Teen Talk. Talking About Boys...

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Chris Lincoln MEd
Chris Lincoln MEd

Talking About Boys

Teenage boys are incredibly un-likeable at times. Not only do the adults in their lives find them unpleasant, they often find their own company pretty unbearable too. One minute, surly, argumentative, horny, judgmental and bullying. You wonder if they are made of 100% testosterone, never mind the snips and snails and puppy dog tails. Ten minutes later the same boy is lovingly playing with his little sister and talking like a regular human being. One of the reasons teenage boys hang with each other is the simple fact that they are the only ones who can (almost) put up with each other.

At times it seems that most teen boys are living in families that appear to be nothing but an impediment to their every wish. They find, therefore that they do not belong in the bosom of their own family, and are thus outsiders. They further alienate themselves from the world by alienating any person who cannot guess what they are thinking at any given moment, before that person can alienate them. This leaves their compatriots as the only human contact they can bear, even though their friends are all stupid and or annoying.

They gather in surly huddles not listening to each other, communicating in grunts and angry thought projections. Every now and then one of them will communicate in a more traditional fashion asking what the others want to do. This is greeted by shrugs and sounds that approximate to, "I dunno, what do you want to do."

Boy communication skills are usually abysmal, which the boys then compound by blaming everybody else. Their modus operandi is to have a thought, fail to share it, and then get mad because no one was listening to them. Festering and seething can practically be seen fighting anything rational that might be going on in their heads.

Often these pitiful creatures will rail against slights; real and perceived that are conspiring to make their lives a living hell. The irony being that they are actually making everyone else's life a living hell!

Shouting, stomping and midnight black moods are interspersed with hitting things, such as; pillows and stuffed animals (hopefully), walls and doors (usually), and pets or younger siblings (of concern). These angry outbursts seem to act like a thunderstorm, clearing their heads, and in their rain-washed state they are often remorseful and loving.

Even if they never reach the above fever pitch, most are not averse to throwing in a zinger or two about your faults and shortcomings. Suddenly you no longer know how to cook, or do math, or drive a car, along with, not so subtle implications, that they are in fact better human beings than you are.

Moms are usually exceedingly hurt, and Dads have a tendency to get mad. The adult reactions are fuel to the teen boys fire and the domestic atmosphere quickly becomes toxic.

So, what are we as parents to do? We are poorly equipped in the psychic department, so we find ourselves reacting, often negatively, to situations created by the teen in turmoil.

My first suggestion is to be proactive as a family or parenting team. Make sure there are ground rules for your interactions with each other so that you can come off as united. Clear statements such as "your behavior is unacceptable and hurtful right now. We all need a time out, " is way less inflammatory than, " He's your son, you teach him some manners!"

The key to communicating with the uncommunicative is to make unemotional statements of fact.

For example;

"I hate you, you are ruining my life, when met by, "we love you, but hate your attitude right now," won't stop the door slam and the stomp upstairs to his lair, but, you made an important point. The hope that is in the post anger phase, (the rumination period as it were – you know, thinking about stuff in his room), the message is clear. You, we love. The anger/drama/pain we don't.

Boys tend not to be great fans of overt empathy. My experience is that they like clear, logical, certain responses. I think that is because, even if they deny it, they are somehow aware that their world is spinning, so, if the adult world is sure and stable, it provides a much valued (later on, of course), rock to cling to.

Even hokey or hackneyed statements have their place. They provide a level of reassurance, of certainty, at a time when they are very confused. “Have a good day.” “I hope you have a good game.” And “Love you.” May not get responses, but they do reassure that part of their world is normal.

The boy's confusion embraces; self-worth, purpose in life, intellectual ability, sexuality, social skills, athletic prowess, physicality, father-son relationships, how they perceive women, how that matches their feelings to their mother, sister, the list is considerable. It is also a time when boys consider, of all things, their mortality, or their parents mortality.

It can be highly confusing as an adult to witness a spectacular "I hate you" tantrum, and then in the calm after the storm, have your boy crying, and telling you that he does not want you to die.

It would seem that every question, large and small, is thrown into his blender of a brain, and some seemingly trivial event pushes the "stir" button. The result is dramatic, and seemingly devoid of any logic at all.

I believe this is a natural process that needs to take place in the transition from child to adult. Boys hold very strong opinions, right or wrong, and life challenges these strongly held preconceptions at some point. It would appear that they can hold divergent views on everything for a while. (I love baseball/I never want to play baseball again.) But, in the cauldron of this mental turmoil, the "adult" versions of these beliefs are forged.

Right or wrong, this is where men construct their certainty platform, which gives them confidence and courage in their adult life.

And, yes, they need to hear that you love them...even when you really feel that you don't.

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Comments 21 comments

Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 5 years ago from US

I really didn't have but one blow up with my son but I can tell you my daughter was a nightmare and with children of her own, still is. The little girl I was who really only wanted a daughter sure got fooled, my son and I are very close and he is a really good kid.


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

Excellent Hub on Teen boys. Informative and fair. Eye opening. Thank you very much.


Pixienot profile image

Pixienot 5 years ago from Clarksville, Indiana

Where were you when I was raising three boys? Hmm?

Excellent hub. Good read.

Voted up and awesome.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Polly,

My personal experience with boys has been far less complex than my dealing with girls. There are always exceptions, but good mother son relationships are not that unusual. I think there is always a competitive component in the same sex relationships. Sadly I am coming across more and more adolescent boy issues.

Sorry about your one relationship, but how blessed are you to have the other.

C


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Lilly,

Thank you for your kind words.

C


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Pixienot,

Short answer, Raising two step sons. I suspect that I touched a nerve here. Thanks for reading and commenting.

C


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I read this because I have all girls - and I have to tell you I am so glad I did! One time when my oldest girl was about 15 - she said she hated me - I said "well I hate your attitude when you act like this! I have felt guilty every time I thought about that - so it's not just the girls huh? Great hub!


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Real,

In truth, most families report more issues with girls than boys, and as a dad of boys, I tend to agree. Of course, every family and every relationship is different and it sounds like you have a great relationship with your girls.

I honestly think the most important attribute of parenting is a great sense of humor. It's the only way I know to diffuse those teen bombs!

And thanks for reading my more serious side!

C


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

My pleasure - and I can believe it - I am not looking forward to going through that adolescent age again - twice - but since Laurel is 22 now - works as a loan processor all day and then goes to Lindenwood College at night - A criminal justice major! So next time I think it will be easier knowing it WILL pass!


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Real,

One of my favorite things is seeing the young adults make their way in the world. I don't know if we can claim part of their success as ours, but the pride is very real.C


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Yes - so true - I once heard someone say that we can't take responsibly for the bad things or the good things they have done - the credit really belongs to her!


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

True, but I'm claiming some of the good bits anyway!

C


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Well gosh! It's hard not to! When they do something good that is:-)


NONTAS 5 years ago

they need to hear that you love them...even when you really feel that you don't.

If you feel that you don't then why lie to them? Why would you do something to your teen that you would punish him for if he did it to you?

Don't get offended. I don't mean to offend anyone. but this is what I am really thinking. People do this too much these days.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

NONTAS,

Because in your heart you do love them. It's their attutude you have a problem with. I guess my point is that there is a need for reassurance.

As you point out, outright lying would inappropriate, and would fail as the child would be aware.

No offence taken - it is always good to have open dialog - and in an area as thorny as raising children, can anyone lay claim to being an "expert"?

C


TeenDad 5 years ago

I think you are an expert, l think a bit differently about my boy after reading this. Those were some bad times growing up


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

TeenDad,

I think we block out those memories...

Too embarassing!

C


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 5 years ago

Interesting.

Yesterday, I saw a father and his son having dinner together. The little boy was running here and there, talking non-stop, while the dad was so grown up and well behaved. So, I thought, the little boy will grow up and be like his dad eventually. It is amazing to think how the whole process will take place.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Ingenira,

My guys are a constant source of pride, glad I didn't harm them too badly!!!!

C


Jokylu profile image

Jokylu 5 years ago from Waratah North, Victoria.

Very helpful hub, I am a Nana of 4 grandsons, ages 10-16

and I am going to pass this on to my daughter and son in law, thanks for your insights


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Jokylu,

Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. My "boys" are now thirty, so I can look back and laugh, but at the time...

C

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