When my son was little, he found spending time with his mother, going to places with his mother, talking with his mother, being hugged by his mother were all fun things to do. The closeness between them felt good – a continuation of the founding attachment to the foster parent who carried it and gave birth to it. But this enjoyment of a particular closeness to his mother begins to change with the separation, differentiation and opposition of adolescence which push him towards more independence, and in particular with the onset of puberty when he begins to define himself as a young man. Part of this definition requires becoming different from a woman, especially the first woman in her life, her mother. He has no gender distinction to make with his father.
What a Teenage Boy Needs from his Mother:
1. A safe place to figure themselves out.
This happens almost every day and sometimes several times a day. Teens always change, They will change their clothes, Their mood, How they walk, talk or what they are in. Some days, they just need to figure out what works for them. Some days, nothing feels right. Being a teenager is difficult. Sometimes our best job as a mom is to act like we don’t even notice.
Our boys need to know what is absolutely right and what is absolutely wrong. They can resist the rules, but basically, they feel safe when there are clear rules without exception. Make them clear and consistent and have absolute consequences in place when they break the rules. Limits = security.
3. A Listening Ear.
Boys need to speak. Even the quietest will open when given the opportunity. Get them alone and make it clear that you WANT to hear about their interests and their lives. Be patient and try different times and places until you find out. I push through the “awkward” and tackle subjects that make my boys squirm (hello puberty!) But nobody is dead yet. This clearly shows that I agree with all the topics and that I will always be available and comfortable to speak.
4. Genuine interest.
What does your teenager like? Learn to love it too. Learn at least enough about what they are passionate about so you can have a decent conversation. This will keep the doors open more than anything else you can do.
Teenagers will make mistakes. Lots of them. They’ll get insecure and do stupid things because of his teen age. They are going to mess up each anr everything so much you’ll wonder where you went wrong. If you know it’s coming, it won’t throw you off.
It’s hard to be a teenager. The world will yell and yell all kinds of negatives at your son. So be his biggest fan. Be his cheerleader. Believe in him with your heart and tell him you are doing it. Each Single Day, I’m not talking about fakes, artificial encouragement (everyone wins!) But the authentic kind who finds their greatest gifts and speaks them boldly. A key common to almost everything I’ve named is that mom is involved in teenage life.
To listen or discipline … to share a joke or a hug … you must be close to your children. For moms who work long hours or who cannot be physically involved in your children’s lives, I encourage you to find creative solutions to this. You will never regret making sacrifices or adjustments so that you can be there for your children when they need you. And the problem with parenting is that you are never really sure when they will need you. It is therefore essential to be there as much as possible.