How to mother a teenage boy
During a boy’s golden years (7−10 years), a mum is often his biggest fan and the greatest presence in his life.
His dependence on his mother maybe a reliable base for him, yet it also provides a mother with a solid base to do what she understands best- to nurture and to be fully involved in her son’s life.
Then the pre-teens arrive, and can rudely shape-shift this solid base.
A young male teen can literally push a mother out of the driver’s seat. He no longer wants to feel adored, closeted or dependent. He needs to step into his life force, spread his wings and discover his own way.
Frustration sets in and almost every mother wonders how it all went wrong. Are you to blame? Who changed the rules? He did, but you can still reach him with a few changes in approach
Update your mothering style
It is simple: mothering needs to change. The early years laid the foundation for good self-esteem, basic relationship and social skills, morality and family values and structure. The teens take you into new territory and parenting is a whole new job. It is easier for us to hang onto familiar feminine approaches and especially what worked before. We want to chat, hug, spend time together and share things. This generation teen wants it differently: mini chunks of information that are logical and practical not ‘touchy-feely’. He prioritises friends’ advice or male advice; bonding with mum is last on his list.
Re-assess your approach
Raising this generation of teen boys requires a paradigm shift in our mothering style. It is time for you to understand his generation, his developmental stage and come to terms with the impact of testosterone. It also means that mothers must drop the boring five questions that they ask every day. I have discovered the formula to understand boys and believe that more than ever we need to coach boys towards positive and wholesome masculinity
Think about you
Give up thinking that your sole purpose is to please him or partake in his happiness. The truth is that, by the time a boy is a teen, it is time for mothers to get a life. Now is the time to empower yourself, by becoming clear about your personal purpose.
The teen years are tricky, they are fuelled by a hyper-masculinity and they too will pass. Broadening your understanding and your vision does not mean that you become a walk over. Teens always need boundaries set for them. Do hold him accountable for his behaviour, and share the passion you have for your own life.
Megan de Beyer is an international specialist parent psychologist and author of How to Raise a Man: A modern mother’s guide to parenting her teenage son. She travels the globe promoting positive parenting through her parent workshops. This article is about Parenting
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