Raising a teen boy has its perks, though listening to the general public you'd think it's the worst thing ever. I won't sugar-coat the experience, but it isn't all bad. As with anything in life, there are drawbacks however, there are also perks.
The good news is, there are ways to highlight the perks. And if there’s anything moms need, it’s more positivity in our days.
1. We Get to See Change and Growth
In the early years, any changing fell on us--WE changed diapers and diets and environments and rules because our boys needed that. Now, they’re changing, and what they need is a little space. They need room to figure out who they are and where they’re going. That doesn’t mean moms are not important. We get to see them spread their wings, make decisions, learn from things, and eventually overcome. Those things only happen if we back up a bit. Balance is key—we should let our teens know we’re here and most importantly, our love will always be here. Then sit back and let them navigate while being open to dialogue and discussion when they ask.
2. We Get to Watch Them Process.
Teens feel and experience new things--some good and some bad. Whichever camp these feelings and experiences fall into, teens need to process them and many times that is through talking. Let them vent. Listen to them. We have the opportunity to validate their words when we sit, actively listen, and thoughtfully respond.
Questions like “How do you feel about that?” or “What do you think about that?” let them know you care about their changing feelings and perspectives. When venting becomes hurtful or teen angst spills over onto the whole family, remind them that often feelings are not fact. By taking the opportunity to talk one-on-one and reminding them that respect is still important, we reinforce that it’s okay to have a bad day, however it’s not okay to impose that on everyone in the family.
3. We Get to Have Fun and BE Fun.
We can't fear the dreaded eye-roll so much that we don’t give in to a bit of fun. Teens won’t always tell us that they want to be kids again, but sometimes they do. The family is the only safe place. Peer pressure is off and teens can just be themselves--so take advantage of it. Some of our best family memories were made when our boys were teens. They’re not completely our peers yet, but they are functioning more like adults than little children. Enjoy that.
4. We Get To Look To the Future.
Continue pointing them forward. When school is tough, remind them that one day they’ll have that diploma in hand.
When they worry about a relationship, we get to share our own teen struggles and successes.
Dream about their future. We get to tell them how much we believe in them—that one day, they will be what God has purposed for them. Every step we take together with our teen sons, whether on a hard day or a good day, is part of their journey to adulthood.
Let's be encouragers by reminding them, “Look how far you’ve come.”
5. We Get to Be Part of the Same Team
In a time when our sons begin to stand alone, a united mission keeps us all on the same page. This verse served as a great reminder during our boys’ teen years:
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
First, we moms are Christ’s ambassadors to our teenage boys; God is making His appeal through us, to our sons.
As a family, we are united in that mission. Our family serves as an ambassador for Christ; He makes His appeal to those around us through us.
Be a unit.
Hang together as a family.
When we focus on the perks of a teen son, life can be quite enjoyable.
Laura Lee Groves is the mother of four sons and the author of I'm Outnumbered! One Mom's Lessons in the Lively Art of Raising Boys, in addition to Pearl, a novel about international adoption.