Our sweet little rambunctious baby boys are growing up and transforming right before our eyes. They are rapidly changing and so are their needs. It’s an exciting and exasperating time because although we love watching them mature into young men, we find ourselves in uncharted territory as parents. It’s so hard to keep up with it all and as parenting often does, we are faced with new challenges every day in how to raise these kids in whatever season we’re in.
While I’m treading this unfamiliar territory, I’ve learned there are five things teen boys need from their moms.
Our teen boys need us to give them space.
As much as we want to coddle and cuddle, as hard as it is to step back and let them have their space, we must. With maturity comes independence and our teen boys need to detach from us and figure many things out on their own. They begin drawing the boundary lines that once were non-existent, and we must honor them and respect their privacy.
I’ve learned that if we can allow this to occur, our boys will still reach out to us when they need us. They have lots to learn and sometimes they’ll get stuck and ask for help, for guidance, and even advice. We can always check in, ask questions, and let them know we’re here for them any time they need us, but giving them the distance that they crave is an important way we can show our love.
Our goal is to raise them to be independent, and these are the very steps that will get them there. Let them figure out their footing and as hard as it is to allow them to stumble at times, this is how they’ll create their own path.
Our teen boys need us to show them unconditional support.
Although our boys want their space, they still need our ongoing support. We just have to give it in different ways. Making sure we are available for them when they need to talk or need help with their school work is important. Showing up for things that are important to them as much as we can, will surely help our teen boys see that we are there for them, supporting their efforts and hard work. Go to as many games, shows, awards banquets, concerts, debates, etc. to demonstrate your support and cheer them on.
They may not show it, but our presence means the world to them. Most of all, keep telling your boy that you believe in him. Remind him often that you are so proud of him and all he’s doing. No kid will ever tire of hearing those encouraging words.
Our teen boys need us to understand.
Our boys are going through major growth spurts and hormonal changes that can shift their moods on a dime. This is often out of their control, and it can cause even the nicest easy-going kid to turn into a belligerent and biting monster.
We need to remember that they are wading through uncharted territory just like us, and we need to understand that they are trying to figure out their ever-changing bodies and roller-coaster moods too. Be patient with them as they manage all these shifts and turns in this hard and confusing transition. We are still the adults here and we need to try our hardest to show them that.
Our teen boys need us to be consistent.
As their world is constantly changing with school and friends and new more grown-up experiences every day, we must be their safe and secure place. During these teen years, everything they used to believe as a child is shifting and evolving and they are trying to figure out who they are and where they fit into their expanding world. This can be so confusing and scary, so we must be their anchor and offer stability to their unstable life.
Remaining consistent in our rules, our consequences, our support, and our values can help them feel assured that home will always be predictable when everything else is not.
Our teen boys need us to be patient.
Behind every teen boy’s pimpled face and raw stink, is a multitude of maddening issues every mom must face. Our once sweet innocent babies will surely show several layers of attitudes and anger, they will be brazenly stubborn and suspiciously sullen, they will be utterly forgetful and unfathomably formidable. The list goes on and on and there will be many times we’ll want to pull out our hair and scream from the top of our lungs to get our kid’s attention and slap some sense into them. But this, THIS is where our love is tested to the extremes and we must pass each and every exhaustive test with enduring patience and stretch our capacity to love our boys even when they’re at their worst.
Hold on, mamas. Our baby boys are somewhere in there. We just have to look hard and long some days to find them. They’re still our babies, despite the bigger clothes and larger problems. Someday, I bet they will be able to look back and realize we were there for them during these difficult years and maybe they’ll be ready to give us a good long hug, too.