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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Raising teenagers is a challenge, and teenage boys can seem particularly baffling to parents. Understanding boys’ motivations is essential for meeting their needs and raising well-adjusted children.

They Love a Mess

Messiness is significant for teens who use disorder to cope with rapid changes in their lives. Messy rooms are also a way for teenage boys to express themselves. Parents should teach their children that a well-organized room is important and that keeping the room clean is a sign of respect. To make teenage boys more likely to take pride in their personal space, allow them to decorate it in a way that expresses themselves. It is also important to show them that when they move away from home, they won’t have anyone to clean up after them, so they better start practicing now.

They Take Risks

Teenagers are risk takers, and teenage boys are particularly likely to participate in dangerous thrill-seeking behaviors. Some of the most common risks include reckless driving, drug and alcohol abuse, and sexual activity. Discuss the dangerous consequences of these behaviors, and encourage teens to channel their energy in a positive way through school activities and sports, chores or a part-time job. Always try to avoid being judgmental when telling your son about what is right and wrong, but make sure you are clear about the tragic consequences of making poor choices.

They Crave Boundaries

Almost all teenagers complain that their parents set unfair rules, yet those teens whose parents hold them to higher standards tend to be happier, perform better in school and avoid getting into trouble. Involving teenagers in creating guidelines that will keep them safe but that they feel are fair will increase the likelihood of compliance.

They Need Guidance

Teenage boys need help navigating the changes in their lives, especially the physical ones transforming their bodies. One example is grooming. Young boys may often need help knowing what to wear, and even though they don’t ask, they could need fashion advice from their mothers. Fathers can help teenage boys by teaching them how to tie a tie, or how to shave when the time comes. A razor can be scary in young hands, and as we know, teens often have sensitive skin. A shaving brush can help teenage boys apply soothing creams that will protect their young skin from potentially harsh razors. It is important to let your son display his own style, however some boys may need help with their appearance and they might be too embarrassed to ask for advice.

They Want Space to Grow

Teenage boys both want and need freedom and independence to transition into adulthood. Parents can balance active involvement in their children’s lives with opportunities for privacy and self-discovery. Parents should demand respect in return with attacks on that respect resulting in more direct supervision.

Teenage boys may be messy risk takers who crave freedom, but they also need boundaries and guidance. Parents who are aware of how to balance these conflicting needs can help their sons mature into responsible and independent young men.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents of teenage boys.