Raising Boys: Teen Years

When I was pregnant with my second child, I knew, without a doubt, I was a having another girl. Well, I was probably 92% positive. After an extra-long pregnancy and even longer labor, at 4:22 a.m., the doctor announced, “It’s a boy,” and my life changed forever.

At the time, I knew only one thing about boys and that knowledge is how I ended up a mother. Clearly, I was going to need some additional info –  maybe a pamphlet or something?! 

Fast-forward through another birth (“It’s a BOY!”) and fourteen years, and I’ve learned a lot about being a mother to boys. Especially of the teen set. Because in hindsight? The elementary years were gravy, a warm-up to the Olympics of Parenting, if you will- The Teen Years.

Here are some tips for raising boys:

1. Step away from the AXE.
Boys smell. Period. While cologne (along with showers and good deodorant) helps alleviate the issue, we tried AXE and it seemed to only exacerbate the problem. Fortunately for us, my boys happen to like the same thing my husband wears from Bath and Body Works. Teaching them “less is more” is taking more time, but at least the paint isn’t peeling off the walls anymore. 

A boy's best friend is his mother. 2. Talk their language. 
My boys aren’t big on general chit-chat or proclamations of love. And those lunch box notes? Waste of time. Texting has been a huge break-thru for us. And since I am trying to keep the lines of communication open, I even refrain from correcting their grammar. If that doesn’t say love, I don’t know what else does. 

3. Learn about [insert hobby here].
I know more about Mindcraft, Call of Duty, military weaponry, Star Wars, and other testosterone-driven subjects than I ever thought possible. And really, it’s not half-bad. 

4. Drink a lot of coffee. And Diet Coke.
Boys. Girls. It doesn’t matter. Raising kids is the hardest job one can do and it takes fuel to keep going. Plus all the working I do to earn the extra grocery money to fill the bottomless stomachs of two teenage boys; all of that takes an obscene amount of caffeine. Because seriously? THEY ARE ALWAYS HUNGRY. I thought that was a myth; it’s not. 

5. Remember: Some day they will be someone’s spouse.
I have no qualms about asking my boys’ opinions on certain things: how an outfit looks; a choice between two nail polishes; what to have for dinner. Very few topics are off limits. I value their opinions and insights just like I do my husband’s. I figure it will be less of a culture shock once they set up housekeeping with someone I hope to like but doubt will meet my standards.

If you are past the teen years, what would you add to the list?  




  1. says

    Hahaha that’s so true! I have a 23 and 12 years old boys, and i found out that texting is THE communication solution! Learn everything about where they are and who they are with through instagram, lucky they added me!

  2. Amy Bramblette says

    - Along with learning their hobbies (games, etc.) be open to learning about them and what they consider important in life. I am amazed by the depth of thought and intelligence of my sons and their friends.
    – Don’t assume you know what they’re thinking. Just because they are teenagers doesn’t mean they are thinking of ways be disobedient or feel like you’re an idiot. Yes, they will act up, but not always.
    – Adjust the way you love. Once boys hit teen years, the mush needs to stop. Still tell them and show them, but work out ways where you can get your fix without embarrassing them too much.

  3. Heather says

    Great additions, Amy. They definitely don’t like to show affection much at this age, except on their terms.

    And I find their conversation very fascinating.

  4. Heather says

    We haven’t tried Instagram yet. I’m not sure how I feel about it. But I will tell you, I love seeing the pictures they secretly take with my phone. Their perspective is eye-opening.

  5. says

    Love this post and agree with every item, especially #1! Oh God how they stink! We have our own Axe history and learning about less is more – especially since his new cologne costs a fortune, is a very valuable lesson.

    What I would add would be to pay attention to their lifestyle cues… my 17 year old son has his own ways of doing things, his own schedule, likes & dislikes. Just because they’re different than mine, and what we’ve taught him growing up, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re wrong. So, just respecting that and giving him room to do his thing has definitely cut back on the tensions that normally go hand-in-hand with raising a teen.