

  284. Great, practical, and very relevant advice. Have a teenage boy and most of these have helped with my relationship with him over the years. Still working on it though, we have some days that I want to send him to boot camp and days that I feel like a failure. Overall, we have a great relationship and I am proud of the man he is becoming (He is off to college next year by God’s grace!) .

  285. Nancy Grappin says:

    Great site even for a grandma who has two middle school boys living with her. Thanks for a site for support!

  286. Thank you for sharing this. ..I recently have experienced a wave of emotions from my 14yr. Old son. It has been difficult to say the least on many occasions, but I truly agree that taking an interest in what your son likes is very important, even if it’s definately not ‘your thing ‘. My son and husband recently took up hunting and I’ve tried to learn a lot about it and support my son in it when dad can’t be around. I even worked up the nerve to try the venison chili I helped him cook. It was delicious and he was very proud. Boys need to know their mom feels they contribute to the manly duties of the household.

  287. Hands down, this is the absolute best article I have ever read for moms of boys. My boys aren’t quite teens yet, so I’m going to read, “What an elementary aged boy needs from his mom” next. Everything you wrote in this piece is exactly how I feel and want to be with my boys. Writing about this topic is – without a doubt – your calling. I’m incredibly glad a friend posted this piece on herFacebook page. – your newest fan

    1. Julia–wow, what kind words!! Thank you. πŸ™‚ That really means a lot to me. Not sure how old your boys are, but don’t miss the “Middle School” post either! πŸ˜‰
      (for some reason that was my favorite!) Much aloha to you–And hope you stay in touch!

  288. Genuine interest will open the door to your teen heart, even if you have no idea what he’s talking about ask questions or research it. I took a class his freshman year that the school district offered and it gave many tips to communicate with each of my children, even 5 min in the car makes a difference. Simple how was your day, really,
    Simple responses from the “same” I would ask like no one tripped not that it’s funny or anything like that and walla a conversation started.

    I agree with all your points