How could this be? Slow down boys—I gave birth to you yesterday. But really—I dig this stage. This is the reward. I mean, I love my kids at every stage, but certainly some years nearly killed me. There was a purpose behind the pain. I LOVE who they are becoming. But these days…these teenage years: How can I help the most? Between conversations with other moms, plenty of books on the subject, and talking to my boys directly, I have come up with what I think are the eleven most important things… Here they are: A safe place to figure themselves out.
It happens almost every day, and sometimes many times a day: Teenagers are always changing. They will change their clothes. Some days they just need to figure out what feels right. Some days nothing feels right. Being a teenager is hard. Our boys need to know what is absolutely ok, and what is absolutely not.
They may resist rules, but deep down they feel safe when there are clear-cut rules without exceptions. Make them clear and consistent, and have absolute consequences in place for when they break rules. Within those boundaries, teenage boys need the opportunity to stretch their wings.
Teenage boys should be encouraged…Even pushed—to try new things, to take some risks, to find adventure. So the freedoms we give are taken very seriously. Boys need to talk. Even the quietest ones will open up when given the chance. Get them alone, in the car or wherever you can, and make it clear that you WANT to hear about their interests, and their lives.
Be patient, and try different times and places until you figure it out. A Mom that can listen and not criticize or manipulate is a really valuable thing. A Sense of Humor. This is the good stuff. This may be my very favorite thing about these years. No more knock-knock jokes or bad made-up jokes that never seem to come to a conclusion. When one of my boys come out laughing and want me to watch a funny Vine or YouTube Video, I drop everything for it.
A good sense of humor will get your kid through many trials in life—So encourage it. Your teenage son will likely pull away from you physically, and that is normal, albeit painful. But even the most rigid, sulky teenage boy needs hugs from Mom.
What does your teenager love? Learn to love it too. Know at least enough about what they are passionate about so that you can have a decent conversation. This will keep doors open greater than any other gesture you can make. Teenagers will make mistakes. Consequences may be in order, but so is a whole lot of grace. Quote someone they might respect. You are their greatest resource they have, and they need your direction. The world will yell and scream all kinds of negatives to your son.
So be his greatest fan. Believe in him with your heart, and tell him that you do. Our kids are watching us. They get a lot more of an idea about what is right, wrong, good and bad from what you do than what you say. So take your position seriously. If you teach them to speak well of others, make sure you do the same.
To listen, or discipline.. You will never regret making sacrifices or adjustments so that you can be present for your children when they need you. So being there as much as possible is key. I should add here that my husband and I are Christians, and our faith is woven into every item I listed above. However at times it can feel like a crazy balancing act…Do they need more grace?
Do they need space, or hugs, or advice, or WHAT!!!??? Share in comments anything you would like to add, or a question, experience, or suggestion for other moms too.