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?