Help Your Boys to Successfully Navigate Their Teenage Years
What you need to know about boys
- Boys are prone to separation anxiety so you need to show them as much affection as you would girls and avoid separations, such as leaving them in childcare before the age of three, if possible.
- Boys have testosterone surges making them sometimes argumentative and restless - especially around age fourteen so you need to calmly guide them through conflicts - settle them down with reasoning, not yelling at or attacking them. Be clear that they need to show good manners always, and never use or threaten violence. Fathers need to be role-models and insist that mothers are respected.
- Boys have growth spurts that make them vague and disorganised, especially at age thirteen so you need to get involved in organising them, teaching them systems for organising things, homework, projects, having a routine and doing things bit by bit in small chunks.
- Boys have bursts of physical energy that will need to be let out - you need to make sure they have lots of exercise and opportunities to express themselves physically, and lots of movement.
- Boys have a slower rate of brain development, affecting fine motor skills in early childhood - so if it can be done, their start to official schooling should be delayed until they have developed competent fine motor skills such as holding a pencil or handling scissors.
- Boys have fewer connections from the language half to the sensory half of the brain so you need to read to them, tell them stories, talk to them a lot and explain how things work especially in early childhood to make sure their comprehension and language is developed.
- Boys have a need for a clear set of rules and they need to know who is in charge so you need to provide a good, calm, orderly, predictable but not a boring environment at home and school.
- Boys have a more muscular, stronger body from early childhood so they need to be taught not to use their bodily strength to hurt or intimidate others to get their point across. They need to know that they have to use words to express themselves and to solve problems. Boys will not respond well to blaming or shaming.
- Boys tend to act first without thinking things through so you need to allow them the time to think and talk with them about options, choices, ways to solve problems and tell them other ways of solving issues with other people.
It is important that you communicate calmly with your boys, especially when they're teenagers because all of the above magnifies during adolescence. It is a very trying time for parents and children but it is up to the adults to guide the kids' behaviour. Boys will test you and push boundaries constantly in their teenage years and you will need to get into a different mode of parenting. There is no use being inflexible as that will only lead to conflict, disrespect and defiance on the part of your teenage son. You will need to give and take a lot more than during their childhood years and that can be trying for any parent. But you have entered a new era in yours and your son's life and it is up to you how you handle it and what kind of foundation you will lay for your adult relationship with your son.
If you want your son to develop into a morally sound, sensitive, understanding man who will become a good provider and role-model for his children, you must be that sort of person yourself. Teenagers do not listen to their parents but they notice how things are done so the best thing you can do lead by example.