What a Teenage Boy Needs Most from his Mom (2024)

  • Thank you! 11-12 things changed so fast it seemed. This was reinforcement for me. Thank you!

  • So happy i came across this blog. I’m a mother of a 14 year old, and 10 year old. My 2 boys💙 I felt a lot of relief reading this, as I do many of these things .. The thing I feel bad about, is I’ve had many times, where 1 of them would come find me, to show me a YouTube vine, and I simply said not right now, or I don’t wanna see it. I feel awful now. Although I don’t always, turn them away, with whatever they want to show me on youtube. Only sometimes when I’m super rushed for work, or rushed to get 1 of them to a game. Or right after I just watched 4 or 5 videos with them lol.. From now on, I will watch every single vine, they want me to watch with them lol. I love being a mom of 2 amazing young men.

    1. Thank you Cari! I’m so happy you found my blog too. you are in good company here!! So sweet that you feel that way, but of course none of us can watch everything our silly boys ask us to! You’re probably doing a great job. Just keep loving and talking and staying involved in their lives! You’ve got this! Much aloha,

  • My 46 years daughter fightes stage 4 cancer for over 2 years. She has 4 children: 19 years old boy, 17 years old boy, 14 years old girl and 12 years old boy. The 17 years old boy hurts his mom, ignors her, behaves like he hates her and wants her out of his life. Help!!!

    1. o sorry Alexandra. Sounds really rough. Someone needs to set boundaries on that 17 yr. old…I’m sure there are so many things going on and it is very sad. But keep praying, seek out some support and have faith God has not abandoned any of you. Reach out and try to stay strong. Blessings…

  • Thank you so much for this! My son will be 15 next month and I’ve struggled all his life trying to do the “right” things. We’re dealing with that teenage attitude, not wanting to be responsible, pretending not to hear me when I tell him to do something…. and so forth.
    I appreciate all the advice and tips and will definitely be putting them into practice! In fact, as soon as I finished reading it, as I was typing this, my son walked in and I practiced using a sense of humor. It works!

  • My son is 15 years old and I would always catch him lying. He would lie about his homework most of the time and is not finishing his school work. He used to be an A student but is now a C student. What can I do to let him know that I am not his enemy? I feel so much pain and he told me that we do not have a relationship. Please help.

    1. So so sorry Heidi, this sounds very hard. It is hard for me to give advice without knowing more about your situation, but I pray you find some support (is there a dad in the family? Perhaps he could talk to your son?) or if you could get a counselor or Youth Leader involved that might be best. I would definitely try to talk to your son honestly, and lovingly about your feelings…Try not to be emotional but be strong and caring. Let him know you are concerned about his future, and remind him how you want to maintain a relationship with him…be supportive of him…and help him grow up well. Absolutely give consequences for any lies and make sure he knows the rewards of being honest. Keep talking! Reach out for help if you can. And pray! 🙂 blessings and hope things get better…

  • My 3 sons are grown and w/sons of their own. So much of what you’ve written rang true and have “been there…done that”! VERY a good advice! I would love to share this article w/my daughter’s in law in written form…please advise.

    1. Hey Ginger! Thank you so much and that makes me so happy. 🙂
      You are welcome to share it. Easiest to just highlight the address bar at the top of the post (the “URL”) and copy it. Then paste it into an email or text message! 😉 Hope that helps. Either way I appreciate the thought!

  • Hi! I read this with a sense of nostalgia. My boys are all in their 30’s and have families of their own. Their teen years were some of my favorite. The only thing I would add to your list is food and friends. Our home was a gathering place, where their friends became our extended family. It was always my goal to cook more than they could eat. Wonderful times and blessed memories.

  • Hi Monica,
    I had read your post and definitely, I ll read your book.
    You mention your strength and love in God which I feel too, but do your teens enjoy going to Service? My son most of the time rather stay home.
    My husband play the:”Please, do it for me”. I don’t force it as I don’t want to create resistant, but at the same time… How is my son going to learn ? I can talk for hours to him about God, but he needs to feel it. Right?
    So please share your experience.

  • Thank u. I needed this after my mature 12yo son started lying the other day. It shocked me. A huge lie that I never saw coming. I was distraught. But today I feel better after talking to him after reading your article. Now my perspectives has changed and I am ready for more actions. Im sure its gonna be a one massive, bumpy and exhilirating roller coaster ride.

    1. Thank you Ireen! Yes, often at that pre-teen stage they are testing the waters and trying to figure out what they might get away with… You are wise to nip in the bud. Though they need a bit more freedom as they grow up, they still need parents who, well — parent! 🙂 Keep up the great work and keep me posted. Aloha

  • Hello, I’m looking for some advice for my 13 yr old. I’m his step mother, his dad and I live out of state. He lives with his mother and we are fortunate enough to be able to communicate and get along. We get him every summer vacation, the whole time goes back about 1 week before school starts, and take turns on holiday vacations such as thanksgiving, Christmas. He’s been getting into trouble with school and ended up in being expelled. There’s reason to believe in marijuana use as well. His mother has been telling my husband that he needs to be more active in his life by calling and video chatting more. I honestly don’t see how this could help as a teenage boy needs a father physically there. We have told her numerous times I think it’s time he comes and moves with us. Being thousands miles away, are there ways we can help him or is the best thing to have him move in with us? He knows his dad is strict and more disciplinary so his mom says this would not be the best thing mentally for him because hes not used to that life. Something to add importantly, his mother isn’t that hard on him and will give him friends, phone, privileges back to him very easily. She lives with her parents and siblings which all use marijuana.

  • I came across this post because I have been looking for resources for a single mom in my church whose 17 year old son has been rejected by his dad in so many ways. She feels he is not very social, loves to stay indoors. Her son wonders why his prayers to God are not answered because his dad constantly lets him down. His only male model went home to be with the Lord, his grandfather. This has been happening since he was a small boy. He doesn’t want to attend church because he feels what’s the use God doesn’t care. Do you know of any resources I can give to her?

  • Your article truly blessed me. And even though you didn’t announce in the beginning that you were a believer in Christ, I just knew it. It shined thru your words. I am too. God bless you and your family.

    1. oh thank you Penola! 🙂 That makes me so happy. Blessings and hope you stick around here! Aloha!

  • My son hates his dad. With his frustrations, I feel that he takes it out on me. He thinks were bad parents. He says he doesnt care that he doesnt respect me or us if we dont respect him. He called me stupid on our phone text. He s definitely rebellious and finds it hard to reach out to apologize and accept his mistakes.

    1. I’m so sorry. This sounds so hard, but it is not hopeless. I would encourage you to find some counsel, talk to someone you trust who understands teenagers and might be able to help you. Keep loving your son and doing what you can to talk objectively with him about things. Sometimes it just takes time and patience. Blessings.

  • I know moms are very nurturing and often sweet. However, as a father and a man, I can tell you that a boy needs to be pushed. Encouraged is one word of putting it there, but if you see that boy slacking, push him, don’t let him get lazy and settle…push him and push him more to do better.

    We all get joy from achieving, boys get it from overachieving. It is that burning sensation that you see every athlete strive for it. Don’t be afraid to Push your son to do better, don’t be soft or they’ll take advantage.

  • This was so perfect and so beautiful. Helped me out as a big sister too! (to a 15yr old brother…). Shared with mum too!

    1. Oh so glad to hear that Livvy! Thank you. 😉 Blessings and Aloha-

  • Any advice on rebellious teen boys when your a single divorced mom? Alsoways close he now just wants to Be with his dad.

    1. Hey Susan, thank you for commenting. I’m sorry I’m sure that is a tough feeling. To start with, please keep in mind that teenage boys are often more drawn to dad b/c they feel that man-to-man connection…that is not all bad. (I hope his father is a good influence!) Otherwise, my best advice is to keep talking to him, caring about him, letting him know you love him. He may be going through a lot right now, so in time he might open up more. Pray for him, direct him to good and positive influences, and try to be an encouraging voice in his life. Never give up! (But also hold to your standards and don’t forget to parent him — including consequences for bad behavior as is needed!)
      all the best to you and please keep in touch! xo

  • I kind don’t know what to do about this , A friend of mine has a 12 year old name Matt , He has been raising him on his own since he got divorced years ago . Matt doesn’t have his mother a lot because, She lives in another state with her former husband and children. Well when I met Matt for the first time he hardly talked and looked grumpy lol. As the days past I started to engage more and more I’m his life. Asking about school, sports, foods, goal & life etc. Like my little friend I could say . Well now he has started to look for me a lot more, He wants to start hanging out more also now he wants to start staying over my house.He makes any excuse to help me out in anyway just to be around me. I love him don’t get me wrong, He has changed so much in these two years. His father tells me a lot “I don’t know what you did to that boy “ lol . “He likes you a lot”. He is always asking for you and about you. He talks to his friends and step brother about you like If everyone knew who you where . “That made me feel good actually and proud and loved as well . I love Matt like if he was mine.I don’t have kids of my own. My marriage broke because of that as well. I would love to help raise Matt with his father , I just don’t know if it’s the right thing to due over all because, his father and I are just friends and we both have our own life’s plus my friend Hendri has no issue with Matt being with me 24/7 . He jokes a lot like “I don’t know how you put up with this clown lol o etc. He likes the bond that we have together. But overall with everything.I just don’t know how my friend would take it if I were to tell him that or better said…..Like by the way Is that something that’s done or is it right to do? Oh…..
    Also matt called me mom today getting out of school. I made it seem like I didn’t hear but as the day past he kept saying it but also he would call me by my name. too. Was I wrong in not correcting him? Do I tell his father tomorrow when I see him or do I speak to Matt first???
    Can someone give me advice on all this?

    Thank you,

    1. Thank you for sharing that story. Yes, it is complicated and you sound like a very caring, loving soul! 🙂 I think it is time for a good talk with Matt’s dad about your role and appropriate boundaries. I see nothing wrong with being a role model and special person to a growing boy who needs a mom-role in his life, but you need to be careful because he may grow to depend on you and there are just many ways this could get difficult. I would suggest setting up appropriate boundaries and communicate them clearly. Unless you are going to marry his father, I would not suggest letting him call you “mom” and I also wouldn’t recommend him staying with you etc. Again this is all stuff you need to work out with the father! All the best to you and hope it works out easily. 🙂

  • 💙

  • Thanks for the reaffirmation in the thoughts I’ve had but wasn’t completely sure if they were accurate ! 🙂

  • Not sure what year this article was written, i wish i had read it years ago for it has uplifted me. You see I’ve been beating myself up for my mistakes and this article confirms i have not done so bad. I think i do all these things! And i do like my sons!
    I just wish they would find their happiness sooner. I think they are stagnating. I love to read from moms with no daughters like me too.

  • I do all the things you talk about. I have a loving 18yr old who leads a relatively charmed life with just me( his dad died last year from cancer) but all he wants is to be gone from home (relatively palatial even) with his friend. No. He’s not gay, but I think the pull of marijuana is strong though. I feel like I have to beg him to be home with me. Makes me feel dissed, alone and not respected.

    1. Lynne, first of all, so sorry you are having to be a single parent at this point. That is so hard. The truth is, at 18 your son is an adult. It is healthy and normal for him to gain independence. Is he a student or does he have a job? If he lives with you then there is no reason you cannot set rules about his lifestyle (marijuana and other unhealthy/unproductive choices he might make.) He is at an age where he should be using his time to become a man. Encourage that. And you need to have your own life — friends, work, service, whatever you can find that fills you up. It is important that we moms let go of our boys and do not hold on too tightly! I wish you all the best.

  • I was looking for Christmas Birthday party Ideas for my Teen son and stumbled across your article on google…… I just left the house a bit frustrated with my sons attitude and thought I better read this and so I did…… as God loves to show of in a sunset or moonlit sky reminding us of his presence, he also did in your article. Let me just say your advice was wonderful and so timely …. let me just say my sons name is Josiah and he will be turning 15!!! Coincidence? I know not! Just God’s way of showing me he hears my prayers and knows our names<3
    I am going to school to be a Christian counselor and I question my self at times when I’m at a stump in my own home… but because my heart and eyes are set on Him, He always brings some wise words for me and reminds me we are not perfect but his Grace is. We just learn, love and move forward.
    Thank you and bless you.
    Mayra Valenzuela

  • Thank you Monica for this positive article. I needed this right now.

  • I loved this! as a mom of 7 children with six of them being boys, I can relate. Our oldest is 18 and is about to move out but I know God’s got him. Thank you so much for this article. Pinning it!

    1. Wow, that means a lot coming from a pro! 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to comment! aloha-

  • Thank you so much for this amazing post!!! My oldest son is 11 and he is also the oldest from his cousins so I really don’t have anyone to go to for advice on teenage years. This will be something I can come back and reflect to.

    1. So glad to hear that! Glad you found the post. You might like to sign up to be notified when I am closer to launching my book, Boy Mom, which will go much more in-depth on all things raising boys (and teenage boys!) Find the signup here; https://monicaswanson.com/my-books/ Much Aloha to you!

  • 🙌🏼😭 This was such an amazing and perfect post for my season right now. Thank you thank you. So glad I found you on Pinterest!!

    1. Glad to see you here!! 🙂 Hope you subscribe and keep in touch here!! Much aloha!

  • I am not loving being a mom to a teenage son. I do not have a support network, and my son is all I have. I am single. He has some mild autism/aspergers type symptoms since he was a toddler. Since he was 12 I feel I’ve gone between being his personal assistant and a tyrant. He has gone from being the most adorable, sweet, joyful child to completely ignoring my existence and being disrespectful. That is, unless he wants something, like being taken out to eat. It’s impossible to treat him how to treat other people and his future wife if I give and give and he gives nothing. I’m very tired of this and discouraged. Even the dog is stressed out. :'(

    1. Amy, I’m so sorry to hear that you are struggling. I have found the teenage years particularly challenging with Autism, even high functioning. My son is 13 and he thinks everything I say to him is critical. It can be my tone of voice or word choice. I did find that working towards a goal with a highly gratifying reward was motivating for him. I have worked closely with his psychiatrist to keep an eye on meds, too.

  • My sons are grown, in their 40’s. My best years with them were their teen years.Each son had his own interests, I respected their differences. One was a reader, the other athletic. I went to lacrosse games and drove to play practice. Always kept communication open. We lost their Dad at age 46.It was tough,but we still have the bonds of their teen years. Oh in their teens they want to do their thing. Like a little bird on a branch, let them go so far and they come back. Love them. Don’t criticize, listen to them. Never comment on their choice of girlfriends. Set boundaries for your home.Give them chores, teach them how to do their laundry. Sometimes you have to push them to become the men that will make you proud. Other times you cry with them. They grow so quickly. Teen years are bonding years, don’t let those years get away from you. They are the best. You may not know it when you are going through it, but you will for a long time after. I wish I had those years to do all over again.

  • I would think this article would come AFTER you got through the teenage years……I think you will have different advice once you experience teenagers in allllll thier glory!! Lol
    I’ve raised two (25&23) & now a 9 year old… I’ve definitely learned from my mistakes.
    Good luck & well wishes

    1. Thanks Lola! 🙂 I agree, experience does teach us a lot. Though the article was written a full four years ago (my oldest is now 19), and honestly I wouldn’t change a whole lot as far as a simple list goes. I am, however, writing a book now called Boy Mom, which goes much more in-depth into all of the things I’ve experienced and learned through research and other’s experiences as well. I love this journey! Hope you’ve had a good one too.

      1. I would love to read that book!


  • My heart is breaking. I am tired of crying. My 18 year old son is stressing me out so bad. I feel like a bad parent. Help please

    1. I’m praying for you Sandra. Sorry for what you’re going through. God can do anything. I encourage you to seek some counseling in person and keep hope that things can get better.

    2. Hoping things are better for you. These boys really are hard work, I have two. And if you are getting resistance then it’s probably from being a good parent and trying to enforce some rules or just get treated with respect.
      Surround yourself with good friends and a support network that can be there for you. I couldn’t get by without my friends. And a good friend of mine said you don’t always have to like your kids. After all if your friends treated you as badly as your kids do you would show them to the door!
      Stay strong and good luck.
      Mum from NZ

  • Hey how can a mom help his tennage son feelings for girls !how can she help his son in relationship with girls !

    1. Hey Joshna, that’s a good question. 🙂 I do have a couple posts that might help a little (search for dating and you should find one or two.) Otherwise my best advice is to talk openly with your son, talk about your concerns and make sure he knows he can talk to you about everything. Help him establish boundaries and look for books or other resources that will support that. My husband and I have taught our boys about purity from a Biblical standpoint and helped them understand that it is for their best that they follow God’s design for their life. Plugging them into a healthy church youth group has helped a lot too as they have youth group leaders who they can turn to for advice and support. Hope something in there helps! Let me know if you have any specific questions. 🙂 Aloha!

  • Kudos to u for clearing out doubts in my mind to raise my 19 yr old boy. Almost he iz an Adult now. But love being mom to him.

  • I have been a single mom to my four boys for about nine years now. They are currently 19, 17, 14 and 14. We have made it through poverty, domestic violence, and not knowing where our next meal was coming from. Now – God has us in a season of reprieve from these adversities, and I remain so very grateful. They are the most amazing blessings God has ever blessed my life with. My sons are kind, respectful, hard-working and they are good students, who are kind to themselves and others. I stand in awe of what God has brought us all through. Literally. And of how they are each strong in their own ways. My boys are so strong. My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is whom I give all of the credit to, for helping us through these tough time. Thank you, Father God, for your goodness in my every day life, and most importantly, for my four precious blessings from YOU. If you are reading this, and if you are going through hard times, hang in there. God is good. He will get you through. He will not forsake you. He will teach you and guide you and help you figure things out and heal. He will give you strength on days when you feel like crawling back in bed and forgetting about the world and all of the problems of the day or of the tough season you are in. Jesus Christ is the only reason I am anything. Jesus Christ is the only reason my boys and I have made it through what we have. Peace be to anyone who reads this.

    1. 😔😔

  • Hi and thank you for this post. I have no idea how old it is, but in consulting with my therapist Dr. Google (LOL), this one hit home. My son is 15 and a half and seems like a totally different person than he was just a month ago.

    One thing I’ve read that has really helped me is that boys have a need to separate from their mother as teens so they can become MEN. Along with the general desire for independence, they begin to see their mother’s imposition of rules and restrictions as somewhat emasculating. This is why, I believe, my son seems to be gravitating much more to his father (we are divorced) and more distant from me. ALL of your advice makes sense. I am working hard now to be less of a dictator and more of a negotiator – to make sure he has a voice that is heard. At the same time I think it is really true that deep down they want and need to feel safe. How to do this? I look at it like bumpers at the bowling alley – to give him the freedom to wander/dream/try new things, but still provide the parameters in which he is allowed to do all these things. I think it’s also important to collaborate with the father if he is available to them, so there is consistency in boundaries from one house to the other. Thankfully, my son’s father and I have a pretty solid co-parenting relationship, something I thank God for every day.

    Thank you again for your positive and hopeful post, as well as all the comments – nice to know I am not ALONE!

  • I love all of these! And for the most part I do all of them. I just feel like my son is really changing at 14 which is normal, I know. But I kind of feel like I’m losing him. Like he wants nothing to do with me. On top of that he gets nasty and super sensitive over the smallest things. He tells me I blame him for everything and his little brother gets away with murder. Not true. I just want him to be kind to me and love me still lol. I get on his nerves which is fine. My mom got on mine too. I want to spend more time with him but I know I need to do things with him that he WANTS TO DO. Unfortunately his days are spent mostly playing video games. That’s what he likes. What activities do you partake in with your boys?? What are some special bonding moments I can make happen here? Any ideas would be great! Thanks so much for taking the time to post this stuff!

    1. If you partake on these video games u will quickly notice they will partake with you in other stuff. Some of the funniest nights weve had are my 3 boys trying to “help” mom learn their video games. Ahortly thereafter we were then a family doing things outdoors and such. They have to know you’re serious about them and spending time…not being a mom. Just for a while be their friend. U can have mom boundaries but play on ur boys level for a bit. Worked for me.

    2. I read your comment and it was almost like you were reading my mind! I am in the exact same situation, Kristin! It’s so hard! I hate that my son thinks I’m yelling at him all the time and quite frankly I feel like I’m yelling at him all the time. Ahhhh reading your comment has gave me some relief that I’m not the only one going thru this. Thank you!

      1. My 14 year old son recently decided that he does not want to come back to my house. He told his dad that he feels like he is being bullied at my house. Dad let’s him do whatever he wants at his house without any consequences. I feel that I am just parenting him but do not feel like I can make much of a difference in his life with only 6 days a month to do so. I have no say so in his day to day life and dad is not very cooperative and would prefer me to just disappear. I am severely distraught and do not want my son to turn our lole my ex. He is teaching him that he doesn’t need to respect women. I just dont know what to do.

  • I aways tried my best as a mother, I am also a devout believer in God and Prayers. My husband and I raised our 2 boys with God’s love, and service to humanity. Now one is 21 and one is 18 , facing their own challenges. I look back and I wished I did things differently. But all that said, do you have any suggestions for now, learn from past and moving forward. The 18 yr old one is finishing High School this year so still at home. He thinks he knows it all and can do anything he wants. I have my house rules and boundaries but when it is broken, somehow he follows the consequences but drifts away or begs for forgiveness and I give him another chance thinking I am compromising because he is older.
    Thank you,
    For Privacy I do not like my name or email be posted

  • Hey monica , im glad i found this i struggle to maintain balance with my three boys and i have a 4 yr. Old girl lol and what you said really helped me to grasp what they need i pray all the time i want to be a great mother but always feel like i fail at it so thanks for your great advice ill keep praying and working harder! 😄

  • I do pretty much alll that stuff my son is 12 and still likes me to scratch his back and arms . Trying to break the laying down with him at night time . Him and I go to the skatepark on the weekends rock climbing bonding thing . He always is open with me cuz I don’t give him attitude and actually listen to his feelings.

    1. Hi Emily,
      You are an amazing mommy to your son. It’s wonderful that you are an open and involved listener to him. As our boys get older and begin to focus more on their friends it’s harder to have that mom-son time. Enjoy every moment with him. My son is 16 and we love our once a week mom-son date. Let me know if you want to share. MariaGuliana ([emailprotected])

  • Hi Monica – thanks for your article, it really resonated with me. I’m an Aussie Mum whose son has just turned 13, and am preparing for the road ahead through puberty! I can see the early signs of change, and just want to make sure I’m being the best, doing the best for him that I can. Will definitely be subscribing to your regular posts. Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much Angela! So glad you found the post and my blog! I am so glad you’ll be around (I love Aussies! :)) Blessings to you and keep up the good work! Aloha-

  • I was drawn to this. I love my son the teen, but he drives me mad. See my precious husband died a year ago, leaving me to sole parent to three children. And within that I lose everything, especially myself. So for a year all of my children lost a mother and a father. But now we are building unfortunately all at different rates. My teen and my 7 yr old fit viciously leaving their little sister and myself lost. It’s all very testing but I will take onboard your words and in hope that beyond the grief and pressure that I can foster an environment where my son the teen can flourish thank you .

  • This is all very true and great advice!

  • Hello Monica, my name is Maria. You are sooo right! Enjoy your son’s, they are precious ! We lost our Precious Son when he was 14 on September 2nd, 2015. Seth had just started the 9th grade and was running on the track with his PE class when he collapsed. Seth had a stroke! We never saw this coming! Seth was starting to get better in the hospital, and then he had a second one 3 days after the first. He was taken into surgery to release the pressure. We lost Seth 3 days after surgery. This has been a nightmare we never wake up from! So yes, yes, yes, enjoy every second with your teenage son’s. We miss him every second of every day. Please just enjoy all the times you get to spend with them, even the hard days. We were not able to share all the precious moments with our Precious Son. We have also been blessed with Seth’s amazing friends. They are all sooooo kind and have included us in all that they do. I can see why our Precious Son Seth called them all his ” Best Friends “. Seth is our only Son, our only child. Thank you for your words. I hope everyone with kids takes your advice, because it is so very important. Maria, Seth’s Mom

    1. Thank you for such a touching post and I’m sorry for the loss of your son. You are a kind and giving person to share this with those of us who need the reminder that our children are precious and more important than any perceived problem. I will do better after reading your post. Thank you! Sincerly

      1. Hi Maria. Im so sorry for the lost of your precious son. I cant imagine what you are going through every day. I thank you so much for sharing your story. Its a great reminder for me not to take my children for granted. And spend as much time with them. God bless you and your husband and he may help you heal your pain. Regards
        Moe Palu

    2. Dear Maria, we don’t know each other, but was researching teenage boys for my daughter, & fell into Monica’s story & then stumbled upon your so very sad story about Seth. You have my heart felt sympathies. I think the point I’m trying to get to is that my grandson is 14, 1st yr of high school and starting to get out of line so to speak. He has ALWAYS since birth been absolutely the happiest, most personable, most polite, smart, respectful and much much more child I’ve ever seen. I’ve always told him he would be president some day & as grandparents do, I spoiled him also. He was born on 9/11 & I’ve always told him there was a reason for his special bday.
      Lately, been so upset, frustrated,and just over all disappointed in him because of his actions and poor choices he’s making, my daughter is also feeling this way, and so trying to figure out how to turn him back around. She’s a good mother, a single mother, but has always been a very good disaplainarian as well as making sure he has what he needs and I believe to much of what he wants, but that’s not my role. As I think about and research teenage boys looking for answers that may help my daughter with her son.(since I just had a girl) I read your story and have to say that I am inspired, because even tho I wasn’t going to give up on him at least I STILL HAVE HIM & HE’S STILL With us. and now so much more determined to get my grandson back to who he really is and can be.
      I never THOUGHT about Life w/o him, only How ANGRY he’s making me & HURTING himself as he breaks my heart watching him do these STUPID, Absolutely the opposite of the way he was brought up.
      I now realize how much worse it could be after reading your story. TY for sharing, how hard it must of been and always will be for you. Breaks my heart when I see how life isn’t fair for some reason, yet I believe that God has some sort of reason we just can’t understand. I’m fortunate that (as bad as it looks) for my grandson right now, it’s better than not having him in my life. I hope I didn’t bore you with my story, I guess I’m reaching out, venting, and I wanted to lyk how much you opened my eyes.
      Sincerely, Linda

  • Hi Monica, it’s 3:30 in the morning and after crying myself to sleep I soon woke up and found your article/blog. I’m a mom of a 19 year old son. He is grown up to be a fine young man. He is a sophom*ore in college, involved in a fraternity and is living in a house off campus. These past 2 years have been so emotionally difficult “letting go”. He has come home for fall break and I feel so detached from him. We have bickered this weekend over stupid things and he leaves tomorrow. I feel like I’m just out of his life now. Less in common. I have done what you said in your blog regarding staying home for him and always letting him know I’ll be here for him. Maybe that has worked for him but it has been so sad for me. My husband is battling cancer. Stage 3 but closer to 4 colon cancer. We thank God for our Christian faith. It seems like my son doesn’t want to come home this coming summer. He mentioned it this weekend but doesn’t want to “talk” about it now. He said he could easily continue working through the summer and stay at his house. This news broke my heart. I feel like he should come home b/c is dad may not have that much time left . My son has so many years to live on his own Why rush it now? This time is so critical and I want our family to be together as much as possible. Am I being selfish for feeling this way?

    1. Diane, oh I am so sorry for how things are at the moment…it is so hard to wrestle with feelings like those, (and they are legit.) Bless you. First of all, I think your son is dealing with a lot of feelings at the moment and you need to know that your relationship is not over…I have a strong feeling that this is stage that you will look back on. it is hard to trust that, but trying to force a close relationship right now could just push him away. I encourage you to pray and get busy with other things and really trust God to bring your relationship to a good place in time. I think at 19 this is super normal (I sense hints of it in my 18 year old,) and I think the more light and open-handed you are, the more your son will be drawn back to you. As for his decisions about next summer and all of that, pray about it and wait on it. Your son is probably really struggling with his dad’s health…much more than you know. You communicate well in writing, so once you’ve processed your feelings (and gotten some rest) I really encourage you to write out your thoughts to your son. This might be a better way to communicate. You also much take care of yourself, find things that fill you up and a support system. You are surely being drained with your husband’s health and as well (I’m SO sorry 🙁 ) but I will pray for you and I hope you’ll keep me posted. This too will pass and one day you will have a full story that may have some pain but will turn out for your good and God’s glory. 🙂 XOXOX

    2. My brother was a sophom*ore in college when my dad was dying of cancer, (and I was a senior). Then a few years after my dad died, our mom got diagnosed with breast cancer (in remission 15 years now), but both times my brother had a difficult time being at home. With my dad’s illness, my brother never was quite sure how to be, he was quiet and withdrawn which isn’t like him. With my moms chemo and surgeries, I took her to surgery and did what I could (she’s incredibly strong so she didn’t need a whole lot), but my brother couldn’t be there. He’s a strong man now and great dad, but I think young men/teens just deal with very tough things more quietly. My son is 9, though, and that’s why I’m personally here. I know nothing yet about raising a teen, lol. But just wanted to share about my brother in such a similar situation. He and my mom are best of friends now, so just hang in there.

      1. Really good advice, Karen. Thank you for sharing that. And I’m glad you’re here — I hope you too find some encouragement and community here on my blog! 😉 Much aloha-

  • I found a letter in my son room saying he hates me because I’m allows fussing and he’s trying to be a good kid.

    1. So sorry Chris. Those are hard words to read, but keep in mind kids say a lot of things they don’t really mean. This is a great opportunity to talk to your son though, bring it up and maybe you can work through things. It’s great to hear he is trying to be a good kid–that’s huge!! Open it up, and talk about it. This may be one of the best things that has happened between you.

  • Good evening…. I’m a mother of a 16yr old (a week shy from his 17 bday) and we are butting heads tremendously the last 1 1/2!!! Which is really hard for me because up until then we were really close!! His entire attitude has changed!! He is back talking and just don’t want to do his chores. He has really changed and I first I blamed it on his age and hormones but it hasn’t improved. I’m not a strict mother at all. The only thing I ask him to do is keep his room cleaned and clothes off the floor in his bedroom and bathroom, cut grass and take out trash. He tells me “I’ll do it in a minute ” and that minute never comes until it turns into a huge argument and then he tells me he has it so bad and none of his friends have to clean. The things he says to me hurts me tremendously and I don’t know how to deal with him. I feel the years previously were the easy years and the last 1 1/2 have been awful!!! There are times he tells me things and share things with me. But as soon as I tell him to do chores or he is in bad mood the arguments and disrecpt starts!!! He use to be the sweetest and most loving child. He is my only child and I’m at a lost! I’m been in deep prayer about this and if you have any advice please give it!!! I don’t want to lose my son! He is my world and I want out relationship to be mended. HELP

    1. Oh Dina-So sorry you’re going through this. I can’t give too much specific advice since I don’t know you or your son, but it does sound like a respect issue. Have you sat down with your son at a peaceful moment and let him know how it hurts you when he treats you that way? I would always start with communication, and sometimes that is best done with a mediator (counselor, etc.) Also, as long as he is in your home, I would attach a consequence to rude or disrespectful behavior. Speak to him firmly and let him know that he has been out of line and it is time to change. It is for his best and you deserve to be treated well. If you lay down the law, often they rise up and respect you more. You might remove privileges or find some firm consequence to give. You are in charge and at this point it doesn’t sound like he’ll change if you keep taking it. Hang in there and please keep me posted. Aloha-

    2. Hi Dina,
      Usually kids in this age dislike direct orders, they also do not accept suddenly made plans. It would be wise to make a plan in advance and remind him at the accurate time. Look out for a time when he is in a good mood and try to strengthen friendship with him, making him know surely that you want the best for him.

  • I love this article… it helps me a lot. I am so confused now and don’t know what to do with my 13 year old son. Actually raising a son is not a new to me because I have a 19 years old college boy. A lot of mom especially my friends envy to me because I raised him very well, he is a consistent honor in school, good looking, very polite and everybody likes him. A total package of a young adult. But my 13 year old son is half opposite, he grown up rude, don’t listen to any suggestions, when he was a baby, he cried a lot and I am very stressed of him. When started schooling, he didn’t listen to me when i teach him lessons. And people always compared him with his older brother, yes he is not good looking, thin and always in a bad mood. He will not give you a smile or even say sorry if he did something wrong. He is just an average student in school, while his brother got a lot of medals and merits in school. He don’t receive even one. Now I really don’t know what to do to him to at least gain him a self confidence. I am in a family that good looks and excel in school is matter.
    P.S. I’m planning to send him in modeling and peraonal development school. His hobby is reading books.

    1. Hi Dayrel,
      Some kids are so sensitive that any simple matter may make them anxious, the brain in this case stops reacting to the situation to ease itself, which gives the others the impression of insensitive person. Such a person is twice unfortunate.
      Back to your 13 year old son, I felt from your post that he is repeatedly being compared to his brother (this thing is destructive to any child), and every child is different from others (always keep this in mind) . This child must be having other talents than achieving high marks and medals in the beginning of his student life. He may become even better in the coming years.
      Use your motherhood sense and let him discover that you love him, not his achievement.

  • I am a widow. I have a 16 year old son. I have tried to keep him busy during summer by enrolling him @ the away camp @ the ymca for 2 weeks & another week of a day camp which ended yesterday.He sure has become a totally different boy.Reading your article helped me a lot. Yes, I agree , I am a strict parent and your article makes feel very guilty about it. My son has been bugged by a gal from his camp texting him endlessly and I don’t know how to react as he is being invited to visit her @ her house & am not sure if this is an ok thing or not.Many things are going on in my mind !! I have explained to him that he was still too young to date a gal right now…Am I wrong to tell him that??I have no support system anywhere & its hard!!! But I have no complaints !!! Just trying to read and get advice from other similar parents who have sons & are raising hem well. I have so much to ask you!!!! Thank you

    1. I really enjoyed your article about what teen boys need from their moms. I have three daughters 29,26 & 20 and a son who will be 13 in September. I have daycare in my home & there are no boys in our neighborhood his age. He doesnt have any friends except one boy he rides bus with. He did do some things w/that boy in begginning of summer. My son is a bery quiet boy. He plays baseball in spring. He likes playing on his ipad! But i make him help with some chores around house & read & he plays out in backyard. He was kind of off today-seemed upset. Well after talking to him i got out of him that he is sad he doesnt have anybody to hang out with😢 He is a good kid & a good student. He got along with other kids on baseball but just never clicked with any one kid. Ugh my heart is so sad for him!! I am going to call the youth director ar our church &
      See if he has any ideas of who i could hook my son up with. I think youth group is only for high schoolers. Anyway i didnt know if you may have any ideas for what i could do to get my son a buddy to do things with. Thank you for your time!

  • I have read blogs, and maybe I am missing the ones I need, but my 15 year old sophom*ore came home with a neck full of hickeys, and NEEDLESS to say, I was a raging freaking lunatic! I am a single mother, and when I say single, I mean single!! My ex would have high fived him and possibly asked for the TMI details!!! My son has seen me struggle. He knows I got pregnant with his sister by the same father at 16 and by 17, a mom! He came 8 years later!!! He is a fairly decent student and is a shining star on the high school baseball team and football! When I saw this and exploded with W****T****F is that?!!? He said me, “calm down mom.” Are you kidding me? I demanded to know who she was, where she lived, etc… I simply told him to eat his dinner, go to bed, and we would talk about it in the morning!! I know what this age is like, but for Pete’s Sake, come on!!

  • Hello Monica,
    Im.a single Mother, been divorced for 6 years… my ex lives in the same town and has been a huge let down to my kids and myself… put him through med school late in life, he decided he didnt want to do anything , so he is a loud know it all that does nothing…very embarrassing for all of us …we divorced 6 years ago …
    My daughter just turned 18 and my son 16 … he and I were always closer more alike, he has always been so sweet and personable, in the past year it has changed … they dont see their Dad a lot ,but he has been more often in the past few months …
    He is becoming opinionated, rude to his sister and lazy… not the same boy … not wanting to get up for church … just seems mad , sometimes sad … I try not to do the talky talky Woman thing, but it’s hard… I want to help him through whatever it is he is feeling and dont know how …
    I feel this is coming from spending more time with his Dad and his bad attitude…
    He has always told me he wants a good step dad like other kids have… I haven’t dated because I didnt want to bring the wrong man into their life … I have been very Blessed with both of my children …
    Maybe it’s time he sees a good man talk to me / treat me the way I and or any woman should be treated ? I have met a wonderful man , that would show him this … I feel he is needing to see a good man in action , maybe this is what he is truly missing ?

    1. Just make sure that man is what YOU want, as well. Your son will see him through your eyes. If this wonderful man becomes your son’s stepdad, that means he is also your husband. Your husband will be in your house a lot longer than your son. It is important your son knows what a good man is, and that not every good man is perfect for every good woman. Hopefully this wonderful man is that perfect man for you.

      My wife left me many years ago, and I found a wonderful woman. I am showing my two young sons how a man is supposed to treat and respect women. She is helping to show my two young sons what a good mom is and how a woman is supposed to treat a man. Mutual respect, and open communication, is what they are learning.

  • When dealing with your preteen son’s, did your husband ever feel Like a third wheel?

  • I have ALL BOYS, triplets that are 16 and a 14 year old. They think I’m mad all the time. I get up in the morning and I’m already upset because someone left the ice cream out or the refrigerator door is open. Im already yelling “WHO LEFT THE ICECREAM OUT” first thing in the morning. When I get home from work, I notice the front doors wide open with the Ac on or my silverware is in the driveway! Seriously, I have tried and tried not to let those things bother me and it last about a day. My boys are so sweet and loving to me and I wish I could be the mom that spoke in a soft voice. My work and friends never see me angry and my kids only see me angry. I’m surprised they still hug and tell me they love me daily. I know I’m lucky and I hate I let those things bother me, but I just can’t seem to let it slide.

    1. Malinda–You are not alone. Many moms feel that their kids get the worst of them, and it is a really yucky feeling. I do believe that you are a good mom, doing your best, and that your kids see that and know it. But because it obviously bothers you to feel the way you do, I encourage you to make a few small changes that might add up. We can get stuck in a rut of dealing with things a certain way, and even if we don’t like it, it is comfortable because it is habit. So change things up by doing one or two things different for the next week. It often just requires a bit of creativity. For example, maybe call the boys on the way home from work and ask them to do a sweep through the house/driveway to make sure nothing is left out, doors aren’t open, etc., and ask them to do one extra helpful thing to surprise you (wipe the counters, turn on soothing music, whatever would bless you.) Try something new and see if it helps start a new pattern of behavior. And take care of yourself as well– it sounds like you are carrying a very heavy load.
      Many blessings to you–thanks for taking the time to comment. xo

      1. My name is Nora and I have a 14yr old son who I do not allow to date and I don’t want him communicating with girls on the phone even though he says they are just friends we are followers of Jesus I just feel like it’s temptation he told me he dosent trust me

        1. Nora, I understand it can be hard, but you probably need to come up with a compromise. Your son needs to feel you can trust him, and you should trust him unless he has proven otherwise. It’s ok if he cannot date, but I think if you refuse to let him interact with girls it may eventually backfire. You want him to keep talking to you about things so I encourage you to find a compromise and a place where you can give some freedom and see how he handles it. Keep me posted! 🙂 aloha-

        2. Nora, Jesus talked to women. He had a special friendship with Mary Magdalene, who was not exactly an innocent teenage girl. You provided 14 excellent years of faith based upbringing. You helped build his moral compass, now let him learn how to use it. Your son needs to learn how to use those teachings.

          Instead of preventing him from talking to young girls, I think you should encourage it. This is the best time to ensure he knows how to respect and treat women. Let him have girls over as friends, and passively monitor his interaction. Praise him when he treats them with respect, and provide guidance when he needs to do something better. How do you expect him to know how to treat women if you don’t let him learn? He can only learn so much through observing your examples.

          He can’t earn your trust if you don’t let him. He will find a way to communicate with girls, whether it is in front of you, or behind your back. It will happen. Allow him to do it with honesty. Let him show you how much he actually listened to you. I suspect he will really surprise you.

          1. great advice! 🙂

      2. Great advice.

    2. I have that happen all the time. It’s Like Saying the Same Thing Over & Over Again. I say breathe. I count to 10. I feel like It’s a Huge Puzzle Every Morning. 😂😥😥😥😥😥😥😥😥😥😥😥😥😥😥
      I have House Rules That No one Likes To Follow.
      I’M LOST!!!You name it I’ve tried it. All house rules. Prizes & etc.
      It is bad as the Cabinet Doors, Bathroom. CURTAIN Opened, Food * Trash in my 12 Year Old Room.
      I just took my 12 Year Old phone.away again for Not Cleaning his Room the way it Should be done. If my 12 Year Old can Make the Mess he Should Be able to Clean it.
      I’M Totally Clueless About Rasimg my almost 13th son.
      At times I feel like I’m going to have a nervous Breakdown along witb my Anxiety.
      H E L P this Mama Out PLEASE

  • Wonderful, and as a mom and teacher I agree with all. What teen boys need most from a mom , though, is a dad; to help mom enforce the above points. As a singe mom, I just know you can really find out how limited you are when you don’t have the dad there, when the dad is not willing to do his part. A mom who has to be both a mom and a dad can’t make lists like these happen in daily life; they become much more tangled, and acquire a large number of footnotes! So, for single moms, on top of that list is the task of providing a father figure either within extended family, church, school environment, anyway possible, just don’t miss that point. Otherwise, that void WILL be filled and not always the way you would wish it. Thank you for the great post. Wishing you the best.

    1. A fathers role is very important one, especially for a teenage boy. I feel sympathy to each single Mom. But, think it this way, running alone upside a hill is difficult, but running it up with someone pulling you the opposite side is even more difficult! Isn’t it?

  • Love this post. Such a great list. Thanks

  • My teenage son is 3 months from 16, and I admit it is tough. I will follow every step you suggest, he tells me ‘things’ but I know there’s more he would like to say but he thinks that I dramatize everything, which, yes, I do, but I want to protect him with all I’ve got. Please give me some more advice, so I don’t push him away.

  • I’m a male that is 22 years of age. I wished when I was a teenager, that my mom was actually there for me but she decided to move to Utah, marry someone, have two more kids, and divorced and broke up with the guy. Before all that, she decided to take my brother who has autism and moved a total of 8 times with him in a total of 2 years and my dad got back custody of him.

    So we both were living with my dad and he was the one fully proving for the both of us while my mother was too busy handling the two other sisters we had so she couldn’t help out financially, and emotionally either. Luckily enough, my dad was (and still is) a top welder for a company and there paying him very good so we didn’t need to depend on food stamps or anything like that.

    I was longing for a mother figure in my life and so I bonded with two of my middle school teachers who helped me with my meltdowns ( I have Asperger’s). They helped me emotionally and mentally whenever I had problems since my dad wasn’t good in those two areas. They came to the high school every two months or so and we ate lunch together and checked to see if I was doing ok.

    Even to this day still they provide that for me. Just last week we went out to dairy queen, chat and they both encouraged me to go through with attended a technical college I was looking into doing to get into a good trade I would like since I finally have my car and driver’s license. I’m looking into plastic engineering technology and or electronics technology.

    It’s just sad that my mom decided to make both me and my brother’s lives harder for us in our teenage years and she wonders why we hardly talk to her that much anymore. I wouldn’t have a problem rekindling my relationship with her but she has a long way’s to go before I would ever trust her again.

    1. Thanks for sharing that Seth. It sounds very hard- I’m sorry you had to go through it. hugs

    2. You have made your way through life in a very responsible and confident fashion. Maybe if your mother had stayed with you it wouldn’t happen. You should be proud of yourself and a help and ideal for your brother.

  • Hello,
    My 10 year old has told me if I get remarried he doesn’t want me to have sexual relations. I told him that is part of showing your love to your spouse. He wanted me to promise I wouldn’t .
    What is going on in his head about this and what do I tell him ? Thanks !

    1. Taylor–I’m sure it is quite normal for a ten year old to wrestle with his understanding of sex and feeling possessive of his mom. I’m not an expert on these things so I won’t try to give you an explanation, but if you feel there is real confusion or deeper issues, I always suggest you talk to a trained counselor or therapist. Otherwise, I would assume this will get better on its own over time… 🙂 Much aloha and all the best to you-

    2. Have you recently separated from his father? The reason I ask is because when I separated from my husband, our 11 year old son should completely freak out and throw a huge fit if his dad would so much as look at another woman….even on tv!

      1. *would

    3. Hi Taylor, He is aware that sex happens between adults. If he feels open to talk about it, ask him what he thinks about sex and what his understanding of it is. Show him that you understand and appreciate his concerns for mom. Explain to him gently that intimacy is something special that God created and blessed only married couples with and that it makes God happy to know that the couple can share this gift with each other, that God gives to them. This might open a deeper conversation, but also helps him to see it in a different light. Try using the word intimacy, if possible.

  • Thankyou for all that advice-my twin boys are literally just begining their adolesence- already at times it can feel quite difficult they are almost 12 -but patience,Gods love and perserverence always seems to win in the end!

  • What a teenage boy needs most from his mom?

    I quickly thought the two most important things I provided my son were:


    They want you there (at home) whether they are home or not. They want to know you are there when they get there. They want you there if they need to talk or not talk. They simply just want you there, present and definitely not on social media.

    Faith provides a moral compass. This compass is particularly critical during their teenage years. I have witnessed the lack of faith in other teens who seem lost, like something is missing.

    I was a single full time working Mother, so I was not always able to be there. However, I learned quickly our time with our children is far to short. My son Brock is 27 now, and we talk or text most every day. I could not be more proud of the man he has become, and I look forward to the day he can enjoy the gift God has blessed all of us mothers with . . . our children.

  • I loved this. Thank you so much for sharing!! I wish I had done this with my 20 year old when he was a teen. I did not have as much patience, but have learned.

    1. Thank you Shirly! I’m sure you did your best with your son…can’t look back. I do appreciate the comment. (and most of us could use more patience! :)) Aloha-

    2. Me too! They all sound so perfect🤔😭

  • Hi,
    I really enjoyed reading your post. I am the mother of two boys, thirteen and five.
    At this point I’m having a little trouble connecting with my teenager. He loves to talk to me and I him. Lately all he wants to talk about is negativity, like war. He’s constantly bringing up Isis, terrorism, Hitler, etc. I’m constantly telling him that I don’t like talking about it. He has become a Debbie downer, lol. Sometimes I get so worked up inside I want to scream, cry, and run away. He talks about the the most depressing topics. I try to get him to talk about more positive things but he usually goes right back to being pessimistic. Am I overreacting? Please, I am at my witts end. He is a very anxious person and worries a lot. Do you have any suggestions?
    Becky Wheeler

    1. Hey Becky, Thanks so much for taking time to comment here. Sorry for what you’re going through, and let’s hope it is a stage…:) (Often at that age it is!) My first thought is where is he getting all of these thoughts? Is he taking a class where a teacher is focusing on world events in a super-negative light? Is he hanging out with friends who are obsessed with this stuff or reading something on line? I think you need to know the root of it. One thing with the teenage years is they are really trying to become adults–and teens tend to pursue adult things uniquely–some will experiment with “grown up things” (alcohol/smoking) others will try to be ultra opinionated–showing that they have a mind and can think for themselves. Perhaps your son is really trying to assert himself and this is part of him finding a mature identity. I don’t think there is anything wrong with you setting boundaries. Maybe he can find a safe place to “talk world affairs” (like in a class that focuses on that?) or for a short time with you. Then you can require him to put that on the shelf and find balance through being focused on other things. You can require him to read articles on great men or women of history who show the positive side of humanity, or great things going on in the world now. You might show him Youtube videos of kids with special needs and the love that people have for them. What I’m getting at is his world needs to be expanded and then his heart will follow. Is there a youth group you could get him plugged into? Any service projects or volunteer programs? Sports? Positive hobbies? Sorry, long answer, but I do believe that YOU are the parent, and YOU can direct him even throughout his teenage years. Let him know that his feelings/opinions matter, but life is more than all of these things and enough is enough. ALSO NOTE: If you feel like this is on the side of obsessive or dangerous–I would absolutely get him to a counselor. He may need to process his thoughts in a safe place, and be evaluated by a professional. If you see any signs of extreme/dangerous thinking — anything that could hurt himself or others — by all means, get him help! 🙂 All the best to you.

      1. Hello Monica,

        My husband and I have a 13 year old son, my husband is my son’s step father. My son is an only child and he is in Middle school, 7th grade. He is around adults a lot and is mature for his age, however, sometimes is kinda quiet, not shy, but quiet a little. And it is hard for him to put into words to express him self, even when it comes to something simple. How can we get him to talk to us?

        1. Hi Xenia–Thanks for commenting! 🙂 All kids have different personalities, and it sounds like you are in-tune with your son’s. For some of us (like me) who love to communicate, it can be really hard when our kids are not the same. We need to accept it and let them process things in their own way. But if you feel that he has things to say but just cannot seem to do it, I would have an open conversation about that. Ask if he would like help figuring out how to open up more. Usually I would just suggest returning to conversations enough that when he is ready, he might just one day open up more. 🙂 But you might also suggest he try some journaling–some kids work though their feelings best through writing. Of course if you have a serious concern you might consider getting counseling or talking to a professional. Some deeper issues are hard to get to and therapists or counselors can be super helpful. All the best to you and let me know how things go, ok? 🙂

          1. Hello Monica,
            Thank you for getting back to me, I really appreciate that! 🙂
            Thank you so much for your advice, I guess I am a type of mom who wants to communicate and you are right, it is difficult when your child is not the same. And you’re right, every child has different personality traits. Samuel is one a kind! 🙂 I will talk to him about maybe writing things down, we have had him write down things before and I’ve noticed he seems to express himself better that way. But we have not had him do that on a regular basis. I guess it is easy for me to forget that maybe he just needs time to process things. Is this something I might need to encourage him to do even when he gets to be 14 years old and so on?
            I will ask him if he would like for us to help him figure out how to open to us.
            Growing up in my home, I am the oldest of my sisters and we are three girls! My parents wanted to have a boy, so they got three girls instead. So I’ve never dealt with boys, and this is my first time and first time having a teenager. He’s not a bad child, he is very loving and sensitive kid, who has good intentions. I have contacted the Youth Pastor at our church to connect him with a mentor.
            Thank you so much, I always enjoy reading your posts, they are very good! Will keep in touch!

          2. That’s actually great advice, To be honest I was raised by a single mother of 2 . It was really hard for me to communicate w/her growing up. I couldn’t tell her how I felt or what I didn’t like. That’s when I started to write my feelings down and it helped me so much I felt a relief in a way also I would doodle in my journals As a matter of fact I still have them and I’m 25 now. I still write down feeling, goals .
            Great advice and thank you !
            You made me remember a special way of communication that worked for me !❤️

          3. Thank you for sharing your experience. I think writing can be so therapeutic! Keep it up — never stop writing! 😉 Blessings to you –

        2. Boy’s respond “open up” during physical activity. Take them out for a bike ride, roller blade or do whatever physical activity they like to do. They will begin to talk during this time. I’ve done it and it’s like magic!

      2. Hello. Just wanted to say that your advice is on point. I, too, have a teenage son that is very in tune with world happenings and he always seemed to focus on the negative. It has been a long road. we got him involved in youth group, really talked to him about what interests him and got him involved in that as well. But most importantly, we had to understand that he was talking to us about the world to maybe make sense if it in his own head. Let him talk to you. He is probably very opinionated about it but let him get it out. You can insert in areas that you need to but he will appreciate that you placed importance on what he is saying. As time goes on, he will learn to also listen to your point of view and why things are not as negative as a teacher, media, etc would have him think. It is slightly painful to listen to but it has helped us grow closer and opened his eyes to other points of view.

  • This was an Amazing piece. I can appreciate your words of experience and can relate. Thank you for sharing and confirming I may be on the right path ;).

  • Dear Monica,

    I kinda have a question about my 17 year old boyfriend and him being a momma’s boy.
    We’ve been together for a while now and i’m at a point in my life where i have to move out and find a house myself. (I’m 18)
    My boyfriend is not aloud to sleep over at my house i am only aloud at his house and he is a major momma’s boy.
    He kisses her on the lips, lays on her lap when i’m sitting on his, hug’s her way too much in my opinion and always chooses her side.
    I told you i was moving out because my boyfriend wants to sleep over everyday of the week because he is at age but he is not aloud.
    I don’t know what to say or what to do…please help.


  • I love your writing. I so am needing to hear these words. I am feeling like I’m losing my son to his friends. He has one that he thinks is “iT” and it scares me a little. Other good friends are being pushed aside for this one . I don’t want to squash his closeness with me and Dad by restricting this friend to much, although we have a plan to ween him out a bit gradually. He is a good boy (ha 14 Yrs old) and we have always been so close. He does have a wonderful church backing and activities there are so wonderful. I am feeling a loss in my “MOMNESS” hard to explain but your advice really touched me. Thank you Monica

    1. Hey Jenni–Thank you so much for commenting and sharing a bit from where you’re at. It sounds like you’re handling things well, and some honest communication is always the best route. You can talk about balance and the importance of keeping perspective with friendships and always staying close to family. He may or may not show that he gets it, but in time I think he will. 🙂 Just remember that you are the parents and you do have the right to set boundaries, even on his time with friends etc. Keep up the great work! And I promise–your son will always need you! 🙂 Aloha-

  • Thank you for your positivity and for including your faith in a graceful way! It’s such a bittersweet yet critical time to begin to give them wings.

    1. Thank you Keri–I appreciate that so much. Much aloha-

  • My oldest son just turned 16. Eek! My youngest son will be 13 in May. I have often wondered if I’m doing things right, even though they are excellent students and athletes and genuinely good boys. This article showed me I’ve been on track, not always perfect or even close, but on track.

    1. Of course you’re on track, Lisa. I’m sure you’re doing amazing! Give yourself some credit and try to just enjoy this time. The fact that you landed on this blog post shows that you are genuinely trying, and that is more than most parents out there! haha. Keep it up! Aloha-

  • Thanks

    1. You are so welcome, Terrie! Much aloha – 🙂

  • Thank you this means so much for me, I have 3 boys and sometimes I feel desperate. They are 6, 2 an 1 year olds.

    1. oh you’re so welcome Adriana! You’re at a very challenging season. Hang in there and keep smiling and parenting well and the good days will be ahead! XO aloha-

  • Well written. We are Christians too and that can make these years easier and harder at the same time. My son broke down crying yesterday when we approached him about some issues with grades and then just clammed up and wouldn’t talk at all. He’s generally very silly and creative but deep at the same time. Two years ago, he was on fire for God and asked to be baptized by our youth pastor…. Now, I can see he’s really searching to figure out if this whole Christianity thing makes sense or not. He’s made a lot of friends from the public high school who genuinely seem like nice kids but I doubt any of them share our faith. My sister has raised her kids in church every time the doors are open, Christian school…. And we’ll see. But I don’t think that’s the real world so we didn’t choose to be so strict but it’s scary. Your kid starts bawling when you ask about why his grades aren’t good and he won’t talk. You don’t want to exaggerate but there’s drugs, depression/suicide, sex, pressures of getting good grades, hormones in general. Hard to know when to give them space and when to get nosy. There’s always prayer. Been doin a lot of that!

    1. Thank you Carmen…Oh yea, sometimes it is hard to get them to talk, but I encourage you to keep those doors open and don’t quit reaching out. It sounds like he has something going on and he just isn’t ready to open up. I suggest you take him for a walk or do something that involves movement and less eye contact…that often allows a boy to open up more. You’re wise to be aware of all of the concerns but yes with prayer and consistent communication I think you’ll do just fine. Hang in there momma! Hope you stick around and keep me posted. 😉 ALoha-

  • Thank you for strengthening my reins. No one should have to do this job alone, do you are my partner now. God bless are babies

  • I am a Christian Mom of a 15 year old boy and I don’t enjoy it! He is so mean to me and mad all the time. I am trying to do your 10 things, but most of the time in ends in my tears and him yelling! I’ve prayed a lot too! I need a miracle and healing for my boy! Please pray! Thank you!

    1. I will pray. So sorry for where you are with your son. I encourage you to seek help — find a counselor or someone you trust to talk to. Perhaps you are too close to the situation to see clearly…Hang in there and do not give up! Aloha-

      1. Thanks for prayers! I am seeing a Counselor. Take one day at a time right? 😄

  • Thanks Monica for the advice. I’m a single mom with two boys ages 17 and 19. It’s terribly hard and challenging. I too am a Christian and try really hard to rear my boys in a manner fitting as such. I failed miserably as the boys got older taking them regularly to church after I was divorced. It’s been almost 10 years now. My ex and I share custody 50/50 and we both lay the law down pretty good on them but my ex lacks the kind of patience, love and nurture they really need. He now has a live in girl friend which I do not agree with and he doesn’t put the boys first in his life. I feel I am going to blink my eyes and they will both be gone tomorrow. One issue I need help with right now is, my 19 yr old has a major cursing problem. He knows it offends me terribly and I constantly remind him not to do it around me. I also remind him that it is a horrible habit that will affect him both personally and professionally if he doesn’t curtail it. Do you have any advice for me?

  • I enjoyed reading your article and will try to remember what youve said but its hard. I have twin boys that are 16 now. One has aditude with me and the other doesnt. Ive found myself not wanting to interact with the one with the aditude. My question is, “when does aditude cross into disrespect? I feel like its the same thing

    1. Than you Yolanda! I am sorry, and I know every kid is different and having twins is probably a great way to prove it! 🙂 From your question I think I can safely guess that your sons attitude is one of disrespect. If it makes you not want to interact with him, then it likely has crossed the line. I encourage you to address it and not tolerate disrespect or bad attitude. Set a standard for him to rise up to and he will likely do it. Much aloha, and all the best to you!!

  • I have a 15 year old son, and some of his friends have just got their drivers license. I loved your part about boundaries, but also freedom. That is a fine line and I’m struggling with giving him freedom to drive places with his 16 year old friends and telling him “no”, because I’m worried about the things that can happen with a 16 year old behind the wheel. I don’t want him to lie to me about going places, but if I say no, I’m afraid he won’t be included and feel like I won’t find out if he makes a poor choice. Any advice?

  • God only knows I’ve messed up enough in every other stage….
    as long as you did your best, that was enough mothering.
    Doubt any child is seeking for a perfect mother/father. Just a caring, attentive one.
    So please give yourself a break…. and treat yourself kindly.

  • What a valuable post! Like you, I have four sons (and we threw in a daughter for good measure). Unlike you my sons are now grown men, ranging in age from 31 to 41. I heartily agree with these eleven guidelines and as I read, felt proud that I adhered to most of them. Today I reap the rewards and my sons fill me with pride as I watch them parenting their own kids.

    1. Oh that makes my heart so happy to hear!! Thank you Rita for sharing! I love hearing from those of you who have gone before me, and come out alive and well (and proud of the boys you raised!) (And a girl!? Oh wow….so great!) Much Aloha– 🙂

  • I really like this article. It sounds so easy written down, but I have made many mistakes already and feel it mite be too late for my son to know how much I really care about him, how I want him to be open, to talk to me if he needs to. feel he has absolutely no respect me and thinks I am all over him. I have given him a lot of freedom already. To let him know I trust in him.
    I do get involved in his passions.
    I only returned to my faith two years ago, so I did not raise him in the catholic church which I regret deeply.
    I am a single mother who can get overwhelmed easily. Stress and anxiety are my two best friends.
    I want to do a good job raising my son, so he can be a great man in the world.

    I hope what I am doing makes a difference.

  • I’m glad I’ve found your blog. You give great advice and I love that you are a believer. My husband and I have just gotten custody of our 13 year old nephew. He comes from a place of no boundaries, no rules. So we are struggling with how much to reel him in. He plays video games all the time. (He’s on his phone all the time – games/social media) and I hate the music he listens to; I don’t mind rap, but what he’s listening to is vile. How do we set boundaries for a kid that has had none?

    Thanks for listening!

  • I could not have read this post at a more perfect time! My son is 13 and has always been close to but recently has gotten stubborn and isolated (not too extreme) but also if I punish him by taking his phone he sneaks and takes mine or his step dad’s at night while we are in bed instead of waiting to be ungrounded. It has really bothered me and frustrated me, I have prayed hard . There are moments he is still that little boy who hugs me and wants his mommy then there is that teenager who wants to do what he wants to do and I have 3 other children and sometimes its hard to keep the patience and understanding of what he needs….just him! I need to really make more effort to reach out more to him on a personal level instead of all of them together so he knows I still see him as an individual.

    1. Oh thank you Rena–So glad you shared that, and so happy to have you here! 🙂 You’re absolutely right–13 is such a tender age, I hope you can keep working on that balance between firm boundaries and connecting points! Much aloha and please keep in touch! XO

  • Thank you so much for this article. Many times along the way I have wondered where I went wrong. I have 2 daughters with my son son in the middle. I have a wonderful bond with each of then, but there is something extra special about the bond between mother and son. He is joy bringer, a rock, my advocate, my shoulder to cry on. I believe that he has been able to be those for me because I have been those things for him. He comes to me when he needs advice, guidance, or just to vent. He always has. He is 18 now, and is heading into the Marines to start his own life I am so proud of him. And it feels so good to read this article and be affirmed that I have been the mother he has needed. Thank you. I needed that.

  • Acknowledging dads in the post script only seems more dismissive and divisive than eliminating them entirely from the article. Anything and everything written from what parenting skills momma should provide applies equally to what dad should, can, and does provide. Perhaps you’re thinking that dads rough-house more but I know mom’s that do that. Perhaps dads throw footballs but again I know mom’s that do. There’s no reason to discriminate between moms and dads in terms of what kids need. Dads can provide emotional support as well as moms stereotypically. Dads can provide all the things on this list, as it happens. Open this up to what parents can do to sort their children thru teenage years, not just moms, and the article reads more cohesively.

  • Thanks! I need this forum! My twin boys will be 13 this Sunday. They are so different. I need all the advice I can get to raise them to become moral men.

    1. Oh so glad you found this place then, Marie! Hope you’ll make yourself at home here! 🙂 Much aloha and keep in touch as those boys make their way into this next season. 🙂

  • I love this and my 3 teenage boys! Thanks!

  • I have 3 teenage boys in the house, 16 & 15 & 13/5 (apparently the half is important). I loved your words of wisdom! It’s funny how I can connect with a complete stranger. With my boys lots of love (even if they don’t want it). Lots of boundaries (even if they think I suck!) Lots of encouragement to try new things, be respectful and kind to all people. Lots of encouragement to follow their sporting goals (I am their biggest fan) and to always strive to do their best. Oh and lots of food!

  • You also need to make talk time a no boundaries, free pass so they WILL talk. They also need to know that you trust them and that you are sitting on the sidelines, ready to step in when they want or need you to intervene. My boys are now 18 and 16, they still talk to me about anything and everything.

  • This article is great. I would like to add Having an open door policy. While raising mine I would routinely “hide” in my room. Sometimes it would be to read or sit in silence and sometimes I knew something was feeling off in my home. I would say I was going to be in my room for a bit if anyone needed me before super. More times then not someone would come to talk about stuff. Others just needed a one on one moment without a sibling to sit, snuggle, or hang. Many times super was late cause we would be goofing in my space, wrestling, cracking jokes and being silly. These were some of my favourite times. I raised 6 amazing adults. 5 ladies and 1 young man who is turning 19 at the end of summer. From time to time they call or stop by just to down load just to have a loving ear/heart hear them.

    1. I love this Rhondi! Thank you so much for sharing that! 🙂 And well done — that must be quite a great feeling knowing you’ve raised 6 amazing adults!! Aloha. 😉

  • I only have boys as well, one will be turning 16 and the other is 11. I love them so & who they are becoming. I am glad to see that I am not the only one who does these 11 things. We too are careful of what we watch and no swear words at our house either. I was raised on these 11 principals as well as others from the Bible. My Mom taught me how important these things are like being a good example and guidance etc. My boys are a gift from God and I have been truly blessed.

    Your post was well written and written with love. Thank you for sharing.

  • I am a single mom and my son lives with my father. I’m being patient however I don’t know if my son’s distance is just being a teen or has he become ashamed to be affiliated with me permanently. My parents have given him everything, sent him to private schools so on. I appreciate this but I don’t know whether or not he considers his financially poor mom to be a person he wants nothing more to deal with or if this is just a stage I will have to be patient? Have I lost him forever?

  • I really appreciate your valuable and thoughtful advice. I am having a difficult time as my boys are so in to sports and I am not the biggest sports fan. My husband shares the love of sports with my boys and I do enjoy watching sports IF my sons are participates in them (ages 14 and 10). What activities can I incorporate into our lives that may get my boys enthusiastic about the Mom/son relationship? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • Great reminders!! I get so busy with “life” and teenagers are so independent that it’s easy to let a day go by with no hug… Sigh. Thank you!!

  • Wonderful to see some attention given to boys…… with all the pressure on mothers to ’empower their daughters’ and the media attention to ‘women and minorities’ it’s refreshing to see someone giving a helping hand to an ignored group in our society. Good boys make good men who help make a good world.

  • I am a christian. I don’t know how to entertain my son anymore, because he won’t let me. I am a single mother. I like to find things to do with him. He likes them video games. He spends to much on them.

  • Thank you. I so needed to read this. Very helpful even for this veteran mom of a daughter, but so naive to this man child I am raising. Thank you again.

  • Thank you very much for your advice!! This is totally true and very helpful. Sometimes we need a little hand and this is just the great advice. My son just turned 14 and and is a type 1 diabetic, going through those mood swings and we have to be the strong ones. Love them no matter what !

  • My teenage boy dont listen me and misbehaving with me ..I treat him as you say above…he sometimes hit me if I force him for anything..i am confused please help me

    1. Kajal–That does not sound good at all…No son should hit his mother. 🙁 I would suggest you seek help where you are. I wish I could help more from a distance, but I cannot help in the way you need. Find a counselor to talk to–I really think you and your son both need the support. All the best to you and do not accept this as normal…There is hope things can change but you must seek it out. Much aloha to you-

  • I whole heartedly agree with this. My teenage boys are amazing. One thing I struggle with though are my 2 teenage step sons. What are some things I can do to get them to open up and trust Me? Especially the one who resents me.

  • i sure folks have mentioned this, but teenage girls, too. I would have given ANYTHING to have my parentals connect with me this way. This is how we (my husband and I) react to all of our kids, since birth, because we never received this.

  • This was so good to read. So far I have two teenage sons with three more to come. I only had sisters growing up – boys still feel like somewhat of a mystery to me. I’ll be coming back here to read this again.

  • I loved everything you said. Sometimes we forget to do some of those things. I would like to add also not to get too caught up in just reading about how to be a good parent that your so busy reading about it, you don’t have time to actually do it! Live in the now with your family. Make time to just hang out. They grow up so quickly that before we know it, they’ll be off living their own lives and we’ll be wishing we had spent more time with them.

    1. Delwyn: Amen!—Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

  • Hi Monica, thank you for sharing such a wonderful article on a very much needed subject for me. My elder son is turning 12 yr old next week , I can already see him changing since few months in lot of different ways. Every kids is differnt & so as the mom. But as you said if we as a parent try to understand them well even more than ever then it will be lot easier & fun being around them. I got answers to lot of my doubts after reading your article…… thanks a lot 😀

  • My son just turned 17 and I feel I ha e failed.. He will not be graduating on time next year.. I’ve done everyt possible beside quit my job and sat with him every min of every day.. He never ever follows through with anything. He’s Every open with me and we have never had a problem talking but when it comes to school ugh!!!!! I’m a single mother of 4..

  • Ok i have a very serious question for this type of parenting. I have 3 boys and 1 girl my oldest just turn 14 on the april and my youngest son is going to 5 on july 2. I was not really around when they were younger.. Stupid reasons on my part. Ok my question is this how do i act towards my oldest due to the fact of him bieng molested by his grandpa on his dads side.. Now hes mad at everyone but the person he should be mad at. Ive already got justice for this man.. Even after that hes still very defient and i really dont know what to do.. I am very open for any type of advice or positive critisim on how to react to his anger issues ive offered counsling but he denies it says he doesnt need it.. Im so confused please help me out

  • Don’t know wht doing wrong ..hve twins boys 15…good boys…they stay wit ther dad and I have them on weekends. And Tuesday.. Want talk to me short with me..sometime I call want answer or text back… Broken heart need help

    1. Hi Atiska — Sorry for your struggle. It is hard when you have to divide up the time with your boys…it means you must be creative and really use the time you have. Perhaps you can do something fun that they really enjoy and then ask them for twenty minutes to just connect and talk together. Let them know you love them and care about them and ask some good questions (not interrogating but lovingly) and just reach out to connect. Keep talking to them, keep praying for them. In time they will see your consistent love and support. Sometimes when they’re teens you just need to be patient. 🙂 Hang in there!

  • Good words, even for mothers of girls – some other, more specific needs for girls, but generally, spot on…
    Thanks for your time and recommendations!

    1. Thank you so much Leslie…Glad it all applies to girls too. Much aloha for taking time to comment and all the best to you! 🙂

  • hi! Love this post. Thank you for sharing. I don’t have a teen boy. In fact, I have the opposite… A toddler boy. I read your post anyway because I am a little curious about the future. Gotta say this guide is as applicable to a tot! From boundaries to showing interest to expressing forgiveness and laughing a lot! End of the day it is all about growing together at every stage! Thank you for sharing!!

    1. Amen! Thank you Kathleen for commenting. Enjoy that tot and don’t blink — he’ll be a teen before you know it! 😉 (And now I sound like an old lady! haha) Aloha-

  • Wow , Jesus brought THIS to me today. Thank you for your words.

    1. Oh so happy to hear that Lisa!! Much aloha to you! xo

  • Hello!
    I’ve been following your blog for just a bit. I love it! You do a great job. I have a lot of similar interests so it’s always interesting, helpful, and refreshing. I’m sure you are too busy to answer this but if there’s a moment in your busy schedule…..

    My husband and I have 5 kids. (4 boys and a girl) We own several restaurants and we are thinking of taking a 6 week family sabbatical. If we were to take our family to Hawaii, which island would you pick? The boys would love to try surf lessons. We love hiking. We love coffee-maybe visiting a coffee plantation would be nice for my husband. He roasts his own beans when he has time.
    Again, no pressure to answer. Just thought I’d pick your brain for ideas. I’m reading up on the islands but it’s a little overwhelming. Thank you!

    1. Hey Pam! Thank you so much, and of course I have time to answer! (also, lucky you with the girl in addition to four boys…wow!) The hard thing is all of the islands are amazing. It’s hard to narrow down a specific spot. Most families seem to be drawn to Maui, and I am also a big fan. Oahu is great, but unless you like a buzzing city, I’d stay away from Waikiki and try to find a rental house on the north shore (where I live, not biased at all, haha) Kauai is incredible for more country/less crowded places, though I don’t have much info on which areas etc. If you have friends who have spent time in Hawaii and who know your family well, I would definitely ask around. But the bottom line is: You can’t go wrong! As for coffee: We do have more coffee growing here on our island all of the time, but I’m think the big island and Kauai would be your best bet for exploring the Hawaiian coffees…Though be warned, your husband may end up wanting to transplant…haha! Much Aloha and keep me posted!! xo

  • what a wonderful and encouraging post! So well written. My Son is 14 and we are finding our way but it’s so encouraging to know that I do a lot of these things already – by Gods grace! Thank you for sharing xx

  • I Really enjoyed reading this I have a 14-year-old boy, My only child,seems like just yesterday he was 2, he is fortunate to have a great dad,when he was younger it seems he and I spent all of our time together and lately I just have a really hard time getting him to open up to me. Your article was very helpful. My mom n Dad moved in with us about a yr ago, my Dad had early onset Alzheimer’s and I think him watching my dad deteriorating so fast really put a lot on his shoulders, my dad was definitely one of his heroes! He passed away 3 months ago at our home? I cannot get him to talk to me at all about my dad? Even when we were telling funny stories and happy memories he walks out of the room he seems to be very isolated lately? And he is just 14 so on top of everything I just want to handle things right!I being a teenager is very confusing on top of everything else! One Thing you mentioned that I really loved I notice a lot of times Jordan wanting to show me a video on YouTube and I will tell him to hold on a second I think I’m grieving myself I really need to pay attention to small things, and I usually do but when I don’t I find myself feeling guilty. Time passes by so fast. Ty Amanda

  • hi…
    i’m an 18 year old girl … i’m practicing from years to be a great mother from now till i have a child once because my mom doesn’t care and it made me to care about it.
    i have stupid problems with my mom … she doesn’t work and she’s always at home but she doesn’t cook anything for me and i always eat junk foods and whenever i tell her that i’m hungry and i want dinner or lunch she says we have eggs in the fridge go and make something for yourself … i really hate this … i’m the only child and nobody cares about me … i’m just happy wirh my friends and i’m always argueing with my mom … she doesn’t even listen to me and she always blame me … she has never played with me even once when i was a little kid … the only thing that i remember from my teen days is my tears and my cryings… please whoever is reading this please care about your child … make some times for him and talk to him … leave him to have his own privacy … i hate when my mom checks my phone … be open-minded … don’t make them to be who you couldn’t be at your teen days and make them feel free and fresh … don’t argue a lot … when they wanna show you something please watch it don’t be like my mom … i know she did valuable things for me and i love her so so so so much but as you said “nobody’s perfect” but that doesn’t mean that you have to make lots of mistakes and try to be perfect 🙂💋

    1. Hi Sindy! Thank you for taking the time to comment, and I am so sorry that your heart hurts. I am proud of you for wanting to learn about relationships and I am sure one day you will be a great mom. I love that you see your mom’s positives even though you feel hurt as well. I’m glad you still feel love for her. I really encourage you to just talk to her about how you feel. Tell her how much you love her but about your feelings too. It’s good really that she checks your phone because it shows she cares about you (even if she handles it in a way that makes you feel frustrated.) Ask her specifically for some time together. Try to reach out to her more. Meanwhile, you can know that God loves you and you can talk to Him anytime. I pray that you will grow up strong and make good choices. You have the whole world ahead of you! 🙂 XO Aloha!

  • My son is a “man-of-few-words”, just like his handsome father. But, this can be a challenge for me to understand what he is dealing with in his personal life. So I tried a method of communicating that my girlfiends and I used in highschool. Instead of passing notes to each other, we had a spiral notebook we’d exchange between classes. Easier AND how awesome to go back and read the chronologies of our social lives!!
    I started it with my 13 year old son. I wrote a short sweet, note explaining the purpose of the notebook. Low and behold, he wrote back. Almost immediately we were discussing personal heart issues. It’s given this boy of few words a safe place to talk about anything. Hope someone else finds this to be an open door for them and their son.

    1. I love that Debbie! Thank you for sharing. I might just try that with one of my boys in particular. 🙂 Much aloha!

  • Thank you Monica! From a mom with 4 boys too.. I needed to hear this today!

    1. lol.. I didn’t think my previous comment posted! Oh well 😉

  • Thank you Monica! As a mom of 4 boys too 😉 (It’s so fun isn’t it?? And humbling at the same time!), and similar family/life philosophy this was exactly what I needed to hear. Our oldest is 14 and we’re definitely learning as we go with the whole “teen” thing. Even though we are on the exact same page with all the things you listed, it’s nice to know someone else is right there too and to be encouraged when you’re constantly wondering, “am I doing this right??” With tears in my eyes, thank you! I needed this today.

  • Wonderful read. I too have a teenage son and this is just I needed to read. Thanks. It makes a lot of sense to me.

  • Every point you made here is true for teenage girls as well!

  • I’m a mother of 2 boys, elder one is 21 and younger is 17, but his attitude with his elder brother sometimes is very rude. They are friendly otherwise, the only problem is that if elder boy speaks something to tell him, he cant take it, and talk badly and rudely, whereas my elder son keep quite as he dont want to fight. Earlier this thing often create lots of tension between the two.
    I get very upset on this and he just don’t listen to me regarding this, even after he cools down.
    I really dont know how to handle this. This upsets me . As i feel he dont have any respect for his elder brother.please help..

  • I would add a strong faith base. Help them realize that there is a force greater than them and this will follow them into young adulthood as they begin to make bigger life-changing decisions.

  • I read through your articel and for some reason it made me tear up. I really like the the heartfelt approach you take! Its nice to know that there are Moms out there who do love their kids in the right way , so they can (hopefully) become responsible and mature adults. Lovely read – thank you.

    1. Thank you SO much Eva! That means a lot to me. Sending aloha and a hug! 🙂

  • I enjoyed your words Monica! Every inch of your list are things I strongly believe in; and truly DID when my two boys were elementary age. Last year they turned 13 and 16. (I started a business.) They changed and I did too. I was really proud of the level headed mom who WAS their “safe place to land” 24/7. Your post was a wonderful reminder (stand for something,..fall for nothing. Be open.)

    I have never posted a single word, or photo. This is a first. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for the picture I will carry forth of who I am. What your doing here are the seeds of change. I’m sincerely grateful.

    1. Thank you so much for commenting…it means a lot to me! 😉
      Love hearing the positive story of how you did pour into your boys and have no regrets! I am sure the season ahead will be a good one! Aloha-

  • Loved this! So uplifting and on point. Lots of great advice!

  • LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! Thank you! Sharing with all my fellow mommies! You rock! xoxo

  • The thing I’ve found with teenage boys (I used to teach them too) is that boys will often open up to you when you are doing something shoulder to shoulder, not face to face. So, they aren’t going to probably sit down over snacks and divulge their deepest feelings. My oldest son is 17 and pretty stoic, but if we work out in the yard (which he likes – go figure!) or around the house together he will open up and talk about stuff to me. He gave me the greatest compliment the other day, He said, “Mom, you really listen to me. I know when I tell you stuff you haven’t already made up your mind – you are really listening to what I’m saying.” 🙂 He has quite a bit of freedom. We are doing something crazy. In preparation for college, we’ve been pretty hands off as far as rules go. I ask that he let me know when he’ll be home for schedule purposes, but we are letting him be the captain of his ship in our little pond so when he sets sail in the larger ocean next year at college he’ll have a few choppy days under his belt. 🙂

  • My 2 teenage boys live with their dad. I would love to spend more time with them, unfortunately my ex husband isn’t allowing me to see the boys. I have been fighting with him for almost two years now for court ordered visitation. After mediation he only allowed me to see the boys once a month for a span of two months. Once school started he had stated that their education was more important. I agree that their education is important but they have days off school so I am continuing to fight for what I believe is the right as a mom to be time with my children on the days they are out of school.

    1. I’m so sorry Kate. That must be an awful position for you to be in. I hope that you have some solid support on your end, and you can handle things with such integrity that the court would see your side…I haven’t dealt with this sort of thing personally, but my heart goes out to anyone who goes through it. Hang in there! aloha-

  • Hi Monica! This was an encouraging read! I have a preteen boy and a 4yo boy, and I wonder Every.Single.Day if I’m going to do this all right! It’s blogs like this that give testimony that I (we) will get through this. We need to start changing this world and making it wonderful again…. and my goal is to start with my boys. This was an awesome article, thank you!

    1. Love your heart Meo! Keep it up…we can do this!! XO

  • Thank you so much for this! I have a 12 year old that is out of control with his behavior. I have been in a constant battle with my husband whom doesn’t agree with me on my parenting style. Recently I asked him to look up both definitions boundaries and security. His quick comment was”where do you get this crazy stuff?” He puts my intelligence down all the time. But today I want to thank you for confirming my thoughts!!!! Thank you for uplifting me today! God Bless you!

  • I raised two boys who have become wonderful men, husbands and fathers. Our motto at our house was, “Keep them busy and tired!” and for the most part, that worked. Plus we always ended up hosting the after-school crowd which we nicknamed the Cheese Club because they started out just eating cheese and crackers and moved to eating practically everything in the fridge, but that was a small price to pay. The first time I came home from school (I was a high school teacher) after my younger son had gone to college and there wasn’t a crowd of teenage boys eating snacks, drinking Pepsi and shooting hoops, I must admit I teared up. Those are great memories.

  • Love your blog!

  • I am having issues with a 15 year old boy. He is not my biological son, I have only been in his life for the last 2 years. I find your information very helpful but I am struggling. He reminds me daily that I am not his mom. I tell him that I may not be his mother but he is my son and I love him very much. Do you have any advice on how I can get close to him? I try to joke with him, set boundries, i try to have convwrsations with him. He wants nothing to do with any of it. He pushes ever button, refuses to listen, acts childish, walks away from me….and so on…. PLEASE HELP

  • How can I have fun with my 13 year old without spending money. My son don’t talk much he pretty much spends most his time on the computer, iPhone, or video games. Just about most of the time I have to have money just to spend time w/ him. I blame my self for that. When he was four he was attacked by a dog and everything just changed. It was the most awful thing I went through w/ him. Ever since that day I feel so guilty like it was my fault. So every time he ask for something I buy it for him. I don’t think I ever told him no. When I do tell him not he won’t talk to me or he’ll get mad, so I feel guilty about the dog attack and I give in. Ever since that day I feel like I hurt him if I can’t make him happy & he’s upset, but all these years I had the money to buy him everything & now I don’t. I want a relationship w/ him to where I don’t have to spend money. Is it to late to change what I done wrong all these years?

    1. Sorry Rebecca, sounds like you’ve got yourself in a tough one. My best suggestion would be to be very honest with your son. Let him know that spending money does not equal love, and that you regret how things have gone. you might even be honest that you have struggled with guilt, but that that isn’t the best way to deal with it.
      I would be firm and loving. Let him know that you want to spend quality time with him, that you need to create stricter boundaries on games and devices because you love him. (It’s not healthy to be raised without boundaries in those things!) Communication is key, but you need to be the parent and quit operating in guilt and fear. All the best–

  • I have 5 kids, four girls (18, 16, 16, 11) and a boy (14). I’ve screwed up countless times over the years, of course. The past year with my son has been especially hard– he’s often very angry. But, I try to remind myself of one moment with him that made me feel like a really great mom. A few years ago, he came into my room and we started just chatting. Out of nowherenowhere he asked, “Mom, what’s masturbation?” I calmly answered and the conversation went back to other things. My response was good, but I was ecstatic that he felt comfortable to just ask me such a tough question. Now, when things are hard, I just try to remember he does trust me. All I have to do is keep giving him reasons to keep trusting. I am so in love with this wild young man! <3

  • I absolutely loved this! I am a single mom with a son, he’s only 9 right now but the years are going by so fast, the teenage years will be here before I know it. Thank you you for this…I know it will come in handy when the time is right!

  • My teen son is very negative and judgemental. He didn’t learn that from me. Though I have my days, I’m mostly very positive and upbeat and until the last few years I raised him solely on my own. I try talking to him about it but no idea why he is that way. They won’t always learn by example.

  • Thank you for this, I love it and needed it! My son will be turning 13 in less then 2 months.

  • I LOVE this post! As someone new to the blog world and about to enter into the world of parenting teenage boys, it was reassuring to read that you have not had huge struggles. Right now, I feel somewhat lost but all of what you said makes real sense. I loved that you added the practical rules that you have in your home in addition to the “big ideas”! Angela

  • This is perfect for me, being a single mother of a teenage boy. Thank you very much. Now I don’t feel so alone out there any more……

  • Loved your post. I too have two boys, but mine are still young. I totally agree that investing in them now will pay off later. I’m establishing an attitude and environment of, “tell mom anything, I want to hear it all, even though I might not like what I’m hearing, I want to know.” I am learning how to love them both fairly and according to their love languages. It’s so fun watching them grow to be godly young men who love God and serve him even at a young age. Thank you for your words of encouragement and insight!

  • I have 4 sons and was touched a couple of days ago when my 13 year old son told me “thank you for your prayers mom”. I knew he was having a hard time starting a new school and I told him that I was praying for him. Thank you for the article and God bless, Monica

  • I have been rasing my two Grand children since they were babies. The question I have is on the last one I have left. A boy fourteen, he’s a good young man, helps me a lot, since I’m seventy. What I have trouble with is letting go, more with this kid. I guess I get scared, because of how my own son had freedom and ruined his life (he is this teens Dad). I’m afraid of the bad influences out there, he has never gave me any problems, other then the usual teen stuff. He tells me he is never going to do drug, drink, he doesn’t want to ruin his live like his Dad and mom did. I trust him, it the other kids and influences he will come across in his first year of high school. Can you give a old lady a few word to help? PS. His older sister gave me a lot of problems, some like her parents did. She’s doing better now. But she had to grow up fast, she has a Daughter. In school, going to be a doctor, has 4.5 grade average. Thank you so very much.

  • Thank y ou so much for this. I have one son in college and another in 9th grade. Teens…they really need listening ears. And it really takes hours to listen to their stories. And when i cut them, they feel bad.

  • I loved this I have two teenagers and some days I think raising them is the hardest thing ive ever did but it also is such a rewarding accomplishment at the end of the day. I have to say I thought thos was beautiful and so helpful thanks for sharing

    1. Thank you Sheila! I’m so glad you are enjoying the ride…the ups and the downs! 🙂 Aloha

  • As a mother of 3 boys I absolutely loved and agree with your article. Two of my boys have successfully made it thru the teenage years (20 and 22) and my third will become a teen in December. As all of your points are true and important, the 3 that resonate the most are boundaries, direction, and example. Especially that I divorced during their teenage years these 3 things became especially crucial since it was their mom that they lived with and spent 98% of their time with. I found that setting an example of what a woman should be (how you dress, speak, act) and the people who you surround yourself with were very important aspects of the men they have become. They are hard working, they respect woman, and they choose the people they spend their time with wisely.

  • I completely agree with everything you wrote. Most importantly for my kids and I is communication and feeling comfortable being able to tell me anything without worrying about the consequences. My husband and I have a great relationship with both my son and daughter and love your list which reminds me of the little things that mean so much. Thank you!

  • I wish I had posted stuff like this when my boys were teens… Parents raising boys need to help each other, early childhood was a no brainier, but teen & young adulthood was very difficult. I have good men, but I often wonder what-if… Keep this up

    1. Thank you Mary. And honestly, I think the “what if’s” are just part of being a parent…:) None of us are perfect or can cover it all, but yes–I’m hoping to encourage a few people out there to slow down and take the time to do it well. 🙂

  • Great article Monica, I have 2 boys 9 and 11 years old and at times I wonder where I went wrong when I hear complains about my eldest son .
    My wonderful cousin and your great article has hel

  • How much physical touching is too much? My thirteen year old grandson is at times very affectionate to both myself and his mom. He is a type I diabetic and at times feels tired. He loves to lay on the couch and let you scratch or rub his back. Then falls asleep. Is that too much? It’s different in public. He won’t even let you rub his head to tussle his hair. When around friends it’s like grandma knock it off. Confusing? You bet

  • Because of health reasons, we only have one boy who is now 14. Since we live far from both sets of grandparents, every years since he was 2 months old, my husband has allowed us to go to visit both sets of grandparents and whatever aunts, uncles and cousins we can fit in. It’s anywhere from a 12-15 hour drive from where we live to where they live and the conversations that we have been able to have and the bond we have been able to form in those times with just the two of us have been amazing! They are hilarious! And thoughtful and insightful and they tug at your heartstrings so many times in so many ways. The problem I have had with only one child has been stepping back and not becoming a “helicopter parent.” I have had to tell myself over and over again to step back, let him learn, let him make mistakes, let his teacher do their jobs, and be there when he needs me. He is definitely at the stage where hugs and verbal expressions of love toward his parents is not as cool as it was when he was little, but that makes the times that he voluntarily does those things even more heartwarming. I miss my little boy, but am having so much fun with my teen! I wouldn’t trade any of my memories or experiences for the world! Love your blog and posts!

    1. I totally know how you feel Christy! It is so hard/beautiful/emotional…:) Sounds like you are balancing it all well…Keep it up and enjoy him! XO

  • Absolutely love this post!I have 3 teenage boys (and a 10 yr old daughter). It hasn’t been an easy year, and when I read your post I felt challenged and a little overwhelmed at first. But I’m going to keep coming back to this post and start implementing your ideas. Thank you so much!

  • Hi,

    I just read both of your posts about what boys need and while you talk about teaching your boys Boundaries and No, I didn’t see anything specific about their treatment of women/girls.

    I was wondering what your thoughts were about raising men who are caring and compassionate towards women. In the wake of Stupaville, Duke, and countless other instances of young men being sexually violent I think it’s a little irresponsible not to talk to your boys about consent.

  • Thank you so much for not only your insightful information but because of you so many have shared their stories that have confirmed my husband and I are on the right tack with helping to raise our “so called troubled 15 year old grandson”.

  • if i can do all it, i will become a lovely mum in his eyes “)

  • I really enjoyed your article, it was very much spot on. I have a soon-to-be 15 yo son, too and these are the best years! Though it takes some patience to navigate them, I think I love them most of all.
    I want to share one thing I have done, this began back when he was about 8 or 9, was to take a special mother/son trip every year. It gives us a chance to connect on multi levels, but have a lot of fun, too! It is usually a camping trip, but we have also stayed in cabins or hotels. I let him pick the place, he plans almost every aspect of the trip, he gets all the camping gear ready and we work together to set it up when we get there. He makes a meal plan and we go shopping using the list he wrote up. If the location is close to restaurants, we might eat out once a day, he picks the place to eat. If there’s a lake, he plans for fishing and water activities, he has to make sure all the gear is complete and ready to pack, if he needs any bait and tackle, he adds it to the list. But he has to plan ALL activities.
    Biking- he helps put the bike rack on and makes sure bikes are loaded securely, with all tools and extra tubes, tires, inflator, etc.
    Hiking- boots, walking sticks, hydration packs, maps, compass, granola bars, etc.
    Even down to the board games or card games we play at night, he is in charge of every last thing we do. He builds the fires, BBQ’s the meat, washes and roasts the vegetables, roasts the marshmallows or pops the corn. Helps wash all dishes and utensils and is responsible for making sure the fire is completely put out before bedtime. I know that it sounds like a lot, but it entails even so much more! It gives us a chance to bond over working as a team, but he is the team leader. It lets him flex his choices and gives him the chance to show how responsible he can be, because I am counting on him for all my needs and entertainment! It’s a very exciting time for us both, we look forward to this trip every year!

  • Help. I feel like I’m drowning. My son is 16…wow, so hard to believe! He and I have always been extremely close. He always wanted to be with me and hugged me truly all the time until this year. My son seems selfish, moody, angry and hardly hugs me. My heart is breaking. I never expected this from this particular child…maybe my others, but not him. We had a bond that was very unusual…everyone saw it. I feel it’s gone. We are Christians and we homeschool. His father left us when he was 9 years old. He was upset and very hurt, but not like this. He tells me that when he was younger, he didn’t think and now he does and knows how everything really is. I feel he is very angry about his father leaving him and not showing much attention to him, even now. His father barely sees him once a month, it that, and doesn’t call often like he’s supposed to. I pray, but truly don’t know how to help. I miss my son.

    1. I’m so sorry Daisy. I can feel your pain and frustration. My first questions are whether or not your son is involved in a youth group or anywhere that he has a positive male role model you might talk to? And are you in touch with his father…Would there be any hope for counseling in that relationship? Obviously this is a complicated scenario with dad leaving you guys (I’m so sorry!) and now the teenage years have hit..But I also wonder, since he is homeschooled, where he is getting his new ideas that tell him how everything is? Does he have friends or some influence that is feeding him new thoughts?
      Most of all, I will pray for you now, and I am so sorry. I do believe that you if you keep consistent character and love your son unconditionally, that in time he will turn back to your steady, reliable relationship. You might just have to be patient. Hang in there momma!! aloha-

  • Your post couldn’t come at a better time! This has given me a great direction as a mom to a teenager. Thank you so much.

    1. Thank you Ceci!! That is my favorite thing to hear! 🙂 Aloha and keep up the good work!!

  • I know I’m late to the party but I found your blog while looking for teenager advice. I just want you to know how much I enjoyed your post. In fact, I cried at one point! You sound like an amazing mother.

    Thanks. . .and do keep writing!

    1. Wow, thank you Leezah! That truly makes me so happy. I will keep writing, and thanks for reading!! aloha-

  • What a great read! Thanks for sharing. I have four young boys…oldest just turned 6 and younger is almost 18 months! I’m. Not there yet but I’m sure in the blink of eye, I will be! I hope I remember your insightful words and humorous outlooks on this journey. Thank you for your post. I’ll be sure to share and look forward to learning more from you vicariously! Best of luck to you and your family. Thanks again for sharing,!

  • I absolutely loved this! I am the Mom of 3 teenage boys, 17, 16 & 14 (in Aug). I can relate to every single one of these & they are all great! My 17 yr old just recently had a terrible ski accident & he is now a paraplegic. BUT, he has an amazing attitude, spirit & sense of humor. So I figure that if we can get through this as a family, we can get through anything!! We all know there is no book for this. I sometimes feel like they are going to eat me out of house & home too. Not to mention all their friends they bring over! But, at the same time, I love it! Our place is the place everyone wants to hang out & I know their friends pretty well & that is really important too. Plus I also know their parents & have a way to contact them either phone # or through facebook! Another rule I have is if they have Facebook , then they have to add me as a friend. So whatever happens on there, I get to see it!! I’ve had to ask my oldest to take comments off every once on awhile. And he does. Also, nobody has a tv in their room. Well, now my 17 yr old does because of his situation. But that didn’t stop the other two from asking. They always have to try☺ Oh & one more thing I have as a rule in my house. When their girlfriend is over, they can be in their room, but the door stays open & I can walk in at any time, or they can be downstairs cuddling on the couch, but again, we can walk down there any time. And we do, trust me. They also don’t get left home alone with the girls. …ever, I don’t even care if it’s not their girlfriend. You have to use your own judgement because my 17 & my 16 yr old are different. My 17 yr old is more mature & my 16 yr old has done some things that make me not trust him completely, but he’s working on earning it back. Thanks so much, I liked every single one of them! Kim

    1. Thank you for commenting Kim. Your positive attitude is contagious! I am so sorry for your son’s accident, I cannot even imagine what you’ve been through and are now adjusting to. But wow–You sound like you are walking through this season with a ton of grace and an amazing spirit. Bless your heart!! xo

  • Monica, loved the article. As a Navy dad, I missed a lot of time with my kids, especially my son, so when I was home, I spent as much time as possible with both of them. I coached both my son, and my daughter, in T-ball, and was their biggest fan in soccer, etc. I know that I often embarrassed them at the games back then, but now–I’m a 67 y/o retiree–we all laugh about those days. One on the things I learned with them was this one: “Did you give it your best shot? If so, you have nothing to hang your head about!” That applied to school work, drama club, sports, or whatever. I found that it worked out well. A C, or even a D, on the report card was fine, as long as they worked hard to get it.

  • i LOVE this post. I have 14/12 y.o. son and this spoke to me! I’ll be printing out and keeping it close. Thanks

  • S

  • Thanks, for sharing n suggesting such important point. I m finding difficult to bring up my teenage boy.

  • I was 37 when my husband and I had our one and only beautiful son and wanted to give him everything his little heart desired. He is 15 now and has been such a good kiddo, involved in church and band in school and never given us any real trouble. He was always a mama’s boy which I love and he loves being active with his daddy especially in the last 8 years since I was diagnosed with lupus, diabetes and a list of other things that keep me from being able to o to his concerts, etc. I felt like such a great mom until my body betrayed me. I so appreciate this article because it has given me a little more insight into what he needs and why he acts so Moody at times. Especially he and my husband have started to butt heads which breaks my heart and when I try to help they both get angry at me thinking that I’m takings sides with the other. AAAAAAAuuuuugh!!!!!!!!! It’s a wonderful and terrible time all at once!

  • Thank you soo much for this useful article Monica. so much to learn .

  • I’m a single mom of a 17 year old boy. 9 year old girl. There are times I feel so disconnected from him. Where and how do I begin to pull him closer

    1. Oh I am so sorry Dana. That hurts my heart. It is not uncommon, and sometimes it is just a season. Don’t give up. Stick around–I hope to speak to these things in future posts, and I do hope you find some encouragement here. 🙂

  • Hi. I am a mom of 3 boys. My oldest is fixing to turn 15. He is dating our pastors daughter just started a few days ago. I noticed he was on the phone for 3 hours a few days ago till 11 pm. I had asked him to get off the phone and she asked to speak to me and said her parents said she could talk till 11 pm.. I let him talk till then and he was off at 11. The next day they were on the phone again for over 3 hours so I said he had been on there long enough to take a break. He got kind of upset so we had a talk. I told him he needed boundries so I said he could talk 2x a day 90 min and text all he feels like he needs to.. and not past 10 pm.. he told my dad and my dad got mad and said I needed to “let him be a teenager.” What is your opinion?

    1. Tina–Wow, interesting. Is your dad a father-figure to your son? Because I do think you need to be in unity with the other parent on this topic, but otherwise I wouldn’t let anyone’s opinion affect you. Yes on boundaries. (I wouldn’t even let my son date at 15, so you’re already being pretty open I would say.) If you think 15 or 30 or 90 (which is a LOT by the way) minutes is enough on the phone, then by all means, put your foot down. At 15 there are plenty of other things for a kid to do, and even if the Pastor’s daughter thinks it is fine, you stand your ground. (I could say a lot more on this one–but bottom line: You are your son’s parent. YOU be in charge.) Even teenagers need boundaries and at 15 he is a young teen!

  • I have 3 boys. One is in college, one high school, one in middle school. My high schooler definitely pushes the envelope with us. He is the middle child, and was fairly easy to raise and easy going. He is more challenging now.
    The latest things with him are smoking, chewing tobacco and now he wants to purchase a motorcycle (with his money from working summers). Whatever we say to him goes in one ear and out the other. I work in health care and for obvious reasons, I don’t want him to smoke or get a motorcycle.
    All of this causes problems with him and arguing between me and my husband. It’s been a rough year! 🙁

    1. I’m sorry Mary–I can imagine it must be rough right now. I hope you can make some firm rules about what is and isn’t ok in your home (as long as your kids live with you, you are in charge…) and find a way to make some peace. Your marriage and family should not be destroyed by one disobedient son bent on bad choices. Hang in there and I do hope you have better days ahead! 🙂

  • I am a mom of two teenage girls and one son, the middle child. He is 15yrs old now and has recently been found out on his new phone messaging a girl with sexual comments/suggestions. I have taken his phone obviously and he has spoken to a younger, 20 something, gentlemen from his church about this awkward and uncomfortable issue. He refuses to talk to me about any of it. He say I do not listen and I just yell and scream and would just ground him. Yes ilI admit I do yell a lot. I have no excuse other than I grew up that way. I dont know why I do this. I could never talk to my parents either. I want him to talk to me. I have told him this. I am here not to judge him or yell at him but to listen and try to advise him, guide him. I even told him if I feel out of my league with something I will help him find someone he feels comfortable to talk to. I will keep praying on this and reread your article. It jut hit the spot tonight with whats going on with my own son. Try and if you have any more suggestions for me please feel free to email me.

  • At 16 1/2 my son had good grades, on wrestling team, took pride in his appearance, was funny, affectionate, against drugs and cigarecigarettes, played video games..good boy. Got a girlfriend who had a rep at school. In a blink of an eye she took his V, turned him onto pot and other, he quit the team because it took time away from hanging out with her. Woke up one morning to see her in his bed she had spent the night. I said no so he left that day to go to her house and that was it he moved into her house. Maybe this doesnt matter but theyre illegals. I guess it matters because they suggested he dye his georgeous blond hair black and he did. He came back for all his stuff. I was already disappointed to see her wearing all the beautiful close i bought for him at the mall. Im a single mom i practically dress like a bag lady when im not in my uniform (luckily i wear a uniform for work) next time he came home for money she had pierced his lips and his lips were infected, swollen, his hair was black and fried, his clothes were worn. Got to the point that he only came around or called when he wanted something. Recently past 8 months i feel like i have to buy his love. I wondered if that was better

    1. Nothing. A couple of days ago he was emotionally, verbally vicious. He has zero respect or love for me unless im pulling my wallet out. I drew a line. Told him dont come over or call untill he can love and respect me. Ive had it. Ill miss him. He’s 17 1/2 now. I see other single moms with teens and the boys are protective of mom no matter what. Theyre loyal and theres give and take. Weve always gotten along well never argued all his life just a little bickering… i thought we did good he’s on the right track. BOOM it all went to hell over night. I am broken hearted. He doesnt even remember any and all ive done for him bc of the few recent times ive had to say no as hes been taking advantage And i have bills. Im hurt and done and hope someday he realizes how much i did and how bad hes treated me. Maybe he wont ever come back. … any advice?

    2. Oh wow…That is just heartbreaking. I am SO sorry. I’m sure there are a million mothers who can relate, and so many of their kids do come back around and get their head back on straight. I pray that will be your son’s story. Hang in there. Ask for help where you can. Take care of yourself! Keep praying.

      1. Thanks. I pray a lot.

  • Monica I think u know my son chris Rehrer He sent me this for moms day I love your advice God bless Janie

    1. Hi Janie! Thank you, and thank you to Chris for passing that along! 😉 We actually met before–you came to my house for Giselle’s wedding shower! 🙂 Our whole family adores Chris–You have obviously done an amazing job. I should be asking YOU questions!! 🙂 Aloha and God bless-

  • Loved this article … Just want to know what to do about schooling with a teen age son. Especially when your teenage son is capable of so much more but hasn’t the interest to want to do better.

  • I have just read these rules and hope it’s not too late with my 16 year old. He has gone from being a bright, diligent student to doing as little as possible and has also started lying about what he has done at school (handing in homework, attending music practices etc) and often for no apparent reason (he’s done the work and says he’s handed it in but he hasn’t.)

    I just don’t know where to go from here. Any ideas?

    1. Thank you Penny! I would start with some honest confrontation. Taking time to really connect and listen to him. It sounds like something is going on, whether he is struggling emotionally or has some negative influences…? Communication is key. Keep praying for him, and give it some time. Sometimes things work them selves out faster than we think too!

  • we have a few close friends that are more like family. With that said, when I was about 13 the lady I would babysit for was someone I could talk to more then my mom at times. My mom understood it. With that said nothing I said would she tell my parents unless I was going to hurt myself or others. It worked out very well. My son has that bond and I think it is great.y husband is military and is gone more then he is home. So the male in his life are friends husbands that are home. It works for us. Military life with a teenager opens more issues and we as moms have to think outside the box sometimes.

  • My son is 14 thanku some positive advise

  • Great advise!!! Thank you!!

  • WOW!!! So glad I found this blog. Have had the joy of raising two girls, one married now and the other away at uni. And now my son is a teenager!! This has come at a great time, to encourage me along as I train up a teenage son now. Thanks!!

  • I have 4 boys, 2 of which are teenagers. our home is a crazy home. I have 5 kids total, I am PTA Pres, Cub Master, a husband that is gone 12 hours a day, and I work at the Elementary school…BUT the thing I love the most is taking time to listen to my boys. Some days they all want to share with me at once, and some days they don’t want to talk at all. Give them their space and your love, and they know that they are safe at home and can come to your for anything. We have A LOT of practical joking, fighting, wrestling, etc. but at the end of the day, they all know that they are loved and encouraged to do their best.

  • Another helpful tool is the Virtue’s Project. The Language is awesome.

  • Thank you it helps to know, I’m not alone in this situation. Thank you for your wonderful advice!

  • Hi there, i have an 18 yrs girl and a 13 yrs boy, my girl is better now but during her younger teenage years I had a hard time with her, its good that one of my close friends suggested the 5- love laanguages for teenagers, it really help me. my problem is my 13 year old, whenever I ask him to do something he always says STOP to me, its so annoying, I try my best not to yell at him ‘coz it makes my stress meter really high, respect is not there, can you give any suggestion on how to communicate with him nicely.ty

  • Thanks so much for your awesome tips on how to raise teenage boys – especially from a christian’s viewpoint. I have a 13 year old son and an 11 year old (going on 15!)son and even though I have a loving and supportive husband, he seemed to decide out of the blue a couple of years ago that he was an atheist after being a christian all of his life. This makes family life difficult, especially on a sunday when it comes to church. Your words of wisdom have given me encouragement. Thank you.

  • Absolutely Love this!!

  • I liked what you said about being there as much as possible, physically as well as emotionally. When I was a teen I once said to my mom in annoyance, “Mom, you’re always THERE!” She cracked up and still teases me about it. 🙂 Now that I’m a mom I can see how valuable her being ‘always there’ was to our relationship, and I find my teenaged comment very funny as well!

  • wow…thanks for all those words…my son is still only 9 but very very much forward…and our children dont come with an instruction manual…so tried and tested advice is sound to hear…again many thanks

  • Thank you for the advice. I found it very useful for not only boys but teenage girls as well.

  • Praying the scriptures for your teenagers, a wonderful source!

  • I really enjoyed reading this post.ich have twins turning 18 very helpful for me. Thank you for the message. Lily

  • I am the mother of two young men ages 20 and 17. They are the joy of my life! Your observations are spot on. We have always had an open house policy where my sons know they and their friends are always welcome. Often , last minute calls were made and I would be scurrying around to get food, snacks, drinks, etc. it was sometimes surprising the things the boys would converse about while they were all gathered around my kitchen island eating. There would sometimes be as many as 15 young men in attendance. Now that they are off to college, I miss those days but cherish the memories! Sure we had some growing pains and had to know when to”give grace” and gently remind our sons of our guidelines for respect and responsibility but with our past instruction and a lot of prayer, we made it through to a rewarding relationship with two fabulous young men that I am very proud to call my sons!

  • Thank you for the info

  • what should a young parent do when her 15 year old beats up on his little 11 year old brother… scares the sister so much she locks herself in her room when he is in the house… threatens the young brother with death and death to himself.
    I had that question posed to me just this week and it breaks my heart!!
    The 15 year old rants and raves… calls his mom some really ugly names… and has no respect for his step dad at all… randomly goes around the house and breaks things…
    The Mom has now locked him out of the house because of the threats to the younger brother, has pitched a tent with heater so he has somewhere to sleep… but keeps the other kids as well as herself and hubby safe …
    By the way … he turns 16 in August…
    Any advice?
    Thank you so very much…

  • Great post! I can recommend these tips as a professional counselor AND as a mom!

  • Someone once told me that as soon as you teen started High School, you blink your eyes and they are off to college. My son and I have a special bond. He was so lucky to have received his characteristics from my mother who passed 5 years ago. He and my mother were so close. I believe she watches over him too. I am scared of him growing up and leaving. However I am proud of the young man he is today. I just need some encouragement and words of wisdom that life does go on after your children leave home. I want to prepare him for that time also. Thank you for sharing your experience, strengths and giving hope.

  • My twin boys are in their last year of teens now. I sometimes find myself dreading their 20th birthday coming up this September, and all because even though the time it’s here, I don’t want it to end just yet. It’s gone by so fast, all of it. The baby stage, the toddler stage, elementary school, growing up stage, all of it. How did it go by so fast!? They grow up, they are man now and I couldn’t be more proud of them both each in their own wright. The one thing that is so awesome is that I don’t regret staying home with my kids, never, not a bit, and actually all the sacrifice in the would is more then worth being there for my boy every step of the way. I agree with every bit of advice you give here in this article. Right on!Thank you for sharing.

  • Thank you for clarifying that you are going to be getting your Husbands prospective on parenting as well. I was about to completely dismiss you as just another woman that views dads being only good for lawn care and car maintenance.

    All to often in todays society that is exactly how dads are portrayed. Bumbling idiots that couldnt find their way out of a wet paper bag, much less take care of a child. Or worse yet, they are there to be betated and made fun of.

    As a dad to a young son, I strive daily to be the type of man I want him to model himself after. Just as I strive to follow in my Dads footsteps. I talk to him regularly of honesty and integrity. Defending those who can’t defend themselves, and treating others they way you expect to be treated, no exceptions. I am laying the ground work now for discipline. He knows what is expected and tolerated under my roof. He knows what is unacceptable and the repercussions that follow should he cross that line. Laying the ground work to shape a good person starts young and it is a long process. Some have said I am strict with him since he is only 8. But I would rather establish that discipline now at an early age. So when he becomes a teenager it wont be a battle of anything it will be a time of earned rewards and loosening of the rules where he can spread his wings. Or get them clipped to rein him in, if he breaks the rules.

    I also hug him daily when he is with me and tell him multiple times through out the day that I love him. Even in front of his friends. And he fires it right back to me, “I love you Dad!” He knows he is free to talk to me about anything, he knoes I may not like what the subject is, but I wont scream and yell at him or berate or manipulate him for it. He knows that I will always listen. Thats not just a mom thing.

    Dads need to tell their kids that they love them. I didnt hear those words from my father until I was 23 years old. I almost couldnt say them back to him. When that happened, I knew then and there that I would never allow that to happen to my kids. Both my son and daughter hear it from me and they can fire it right back to me with out hesitation and mean it too.

    Kids are a life long project. Even when they are grown, we still worry and fret over them. I am proud of the woman my daughter has grown into. And I oove watching every day I have him, the man my son is shaping up to be. He is still a little boy, but already I catch small glimpses of who he will turn out to be. It is exciting, fun, stressful, and always a pleasure. With Gods help and support from our church, we will be successful.

  • Loved your article! My children are in heaven, oldest son; 2nd son is 33, and a daughter 22.
    Having a son pass on definitely changed our parenting style to a deeper more hands on level.
    I would add that if you have a child who is going through a difficult time, like our second son whose bro died, put them in the second seat of the family van when you want to talk, or somewhere that they font have to establish eye contact or register every facial expression on your face! You also do not have to address the eye rolls or grimaces that your child might make!! See! Positives all around. Plus, my son really opened up and those meaningless drives became treasured opportunities to connect.
    Also, give those heartfelt hugs even when they might not be so heartfelt at the moment, or as a friend put it, hug them when you least feel like it. Done regularly, this brings great results. My surviving son and daughter now are my friends! Good luck all. Oh! Remember to pray for your kids!!!

  • I’m a mom to 5 boys ages 16, 14, 12, 9, & 3. I have to say the teenage years have not been fun. The hardest yet. I’ve done a lot of your suggestions. It seems to cause my oldest to pull away even more. It’s very hard. I’ve learned to give him his space until HE is ready, which has helped tremendously. He’s just got one of those intense personalities!

  • Great list! I’d add the one I failed at with my first. .. Help them grow into men by letting them fail as boys. It was really hard for me to stop “saving” my son. If your boy forgets his lunch or homework at home, I’ve come to believe it’s better to let him go hungry or take a hit to his grade. When he puts off working on that assignment too long, don’t stay up all night helping him get it done. Suffering dumb, little consequences teaches him to be responsible for himself in ways he just can’t learn otherwise. I saved my firstborn way too many times. He grew up and is a great guy. .. graduating college and commissioning with the Air Force as a pilot. God is good and fills in the gaps we leave, but I worked against the maturing process and did him no favors in the long run. Somehow I thought he’d learn responsibility by seeing the effects his irresponsibility had on me, and listening to my lectures. 🙂 Instead, I trained him to believe that he didn’t need to prepare our follow-through. Mom would fix it. Yipes! Don’t be me!!

    1. Such good thoughts Terry! Thank you. I’m in total agreement on this, and have mentioned it in many other posts–but glad you added it here. Sounds like you’ve done amazing, and your son is doing great now. Bless you and thanks for commenting! aloha

  • One thing my kids of heard me say a ton and will continue to hear me say is “with every privilege comes responsibility and with responsibility comes privilege”

  • Thank you so much.I have a 13 going 14 this Sept and it is nice to know I’m on the right track,specially on the listening,hug,sense of humor part. I love my boys!!!!

  • Thanks for putting into words the feelings, needs, and wisdom of so many moms, grom or otherwise. Fabulousness on a page.

    1. awww, bless you Cyn! Thank you for the kind words. 🙂 Aloha-

  • I love it!!! I would add verbal, unconditional love. My son sees & hears that I love him & knows it’s ok to return the feeling verbally. Even in front of his friends. He also shows open affection to his father & other males. It’s ok to hug a man or even a kiss on the cheek. My 14 year old son watched his 11 year old cousin (male) in a play. After he hugged him & kissed him on the forehead & told him he was proud of him. Neither felt uncomfortable. It was beautiful to see the openness, affection & encouragement.

  • This was a great read. Even though my kids are only 5(boy) 4 (girl) and 10 months(boy), I want to know that there is a way to have fun & success parenting teens. People keep telling me “oh you think it’s hard now, just wait until they are teens!” I feel really upset when I hear this. Maybe that person didn’t stay at home full time with their littles. Maybe they didn’t discipline every.single.time. I have no clue how it could be harder than having 3 kids 5 & under. (My oldest will be in kindergarten in the fall—finally!) I know those years will be challenging in other ways but I know many parents that love the teen years! And usually they all tell me that hard work when they are little pays off when they are teens. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to write this. My kids are sweet, cute and so funny right now and I know I’ll miss them being little but I look forward to a time when I can maybe play a game we all enjoy or see a non-cartoon movie or have one dinner without several meltdowns. When I say that people always shoot me down and tell me the teen years are terrible. It’s good to hear another perspective!

    1. Katie–I am so glad you commented! No way–Those people are nuts. In my opinion, you are in the hardest season of all (A post on that exact topic, coming soon.) It sounds like you love and enjoy your children now, and I guarantee that as you pour into them now, work hard on their character and stay connected to them–you will reap the benefits later. You’ll have an amazing relationship with them when they’re teens! Keep it up and have no fear…The best is yet to come! 🙂

    2. I have 5 kids, 4 oldest are boys (15,13,10,8 & daughter 5). When I had all of my little ones at home ALL day, every DAY… it was daunting. It really is physically exhausting to deal with these young whirl winds. Don’t get discouraged by other people’s experiences. Every “season” has it trials, and you are smack in the middle of one. Having small kids is hard and having teenagers is hard- all in their own ways. BUT… they are also rewarding. Keep on truckin’ everyday. It is difficult and many days are filled with guilt and tears, but you wouldn’t be a great mom without these feelings. Just know that just being there for them is the best thing you can do!

  • Excellent. This also applies to teen girls as well…thanks for sharing.

    I would also say that boys need to know that mom isn’t holding on to them. I remember reminding my son often of how precious he was and then call him by his pet name that I gave him when he was small. He cringed every time. It’s only after he was fully grown did I realize he didn’t need or want me referring back to him as a small child, as it made him feel small and inadequate. They want to know their voice is being heard, has value and that you are seeing them as the man they are growing into. Blessings on your family as you journey through life together. You sound like a great mom!

  • Excellent! Outstanding! I’ll share with others for sure. God bless you for your wisdom and your ability to communicate so well.

  • I stumbled onto your blog while browsing fb. It was posted on one of my son’s long-time friends fb page. He is also one of my fb friends also. He turned out to be a great man as did my son. I find the fact that so many can share so much with social media postings such as your blog is amazing. I raised one son. He recently turned 50. We have had and still have a wonderful relationship, not always easy, but good. He recently posted that I was one of the best mothers ever, and I believe he is a most precious son. I don’t really know how that happened, but it may possibly be because I have practiced most of those points you posted just because they were things that a mother should do back in the 60’s and 70’s and on. I was just being a mother. I raised a daughter also, and know they are totally different to raise and require different mothering techniques. My son required more of my time because he suffered a serious accident at a young age. We had much one-on-one time with doctor visits, school lessons and homework. I think regardless of how frustrated you become and how difficult things may be because of some of that teenage rebellion, you must still be the best mother you can. There were times when it was not so easy, but trying to look through the loving mother’s eyes God gave me, over time I learned to see the loving son who needed me. Things were so different back when he was a teen. Times were different. Yes, there were drugs and yes there were opportunities for getting into mischief with friends, but we got through those years unscathed. I had the co-support of a stern but fair father who set the necessary boundaries. Yes, someone needs to be stern. Today I don’t see so much of that. I am not referring to being mean because mean and stern are two different things. Love your son, even when you find it difficult, listen to him, hug him and try not to “run his life”. You will do just fine. Somehow I did.

  • Beautiful words. I have raised 2 girls and my son will be 13 this year. I will read and reread these suggestions a million times God willing I get it right

  • I love this post! My son will be 15 this summer. I’ve had the privilege of being a SAHM. Some of the seasons we’ve been through have been wonderful – some I couldn’t wait to pass. But, these teenage years? These are THE BEST! I totally agree with you about how it’s so much fine to see the young man he’s turning into, the conversations we have, his sense of humor, and his own developing views about life. I’m trying to soak all this time up before he sprouts his wings and leaves the nest. Your points are spot on. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • I love this article. Yes, being a teenager is hard. Being a mom of a teenager is hard but this article shows how simply being there, listening makes the “hard” part doable. Thank you. #lovemyteenageboy

  • Great article…after having raised two boys who are now 26 and 29…I couldn’t agree more! They are both married, employed with mortgages. We are very proud of the men they have become, although there were definitely some tumultuous years! Hang in there MOBs! (momsofboys)

  • Thank you so much for these words of encouragement! I lost my husband 2 months ago to cancer and am now raising our 14 yr old son on my own. We both had children from our first marriages however they are now all over the age of 25. Things were different back then especially when the boys hit puberty…I sent them to my husband. I can’t do that now, I have changed my life so much in the last 5 months to care for my husband at the end of his life that now I am focusing on keeping my son grounded and level headed that I feel as tho at some times I am smoothering him. Thank you for the tips and pointers!

    1. I’m so sorry for your loss, Sandi. I cannot even begin to imagine what you are going through. Prayers for you…

    2. Sandi–I am so sorry for your loss. You must be such a strong woman to have walked through all of that and now able to get focused on connecting w/ your son. Bless your heart. I have no doubt that you and your son will walk through this together. I am personally much more the talker than my husband w/ my teenage sons, (even on puberty topics :)) so I know you can do it fine…But obviously you would want for it to be different. I pray that you have a good support network for yourself and that you will be patient as you walk through these things.
      You are wise to be mindful: No smothering! 🙂 Just loving you son and a little letting go too is going to be best as you nurture yourself and find a healthy place! Thank you for sharing and I will pray for you. Aloha

  • Hi,
    Great reading. I have 2 girls-what advice for them?? Please. Diana

  • Thank you for this encouraging message my son is 13 going on 16 if you know what I mean . Testing times but grateful how we have an understanding . Love my boy xx

  • Thank you for this beautiful article. I am a single mom of 2 boys, one 9.5 and the other about to turn 13. Indeed…where does the time go! I have arranged my life, even as a single mother, to be available for my boys, without being a “helicopter mom.” As they get older, I’m seeing how incredible this has been for them. They trust me, and my oldest is starting to talk to me about “real” things that I can enjoy with him on such a deep level. It’s truly beautiful!!

    I appreciate your encouragement, as I sometimes wonder if I’ve been “too available” to them by working from home, always making space to be at their school events and answer their questions, etc. I also have to make ends meet, and sometimes this gets tense for me, wishing I could have a “normal” job away from frequent interruptions. Yet over and over, I see that it’s worth it. As of late, my oldest is even starting to comment on how he could help out more as he begins to actually notice the work that I do. I love raising my boys!!

    1. Awesome Kim, thank you so much for commenting. You have chosen well–Nothing could be more important than what you’ve chosen! 🙂 Bless you and keep it up into these exciting teenage years! aloha-

  • 12. Independence. As much as he needs you, you’ve needed him. Soon he will have to separate from you and stand (only) on his own two feet. You need to let him know you can stand on your own too. As he gravitates more to peers than parents, and your mom job goes towards retirement, you need to actively fill the void and let him go.

  • Excellent article! Thank you. The best book I ever read on the topic is ‘Available Parenting – Radical optimism for tweens and teens’. We parents need all the help we can to continue to have a great relationship with our wonderful and amazing teens.

  • Great article. Any advice for older teen boys! I would agree with everythjng you say for 13-16 or 17 but those right of passage years are leaving me without a clue!

  • This is great stuff, absolutely vital. Fathers have a huge role too and one that is vital. They are the only ones that can validate a young man and accept the young ones into full and complete manhood. Rites of passage if you like. A mother cannot do this but let this be no criticism of a mothers role. Both parents are vital. Only one parent really skews the young man.

  • I am trying to subscribe to your website, but I can’t. I didn’t get a link to verify my email. Will you subscribe me to your website?

    Thank you.

  • I am a mom of a 22 year old, and a 12 year old. Went through the teenage years already, with keeping him busy in karate, I joined as well, had his friends here in my home, I was a single mom with him, but a ton of support, I found his best time to talk was before bed. We would talk for 1/2 hour all the time so I planned for it. Now he doesn’t drink, he’s home fri & sat nights, not out getting drunk. Has his career almost set, just needs to pass a journeyman’s lic, has CDL, and Hydraulic lic’s. Now again a single mom of the 12 year old, with no support of his father, and its nothing but a mess, we talk (always have) making sure he know’s he is safe. He love’s his sports and teams, so we always have kids here. Both kids got good grades so far, and now the 12 year old gets the responsibility and freedom thing I love that. The time goes so quickly, I enjoy every min and never wish it away.
    I thank god, for them, for they truly are a gift.

  • Thank you! Well said!

  • With 6 teenagers, including 2 boys, I live this! All these points are so true. Thank you!

  • My son is on the cusp of be owing a teen and I’d like to add one thing: organized groups help provide some of these points you mention. Ryan is now a Boy Scout, which is reinforcing these same principles that you mention and we push at home. Especially # 2 and 3. We have excellent leaders in his troop, but it’s like an extra set of hands molding him into a young man, especially when Mom or Dad are too nerdy.

  • I love and agree with most of what you said here but I’d like to add a word of caution about speaking in absolutes. My 16 year old son has two big sisters and the little sisters and three step sisters and just the one step brother. His daughter left me for his step mom when he was six and then when he was 13 his dad moved 9 hours away. I’ve out in years of tears and sweat and love and grace and direction and discipline and strength and weakness and I don’t have that wonderful bond with him that you describe here. Hopefully as an adult he’ll recognize all I’ve done and stop resisting me.

  • My son is six months away from officially being a teenager but I’m already seeing some of these things. Very well said!!

  • I really enjoyed this article. However, my daughter is the one who is the new teenager right now and I feel a lot of this wisdom will be great for me to practice now with her. Thank you!

    1. Thank you Errin! I’ve heard that from a lot of people, so I’m glad if it applies to your daughter as well! 🙂 Aloha

  • Great post. I have triplet boys who are 16. It’s difficult every day. They are all so different. Sort of going through a quiet stage since they all had a girl friend and now they don’t. It’s been a challenge to go through and know what to say. I wish they knew what we do, that all this high school stuff will be a big blur down the road. With College approaching they will be more independent and able to explore things with hopefully out all that drama of high school.

  • I don’t have boys – I have two little girls but I loved reading this:) it’s the small little things that one forgets do that are sometimes the most important. Keep writing keep sharing and your boys are lucky to have you:)

  • I’m not a mother yet, (hopefully one day that will change) but many things you’ve mentioned, I’ve seen put into practice by my boyfriend of 6 year’s mother. Both him and his brother (and his parents) give the most amazing hugs (and good morning and bedtime hugs are non-negotiable) and when they’re together as a family they always have such fun and are always laughing. His folks are both so interested in their boys lives (25 and 23) and even though both kids live about 2000km away,they talk on the phone regularly (about once a week, sometimes more, sometimes less) and one of the best things I’ve learnt from them is the art of asking questions. If my boyfriend tells them we went to a friends braai, they want to know which friend, who else was there and did we do anything fun.

    I think the one thing I would like to add here is that both my parents and my boyfriends parents have always had open homes when it comes to our friends. They’re happy to spend time with our friends, getting to know them, chatting to them and treating them as their other children. I have many honorary sisters from my time at high school and I know there are guy friends of my boyfriend who are like honorary brothers to him.

    Thank you for sharing this post, it’s made me really stop and think and consciously be grateful for both my parents and my boyfriends parents

  • Thank you!

  • I’ve loved reading something that backs up what I’m trying to do with my eldest son Tyler who’ll be 13 in a few weeks.
    I’m one of 5 girls so having 3 boys has been a learning curve.
    I insist on talking. We sit down together for dinner every day and go around the table talking about our days.
    I’ve made myself so approachable that Tyler has come to me not his dad to show me his body changes

  • thank you so much for this article

  • Mónica,Beautiful article! I’m the mother of three handsome boys (33,29,23). I have been blessed,very proud of these young guys. Its so true what you just said . I learned a lot during the process with them…I wouldn’t change a thing.

  • Monica, I love this article! My eldest just turned 13. He doesn’t say much. He asks for a lot but doesn’t disclose much about how he’s feeling.
    You have helped me to see that I’m doing a lot, even if it’s going un-discussed. I do a lot of what you mention above. The only feedback I’ve gotten lately has been in my birthday card (which he drew and wrote in). He thanked me for supporting and loving him. It was touching.
    Thank you for taking the time to understand this stage and articulating it! xx

    1. Thank you Ann. Good work, and those hand-made birthday cards are pretty priceless, aren’t they? 🙂 Keep it up and thank you for stopping in! aloha

  • I wish I had this a few years ago. My oldest son is 25 and my baby almost 18. It has been trying at times, but we got through the rough years and they love me again.

  • Sometimes I feel like the only thing he needs from me is a taxi service and a fully stocked cupboard/fridge…..

    1. I know the feeling…but one day he’ll probably tell you how much more he got out of all of your interactions…even if while eating or taxiing. 😉 Don’t grow weary!! Aloha- thanks for commenting. 🙂

  • wow, so glad i stumbled on this today, i really needed to read something like this after the morning i just had with my tween- 11yr old son!! i was feeling really lost and upset after a massive argument, it has not been easy in our house especially for him, i have been going through breast cancer since last year, he has started high school this year and i think he has a lot emotionally on his plate, i have always been one for keeping the communication lines open and he knows i hope that he can talk to me about anything. However it was just so nice to read this and be able to take the pointers and really work on it to make sure. you certainly do make a lot of sense, weve the holidays starting today and i will be working on this with him over these to really cement our relationship. thank you.

  • This will not work for mothers like me. I have 2 boys, 15 and 16 on next birthday. They are my 4th set of teens and I am single at 58. I can barely give the essentials and they only get space when they leave the house. I just lost my job aftER 15 years. The boys don’t respect me and are dèfiant.I am dysthymia struggling 2 survuve. They are lazy I lost them somewhere

    1. I’m so sorry Patricia. Sounds like you are in a very tough situation. I hope you are looking to local resources for some support and encouragement. I will pray for you.

  • I loved reading over your list. I did each and every single one with joy and love. My son repeatedly told me that I WAS the best mom he could ever have. Yet, when he was in his twenties and just out of college, I separated and divorced his dad. His dad did all of the opposite on your list as our son was growing up. oh how my son hurt emotionally and spiritually over his father’s actions and words. Now my son has rejected me and is standing faithfully by his dad’s side. At first I didn’t understand how my son could reject me so. Nevertheless, when I think about it his dad is weak in character and needs someone to take care of him.

  • I have a 14 year old who is smart as can be, but is failing almost every class because he won’t do homework. I have tried EVEY THING I can think of. I have had meetings at his school. I am lost and feel hopeless. Please help.

  • I am saving this and the ones for middle school and elementary school boys, as my oldest starts preschool this fall and will be heading to college in the blink of an eye. Thank you!

  • Wow. Great read and so true. I’m a single mom of teen boys 16 and 18. I have been very fortunate so far and have had no major issues as they are able to openly communicate about anything with me. I have to agree with you. The teen years are by far the best time of my life with them. My oldest leaves to college in September and the idea of him leaving makes me sad but I know he will always need and love his mom.

  • Thank you so much for everything . I am a mother of teen boy and 2 little boys too. This was everything that i needed now. Thank you very much

    1. Thank you Angela! So nice to hear that. 🙂 Keep up the great work!

  • I’m glad I found this page!
    I need these reminders.. easy forget in the day to day.

    Aloha ♥

  • Monica,

    Thank you! We just “inherited” a 16 year old boy and were previously childless. Needless to say we are starting at the ground floor with all of us. This brought some useful tips for me to use with my new son who has been through some tough times and is quite quiet and skeptical when it comes to who cares about him. This article helped me personally. I felt you should know!

    1. i think you are a superstar, all the best with your new son 🙂

  • YOUR comments sound well and good but how do you go on whem your son just turned 13 4 weeks ago you tried to have the sex education talk and un be known to you he likes boys instead of girls. Something you didn’t see coming as he is been a very loving very well behaved and straight A student. A person who grew up with 2 younger sisters 1 is 11 years younger and the other is 7 years younger and you have and love your 1 year old nice. How do you try as a Christian back round deal with this news and sin that affects him family health and society. As a mom I saw all my hopes and dreams for him crashing down in 1 day. Feeling I failed somewhere. Dow do I keep the feelings I have for hom*osexuality and my love for my son the new teenager separate? Non of us are perfect Christians but how do you deal with this kind of conflict?
    Sincerely a devastated mother of her last teen – a boy

    1. Meant older sisters sorry for typo

    2. Sue…I am sorry for what you’re going through. I wish I had some wisdom for you, but I just share in the struggle to walk in your convictions and love your son right where he is…I would really recommend you find some good solid Christian counsel–is there a Pastor or someone you trust who you could go to? I am praying for you and just really empathize with how difficult it is to be surprised by something you were not expecting and now trying to put your feelings together. Hang in there and trust God to work things out. Aloha friend-

  • I am so glad that I found this post and can’t wait to check out the mom-of-boys society. I am a mom of 4 boys: 15, 13, 10 and 7. I so much enjoyed reading this post and got a lot of great advice from it. Somedays I feel like I am doing it all wrong, but your post made me feel like I am on the right track and just keep plugging along. I know that this is such an important time in their lives and just want to raise good Godly men. Thanks for your encouragement!

  • I loved this article. I, too am a Mom to 4 boys (15, 13, 11, 11) and I could really identify with you! Your article made me feel like someone out there knows exactly what I’m going through and you have a similar parenting style. Lately I’ve been having doubts about my parenting, especially because my 15 y.o. doesn’t seem to want or need me around, unless he needs me to take him somewhere. This article has really shown me that I am doing just fine and to keep on keepin’ on, as the saying goes. Thanks for the reassurance!

    1. yay—Good for you Brooke! I’m sure you’re doing amazing. It isn’t easy going through that thing of not being needed so much, but it is normal…and healthy I suppose. 🙂
      You do have your hands full, that’s for sure! I bet there were some crazy days when they were all little! Aloha, and thanks for commenting.

      1. Oh boy were there crazy times! Their younger years are all a blur for me now. They really kept me on my toes. When people say, “you have your hands full!” I always reply with, “They are TWO handfuls!!!” haha! Thanks for sharing your family with us readers! I look forward to reading more from your blog! Love, from the Pacific NW!

  • Monica u have a beautiful family and my dream life!! FYI I live in Beaverton, Oregon. Born and raised and would love to live in Hawaii. I honeymooned at the Ihilani and enjoyed Oahu. Thanks!!!

  • I enjoyed reading ur post. I don’t have boys but do have 3 girls and if u have suggestive websites for girls of all ages since I have a 6,8 and 23 year old. I would love it!!!!

    1. Thank you Julie! I honestly don’t know any girl-mom sites off the top of my head, but I do hope you’ll stick around! 😉 Most of my topics apply to boys and girls (and many people have told me that the Teenage boy post could have been written for girls too–it applies just the same! ) Aloha and thank you!

      1. Yes I agree I read and was keeping my girls in mind!! Mahalo

  • As a mother of 4 young men, the youngest is 19 oldest is almost 29. I have a little experience with teenagers. Listening, boundaries are great, but the thing they need most is a strong male influence who they can talk to and hopefully emulate. Males do thing and act differently from females and this is the time of separation from Moms. They still love you and at times question you and your values but they need time to become Men and with that responsibilities of growing up.

  • Hi I was wondering about the rule where you can check their computers and phones. My son is only 7 so I have a while yet but how do you balance keeping a check with not invading their privacy?

    1. HI Becky–Sorry it took me a bit…Hmmm, I know what you mean about balancing kid’s privacy with checking on things. But I guess I just have decided that as long as they’re in my house (and not legally “adults,”) they just have to give up a bit of privacy in this way. I honestly RARELY (almost never) check my 15 yr. old’s phone because he has proven completely responsible. But he knows that the minute I have a concern, I can check it. It’s all about the relationship. 😉

  • Great share….just love the hands on mummy inside info! Thankyou.xx our boys r still little but it’s all helpfully stored. My Sil will surely love.xx

  • I love this and it is exactly how I feel. Great post.

  • Great article. I’m a South African mom of two boys [17 and 11]; we live in Dubai. I love your philosophy. It works.
    Bless you

    1. Awww, bless you Leonie! I love hearing from you. 🙂 Aloha!

  • This is a wise, wonderful list, but this is exactly how I am raising a girl, too! No need for it to be only about boys 🙂

  • I have 6 sons with one daughter sandwiched between. In our home we will have, God willing, 25 years of ‘teenagerness’. Almost an unbroken 25 year span…there are 3 days between daughter turning 20 and fourth son turning 13 that we had a reprieve.

    All of the above is so absolutely true and I appreciate your encouragement. What I want my wife to know is: never stop. What I want my boys to know is: your mom and dad will never stop loving you.

    It is AMAZING when they come thru the ‘process’ of teenager and you get to be good friends with the men that they become. My oldest are now 30, 28, and 26 and are a constant source of joy in our lives.

    1. Thank you Michael–such encouraging words. I really appreciate it. “never stop.” yes! 🙂 Good for you–sounds like you’ve done an amazing job! aloha

  • Great article!!!

  • Monica, I loved your article and hope you had a great weekend away!!
    Simley from the South shore:))

    1. Smiley! 🙂 So happy to see you here–I looked for you on the flight back…hope you made it ok. 😉 I’ll email you soon! xo

  • Excellent article. I work with teens. Great advise. Glad to know Im ready as my o yo gets older.

  • Great job, mom! Actually, I feel like I could’ve written this, I pretty much did all this verbatim – and what a wonderful “man” we raised. You wouldn’t believe some of the conversations we had – would’ve made some blanch! We are still really honest with each other. He’s 26 now, went to a great college, has a great job – and he’s still the funny, handsome and super intelligent baby, kid and teen we got the privilege to live with. Please moms – don’t hang back from your teenage boys – they need to know you are there for them more than ever – what a balancing act it is! What a thrill. What a joy.

    Thanks for this article. I am sure you’ve helped some family today.

  • Thank you for sharing. I’m also a mom of two teenage boys. Austin 16, Chase 14. My oldest is on the spectrum of autism. Some day’s can be a challenge, but I continue to love them both. We laugh, cry, and act silly. Life is hard enough I want them to walk away feeling valued, loved, and realize their worth.

    Thank You!

  • Amazing post. I am a mom of four precious boys (3 teenagers). Great stuff!!!!

  • I’m so glad I stopped to read this. Very helpful and enlightening, will definitely come in handy as I raise my soon to be 14 year old son.

  • I too have boys, 21,17 and 14. I can tell you that all of these points are so very true with them, but have also been true with our daughter (20). So, these points could just be for ALL teens. Thanks for putting into words those things we have tried to do, as parents, for our boys. Now when people ask for advice from me I’ll just show them this post!

    1. Thank you Ali!! I’ve heard that (about the girls) a few times and I am SO glad to hear it! That’s awesome that you would share the post–I am happy that you’ve enjoyed it. Aloha!

  • I am now 71, have raised 3 Sons and a Daughter, am the Grandmother to 11 Grands and 1 Great Grand. My boys were 1-2-3 when there Marine Father went to Vietnam. We have been through teething, Potty training, learning to talk, push a car, ride a Bike, First Grade, first Girl Friend, First Fight, Prom, Graduate from High School and College, Marriage, Fatherhood, Empty Nest and more. My Children were and are the Joy of my life. I don’t know how many other things that we have been through but we made it. It was trial and error, a lot of Prayer, tears, lots of Laughter, jokes and a whole lot of Love. As I look back now, I am Blessed among Women, I was chosen to be the Mother, Caretaker, Disilipinarian , Cheerleader, Teacher, a soft spot to land when their whole world fell apart and the Momma to Jerry, Timmy, Richie and Cheri. Thanks Guys it has been the ride of a Lifetime, and I owe it all to you four.

  • Love this post! I’ll be Shari g it on my blog FB page – thank u!

    1. Thank you so much Terri! SO glad you like the list! 🙂 Aloha!

  • So helpful! My youngest son turned 13 today and oldest son will turn 15 in April. I so want to get it right!
    Thank you for the insight and reminders.

  • These are spot on. A couple of things that you touched on when you said “with freedom come responsibility” is that teenage boys also need appropriate responsibility and accountability.

    We can save them so much from hardship later on if we would just trust them to do some hard things and refrain from rescuing them from the consequences of not-so-great choices.

    It’s amazing how much more responsive my boy is to facing up to his mistakes and making things right than he is to listening to me barrage him with a litany of “I-told-you-so’s” while I clean up his mess. Instead, LIFE inflicts the penalty and I can just be his supporter. (“Wow, that’s the pits, but I know you can make it right.”)

    1. such good thoughts Mary! Thank you. And I agree, 100% 🙂 aloha!

  • Very true! All I got to say is prepare for 16! It gets worse before it gets better. But it’s all worth it. 🙂

  • What a great article! Though mine is only 11 I know it will be here before I know it!

  • I’m the proud mom of 3 boys (24, 20 & 18). One thing I’ve learned, raise your boys with respect , love & humor!
    It’s surprising when people come up & comment how polite & helpful my boys are! Lol
    Those 3 belching, brawling, goofballs?
    Yes! They know how to behave outside of our home. Home is a haven where they can relax & not be judged (mostly). But they have been taught how to carry themselves in public. I’ve been told by my two eldest what a gift this is!

  • As the mother of 2 boys that are now grown men, this article is spot on! the biggest thing is to stay engaged with your boys. They, although they will never admit, want you to be involved in their lives day in and day out. This is something you must to in order to have a lasting relationship that grows as they age. To this day, I am still very close to my sons…they will still call and ask advice from me..and also call to report great news..Now my youngest is a father of a son and I hope that he remembers how he could talk to me about anything..and to keep his sense of humor and if I could give any advice..Write stuff down so you remember all the stories and events. no matter how small…so that you can share with them as they get older..

  • Wanted to read and share with my sister, she is really struggling right now with my nephew, hes kind of a butthead, lol but we won’t give up even though hes REALLY hard to be around sometimes! Thanks for the tips, I also have a boy, hes only 4 but its never to early to start researching what to expect with upcoming behavior! Thanks!

  • This is so good to read! I also feel good because I do a lot of these!!
    I love what you say about their sense of humor. My son cracks me up all the time! I will laugh until I cry!!
    Thank you for sharing this!!

  • I am a therapist with a 13 y/o boy. This is one of the best descriptions I have come across of what parenting a teen is like.

  • As a mother to an adopted teenage boy (adopted at age 12) I don’t know how much the bonding at a young age can effect the type of person my son is becoming, but already at 16 he is an amazing young man and I see the benefits of being a listening ear and unconditional love when I look at him! Thank you for your advice! I am always looking for anything I can to help me to understand this whole new world of teenagers;)

  • I’m a mom of 3 grown boys from 1st marriage. Now I have a 13yr old son n a 12ur old daughter. My dilemma is I’m a widow raising the 2 younger ones alone. ‘M sister sent me your blog. I think it is GREAT but I find it hard by my self to fulfill all these needs of my son any advice would be helpful

  • very positive, thank you

  • As the mother of a (now) 17 and a half year old son, I thought I was out the other side with no problems. Well wasn’t i in for a shock this year. I feel like after all these years of being a single mum that I had it down pat. I feel like my son is slipping away from me. He holes up in his room playing computer games and seems to have no motivation for anything else AT ALL. I know this is just a stage but after having control for so long, I feel so helpless. It seems he is just throwing his life away. I have a great support group (for me) but I I don’t feel like HE has anyone to talk to. If I talk to him I get the impression he thinks ‘here we go again’. I feel like I can’t even have a normal conversation with him. Your blog has helped reading that I’m not alone and that he IS just being a teenage boy. Well get past if and I’m hoping our relationship is stronger for it.

    1. I feel for you, Jacki – I’ve always thought 17 was such a difficult and important time – they are really on the cusp of life — maybe the hole down with games because they are just so worried or scared about what the future holds – they are so close! I hope you are able to pry him out of his room somehow and get him engaged in things that interest him – get him out of the house. Get him thinking about his future and what and who he wants to be.

      I wish the best for you – and him!

  • All that is true and great except when you are dealing with a Disney parent who uses their “hidden” millions to continually undermine any real parenting

  • Loved it! So true. Mine is 18 years old and we have a great relationship. We find mutual ground in humor – whatever the subject!

  • Beautiful 🙂

  • Found many points truly recognizable in the relationship with my son. My amazing, sweet son.

  • Absolutely loved this post! As a high school teacher I know all too well how teenage boys are truly special, and not the lazy troublemakers that society tends to peg them as. With two little boys, I can see how I can still use some of your tips even now. Thanks for sharing!

  • I work full time and have 3 sons 12,9,5 and two girls 20 and 2 we are a blended family my 20 year old was adopted and 12 is from husband first marriage.

    Any advice on being there for all of them? Especially my 12 year old he seems to be spending more time in his room and has a bad attitude.

    I also suffer from chronic migranes so I am in bed a lot after work.

    1. Oh Jessica, my heart goes out to you…I think the best thing you can do is to be very genuine in the time you do have with your kids. For example, with the 12 year old you might just sit down and talk to him, let him know how much you desire to be there for him, and that you are sorry for when you cannot be…You can communicate your love and support and ask him how you can best support him even though you are working and have migraines, etc. If he knows you really care, he will be more likely to reach out to you when he needs it. I would also add not to let any guilt or overwhelmed feelings stop you from having boundaries in your home. Perhaps your 12 year old should not be allowed to be in his room so much? Or if he is, his door could be open, or you might be able to monitor what he is doing. Let him know (and all of the kids in the home) that you care very much about them in whatever ways you can, and carve out time to give them each some one on one. 🙂 I’ll pray for you. with aloha-

  • Thanks for article and full of inspiration, greetings from Slovakia :-)!
    Martina /mom of 3 boys and2 girls/

    1. Thank you Martina from Slovakia! 🙂 SO great to have you here. Hope you’ll stick around and say hello any time! XO with Aloha!

  • Needing advise and encouragement as a single mom with joint custody of a very special 10 year old son.

  • Love this post! My son is going to be 16?! in January. I am happy to say that I am trying to be this kind of mom. It is nice to know there are fellow moms out there fighting for their sons to be strong men of character. Boy, it’s a tough job in this world today. I know he will be a great man. To all of you parenting wild, crazy, stubborn toddler boys know that in the end it is worth it. I always said that my stubborn toddler would be a strong leader one day. I can see that now. Hold on, you will be looking up to him sooner than you think!

  • Thank you for some great advice on raising teenage boys I need all the help I can get,I am raising my 15 year old grandson ,Ive had him since hes been born and it gets very trying at times I must say but all in all he is a good kid ,he is a musician so again it can be little trrough at times ,if you have any suggestions please let me know.

  • Oh I appreciate this guidance! The younger years were so beautiful and easy, but the teen years are killing me!

  • Great, practical, and very relevant advice. Have a teenage boy and most of these have helped with my relationship with him over the years. Still working on it though, we have some days that I want to send him to boot camp and days that I feel like a failure. Overall, we have a great relationship and I am proud of the man he is becoming (He is off to college next year by God’s grace!) .

  • Great site even for a grandma who has two middle school boys living with her. Thanks for a site for support!

  • Thank you for sharing this. ..I recently have experienced a wave of emotions from my 14yr. Old son. It has been difficult to say the least on many occasions, but I truly agree that taking an interest in what your son likes is very important, even if it’s definately not ‘your thing ‘. My son and husband recently took up hunting and I’ve tried to learn a lot about it and support my son in it when dad can’t be around. I even worked up the nerve to try the venison chili I helped him cook. It was delicious and he was very proud. Boys need to know their mom feels they contribute to the manly duties of the household.

  • Hands down, this is the absolute best article I have ever read for moms of boys. My boys aren’t quite teens yet, so I’m going to read, “What an elementary aged boy needs from his mom” next. Everything you wrote in this piece is exactly how I feel and want to be with my boys. Writing about this topic is – without a doubt – your calling. I’m incredibly glad a friend posted this piece on herFacebook page. – your newest fan

    1. Julia–wow, what kind words!! Thank you. 🙂 That really means a lot to me. Not sure how old your boys are, but don’t miss the “Middle School” post either! 😉
      (for some reason that was my favorite!) Much aloha to you–And hope you stay in touch!

  • Genuine interest will open the door to your teen heart, even if you have no idea what he’s talking about ask questions or research it. I took a class his freshman year that the school district offered and it gave many tips to communicate with each of my children, even 5 min in the car makes a difference. Simple how was your day, really,
    Simple responses from the “same” I would ask like no one tripped not that it’s funny or anything like that and walla a conversation started.

    I agree with all your points

    1. Thank you Hilda! So smart to offer classes! I love it. Great thoughts. 😉 Aloha

  • I loved what you had to say,
    it was not only inspiring but spot on.
    Being the mother of two boys 10 years and 1day apart, I honestly can say I learned a lot in those years between..
    and although my oldest son who is 24 years old and a member of the Air Force for the last 6 years. Those mistakes I made with him don’t seem that important now.
    with my youngest is 14 now “geesh”…… I learne from

  • I have just been reading your post about what teenage boys need. What an eye-opener. Our boys are young men, married and have children. How I wish I had these when they were still small. I have made many mistakes and it haunts me today, but maybe I have done something right. I am proud of what they have become despite all my failures. Thank you, Thank you for this and may God bless you on your way today and in future.

    1. Thank you Annmarie–and I am certain that you did much right. We are all so hard on ourselves (part of being a mom I think, :)) but if like who they have become, then be encouraged. 😉 Much aloha

  • great article and very true

  • That was the best thing I read in a long time. I have two sons n it was very easy to relate to it. My boys are men now now and I will continue to be the same way always there to love n hugs

  • What a beautifully honest article. My son turns 10 next month and I already feel he needs exactly what you have written in this post. They grow up so quickly and although we want to encourage their independence and adventure, we still want to keep them for ourselves. Finding the balance is the answer. Thank you for a lovely article that so clearly expresses my own sentiments.

  • praise God this is an awesome idea for a website. I am so thankful and blessed for my little boy and to be a first time mommy, especially when I didn’t think it was ever going to happen, but God showed me yet again, in HIS time. Thank you for taking the time to create this awesome outlet and support system!!!! God bless all you moms and all our soon to be successful Godly boys then will one day become Godly, successful loving men! Xoxo

  • This was just what I needed this morning. A friend sent it to me. I woke up at 4am this morning crying out to God as finding things really tough at times.my son is 12 but has a very strong leadership tyoe personality, which means he has pretty much challenges things alot. I find the transition of still seeing him as my little bog who I was pushing in a swing or holding hands to school with is now growing up. He has just started upper school and I realise the innocence of childhood will come up against all sorts of things. I love him and his brother so much, as a single mum they really are part of my every strand, but i know i need to give thrm space and not be critical when they leave their towel for the 200th time on the floor. Any way thank you so.much for this article, it has meant very much and feel it was a gift from God to me today.

    1. Thank you so much for the comment, Yolanda. It sounds like you have an awesome heart and no doubt your boys are blessed because of it. Keep enjoying them, and you will have no regrets. Keep crying out to God, and He will direct you in all o the details as your boys grow up! Much love-

  • If your son has just entered his thirteenth year, he’s twelve.

  • What an amazing article. My son will be 13 in January and I’m enjoying every second of him now (well, except when I want to wring his neck!). He’s funny, he’s kind, he’s smart, he’s athletic, and he makes me LAUGH… like full on belly laughing. I only have one child and he’s my world. I try to do all of the things you’ve mentioned, but without smothering him – it’s not easy! I’m going to print this post and look at it from time-to-time just to remind myself of the important things! Thank you for this.

    1. thank you so much. I know what you mean about doing all you can w/out smothering…:) Enjoy that teen, and you will just have an awesome relationship with him as an adult!

  • I loved reading your “what a Teenage Boys needs most from his mom”…. I couldn’t agree more with all of it.
    I am a mother to four sons, 12,15, 20, & 24…. I am 42 years old and some days I feel like I am 102 years.
    I had my first son when I was just 18…. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and when I look back now, I was so anxious about whether I was doing everything right, that I forgot to enjoy him like I should have. Everything was so routined, wake, feed, bath, sleep, get washing done , wake, feed etc. I was so lucky he was a perfect baby… So I now call him my practice son. Lol
    Second time around was much easier, third time and I was 27 yrs old and now I feel that was the perfect age to have a baby, I enjoyed everything about being a Mum and my growing little family, then finally my forth baby, who is a couple of days off turning 12.
    I have been a working mum nearly the whole time, so quality time with my boys was a rare thing, at times it felt like the only time I had any time with them was when I was asking for their lunch boxes, looking for their school clothes to wash or in the car on the way to sitters. Sometimes life gets so busy that we forget about what’s really important.
    Being a shift worker, I would sometimes find myself thinking ” when was the last time I actually made my boys breakfast??? Or even sat down with them for breakfast..Instead of packing it… This was not how I want my sons to remember me….”the Mum that was always at work and never around to talk too”
    Now a single Mother, whilst working, I study and got my diploma in Children’s Services and I am now a Childcare Educator and work from home, I am here with my boys for every breakfast and every dinner and I have an awesome relationship with all my sons. ( we have our moments just like any family) I just wish I hadn’t missed out on that time with the older two boys, but they’ve turned out pretty good considering.
    We had moments during that “ugly” phase (15/16 years) where their mouth turns into the nastiest weapon… They will say the most hurtful things, I remember listening to what they were saying in disbelief and shocked that I could have given birth to someone horrid …. Lol thank goodness this phases passes as quickly as it came in, because this is the point where u start thinking ” I can’t do this anymore”. I believe that this is the hardest that raising boys will get and if you can survive this…..you can survive anything!
    We now all have an amazing bond and my boys talk to me about anything and everything, sometimes way too much information lol
    I have found that ” time ” is the glue that hold our family together, time doing anything as long as it’s together, time laughing at silly things, taking the time to call or text my boys, just to let them know how much I love them, even if they are at the other end of the house…time to listen to what’s going on in their life (I think I fail a bit here, as I tune out sometimes and have to remind myself to pay attention lol) Having a common interest, my boys and I compete in a marathon twice a year, just 10km event, but we do it together and although it nearly kills me, we get great satisfaction out of doing it together.

    I grew up with wealthy, working parents, they never attended any of my sporting events, school events, never showed any interest in what I was doing and never once in 42 years have either of my parents told me that they love me..I do feel that this has impacted on the type of relationship that we have today…that being a not so close one… I vowed when I had children I wouldn’t let a day go by without telling them how much I love them.

    I have told my boys that I love them everyday since they were born, and even at 24 yrs old my eldest son will always say it to me..even if he is surrounded by all of his mates. It’s normal practice in our household to say I love you.

    In all honesty, I could write a book on the things those four boys have put me through, but all that bad stuff disappears and doesn’t matter when you realise how fast they grow up and how deeply you love these little people you created. I’m sure that my hair has turned grey underneath my monthly colour , but I’m not quite game to let it grow to find out.
    Many years ago, I was in the local shopping centre, with three boys in toe, one was whinging on top note and the other two were fighting…I was trying my hardest to keep them under control and keep them quiet…. I was approached by an old lady, she could see I was having difficulty with them, she stopped me and said ” you know, mothers of three boys go straight to heaven!” And she smiled and walked off.
    After growing up in a a family of three girls and one boy….. I never really understood the male species until I had a house full of them myself, they are so different to females and yet, they need the simplest of things, love, attention, hugs, encouragement, praise, and time.
    They come across all manly and tough, but on the inside they have the softest hearts and if you don’t invest time and effort into your boys you will never see this side….. Take it from me, it is truly beautiful and nothing will make you more prouder than knowing you have raised sons with hearts full of love and compassion for others.
    My only regret, is that I wished I’d had more children…Boys are awesome

    1. Lynnie–You have done awesome, and you should be nothing but proud! Loved hearing your story, thank you. aloha-

  • You are right on with everything you said!
    I am a Mom of 6 boys from age 32 to 19. They all were different, and required different attention, but the basic requirement was being there actively in their lives: just as you put it. Great article.
    PS- I also have 1 daughter too-
    Not much different than the boys.

    1. Six boys and one girl!? You are superwoman! Way to go and your words mean a lot considering you would be the expert here! 😉 Much love-

  • I think number 6 is very selective to different kids. Some kids aren’t just embarrassed or whatever, they genuinely hate physical affection like hugs and arms on the shoulder and stuff.

  • Thank you for writing and bringing up the exact honest to goodness reality of what our boys need. I have accomplished 0 11 / 11 and me and my son Paul practice the exact science you have published! I never thought about it until I just read it in 11 simple reasons, but YES! You nailed it! Paul is my youngest and turning 17 soon, but he and I have bonded the closest following the simplicity of rules, boundaries, respect, love, laughter and freedom. Thank you for simply putting it. This is truly the recipe that everyone should utilize when raising children.

    1. wow, Gina…Thank you and so awesome that you can look back and know you did it so well! The blessing is seeing the man your son has become I am sure, and the relationship you share. Awesome!!
      bless you and Aloha!

  • I was so loving this women till this *I have a “I can check your phone, computer, etc anytime I want to–no questions asked.” This keeps everyone in check. Ladies don’t ever do this to your kids boys or girls if you ever want them to respect you. Relationships are built on love and trust and a mutual respect for each other they may only be kid but you have to let them invite you into there lives not demand the door must be always left open or the day they become old enough it will be closed to you for ever.

  • I love it. Feel like we might have been separated at birth. I have a 10 year old. (How is it possible that he is “double digits”, I just finished bathing him in my kitchen sink and singing “I Don’t Know Why the Sky is so Blue….. in the rocking chair and now he is practicing piano and writing letters to interview to be a helper to the second graders at his school…in Spanish no less!)

    Zack turned 14 this year. He is off to Savannah, Georgia for his 8th grade field trip and I have not talked to him for 48hrs for the first time in my life! I am proud of myself, he is responsible, he is smart, he has common sense and he knows that if he breaks trust he will not be going on other school trips in the future. He decided to room with 3 other the “smart, well behaved kids” and not necessarily his fun, silly not so “great at making life decision friends”….on purpose so he could avoid problems.

    My greatest joy is to enourage others. I like to think of myself as a catalyst to helping folks discover their passion joy. I just joined a group that is helping women to understand their worth called My Worth Ministries so I can actively pay forward all the great souls that helped me understand my worth.

    I am married to a Vice Pres of a major Medical Healthcare Co. and I am a past Hospital Administrator that decided to become a Domestic Diva because I couldn’t stand the thought of anyone else raising my precious amazing boys, who I would love to help become amazing men!

    Okay…looking forward to your posts. Am from Southern Calif, but not live in gorgeous North East Georgia 45 minutes out of Atlanta.

    Look forward to reading your stuff!

    Wishing all good things for you. Totally agree with your tips for teens. Professional forgiveness is a great way to live a peaceful, joyful life and it gives me lots of room to be me and I think is the key to growing our teens and ourselves.

    Have a great day!

    Your Reasonable Bible Belt Momma! Diana Wagner

  • Thank you! I love this post so much. It’s a great reinforcement of some things I already do and great advice about things I should amp up.

    One other thing I do regularly with my son is pray with him. Whenever I give him a goodnight hug, he often doesn’t let go of my hand and says, “Mom? Can we pray?” What a gift! It’s an opportunity to demonstrate faith, ask for wisdom, reinforce our need for grace and forgiveness together… the list goes on and on. It started with me instigating prayer together, but he obviously came to find it comforting and I can see his growth as a result.

    Thanks again for your wonderful post.

  • Is there a similar site for Dads?

    1. Good question Fred, but no-_YOU are welcome here! 🙂 I have a lot of men reading this, and my husband is helping me write a post “What a teenage boy needs most from his DAD” which should be out soon. MOST of my posts are very much suited for moms and dads, and even this teenage boy post I’ve been told is great for dads as well. (Sorry for the occasional “mom” post like what is up today, but that doesn’t happen all of the time. ;)) Keep coming back!

  • I loved reading your article. I am able to apply your advice to my 13 daughter no problem…unfortunately, my soon to be 13 year old step son and I are on completely different planets. He is very basic and quiet and lives with my husband and I full time and has for the past 6 years… we have a hard time communicating with each other all the time. He resents me as I do him for putting his “mother” on a pedestal even though she gave him up to enjoy her own life… this is are road block….needing advice….thanks so much for letting me rattle on…. Angela

  • Thanks very helpful , love the idea of hug day .

  • I cried when I read this.

    1. Shellah—I hope it was a good cry… 😉 Be blessed (your site looks really cute–checking it out now.) aloha!

  • I found so much comfort in reading this tonight! It made me smile and how do I say all warm and fuzzy inside. 🙂 I have 2 boys, 4 yrs. and 10 months! I dream of the day they are teenagers! After reading this article I felt as if what I was thinking and how I treat my boys were all correct. I let my 4 year old know I am here for him and that he can talk to me about anything in the whole world. I look at him now and think wow…he has already made me so proud…I can only imagine what the years ahead will bring! Thank you so much for sharing! I am saving this article I know I will be looking back to it from time to time as a reminder! Thank you again! God Bless.

  • Thank you for this well written article. My oldest is 11 now but I will keep this advice in my pocket. You sound like an amazing mother. Your kids are blessed.

    1. Thank you Jen!! Hopefully you were able to link to the Middle School boy post too!? It should be just where you’re at! So glad you stopped by and keep up the great work. Aloha!

  • So true, Great article! First thing I thought of is FOOD!!! They are bottomless pits! They can eat and eat and eat. (and I am So jealous!) I got used to never having leftovers because they would come along day or night and eat Another dinner! I had to make sure I was stocked up on yogurt, cereal, fruit and muffins ect to try to keep up. Good thing about it was I could chat with them while they eat.

  • I stumbled on your article just when I was thinking and asking myself, “where did I go wrong!”. My oldest child, a boy, is 16. Very warm, open and friendly, loving to talk…but doesn’t like responsibilities, duties and the like. I’ve been thinking that maybe I didn’t raise him well. Now I see that his is not an isolated case. I’m encouraged to keep praying and not give up! Thanks

  • I’m a brand new mom to a 16 year old – he’s a foster child that we are hoping to adopt by the end of the year. I am definitely seeing the impact giving him the things outlined in this article, even without the early-years investments to fall back on. It’s such a blessing to get to encourage him, hug him, laugh at his jokes, and praise the genuinely great things about him. I’m making up for lost time by letting him know how happy we are to have met him and have him in our family as much as possible.

    1. Wow Carrie! That is just awesome! I love what you’re doing, and it inspires me. Bless your heart–you are changing this boys’ destiny! Much aloha and I’m so glad you shared. 😉

  • I’m a dad… this was spot on. Enjoyed reading it from start to finish.

  • This was an excellent article and very true. I’m a single mom of two boys who are just now stepping into their 20s and those teenage years were exactly as you described. Most of the points that you put down there are exactly the ones that got me through those years. I’m proud to say that I have two fabulous young men in college and on great career paths today! Of all of the points, they would say “listening “was the most important to them!

  • Hi,
    I loved reading this, as a mother of 3, one boy 18, and twin girls almost 16, I feel that this applies to both boys and girls. All three are awesome, and some days can be a struggle we get through, learn and move on. As my husband and I do and try to do most of these listed, it’s always good to go back and revisit these you have listed. Thanks, I will save for future reference.

  • I am mom to 3 boys – two are grown and one is just entering teenage-hood (he’s 13). This is all soooo true!!!!! I *love* interacting with my grown sons now and BELIEVE me, we did some HARD work together 🙂 but they really are a joy to be around. I have no doubt my 13 y.o. will try me, but we have built a very close relationship, and I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel (if I can survive his brothers, I know I’m up to the task!!). Thanks for such words of wisdom!

  • This is a beautiful list!
    My son will be two years old in November, so I have a way to go, but like you said it goes by in the blink of an eye…
    Teenage boys need to be taught about consent in their interactions with girls. Explicit consent. This is crucial and goes along with leading by example. I have high hopes for our future generation, and raising boys who respect wholeheartedly respect women will reduce violence against women and sexual violence.

  • Love this and I will share it with my readers with a link.

    1. thank you Debbie! So nice of you! 🙂 Aloha

  • Both my boys need varying degrees of the things on this list. One needs more listening than the other, and one needs more direction. They both need all of them (great list btw!), but we adapt our role for their personality, age and needs.

    Love this! Missing the snuggles now that they shave…

  • T

  • Having raised 6 boys, I know exactly how you felt at all stages of their growing up days. All that you mentioned, I have implemented in their daily lives. BTW, we also had 4 girls. Same process for them just different situations and approach. Besides the boys watched over them. The one thing I would add, which I have taught many times: At age three start teaching the children how to work. The age they love to help, want to help, and the age that mom’s would rather do it themselves. Don’t wait until age five. Make it a part of their everyday living experience. Let them know how much you enjoy their help, not by paying them, or giving them things, but by how much they have helped and how much you love having them help. Having taught this in many seminars, if one does not know how to work, and have an opportunity to appreciate the ability to work, they will most likely become followers instead of leaders. As they get older, it is realized as the best self esteem builder one can give their child.

    1. By The Way….Boys have one more gene than girls. It is the DYN gene!

    2. Thank you do much for the comment. Wow–you’ve been a busy momma–I’m so impressed ;).
      Great thoughts and yes–work when they are young, I love it! Since this post was for the teen years I did save a dew things–if you check my site this week I posted about the elementary years and work is in there! Toddler years are coming soon and that is in the plan as well ;). Much aloha!!

  • I totally agree! I would like to add and emphasize that teenagers do not need you “less” than when they were small. They actually might even need you more depending on their personality or what is happening in their lives.

    1. Definitely so true

  • This is a great article. Good advice. Thank you.

  • I absolutely love this…I have 3 boys ages 21,11 & 5 I made so many mistakes with my oldest and I don’t want to do the same with my little ones….the one I love most is how you talk about affection I love hugging my kids & yet my oldest always would act uncomfortable when I would so I stopped because I knew he was going through stuff and I didn’t want to make him feel like he had to avoid me…I love my boys so much and want them to know that am always going to be there biggest fan & no matter what they choose to do in life even if I don’t agree I will support & love them unconditionaly….im so happy to have found this article it has truly made my day.

    1. Stacy–Thank you so very much. I’ve had so many people comment that this all still applies to boys into their twenties, so you might just keep it up with your oldest 😉
      Glad you came by and I hope you’ll stick around–Many more related posts will be coming! aloha

  • Thank you. This post helps me a lot. My son is 11 and I worry about losing touch with him now and when he’s a teen…

  • These are so right on! I have a 16 year old and we talk and laugh all the time. The greatest compliment I got was ” Mom, you and Dad aren’t like my friends parents you listen to me and don’t judge me based on the clothes I like to wear.” Apparently all of his friends hide out in their rooms (just like I did as a teen) while he is hanging out with us on the couch.

    1. Right on momma! (and rad dad!) I love that. Keep it up, and thanks for commenting! 🙂

  • Excellent article! All your points are valid and work…sometimes though it can take awhile to see the fruits. My son is now 25 and I actually did all these things you mentioned (NOT PERFECTLY EITHER) as a single Mom. He caused his share of trouble, paid the consequences. He is the father of a beautiful 4 year old son and when the mother exited the relationship a few months ago after 5 years, leaving the little one with my son and I, he looked at me with tears rolling down his face and said, “I couldn’t do this without you.” As we talked through the crisis, he realized that I had stood in his shoes 25 years ago (his father left our marriage when my son was 4 months old), that what I had to say was authentic…and fully realized that all those teen years of being his Mom? Those were authentic, too. Honest and authentic – they matter – grace and forgiveness – they matter – open arms – a must.

    1. Oh Guerrina-thanks for the cry this morning. 🙂 Absolutely beautiful. Sounds like you will be needed far into the future. That is what motherhood is all about. Keep it up and God bless you. Aloha

  • Hi. I’m a teenager who caught his this webpage open in a tab my mother had open. while I agree with most of what you said, I have some issues. For example, in the eleventh point, you said that you should act the way you want your son to be. and while I can sort of see where your coming from, I don’t think you should try and create your son. I think that you should let your son grow up to be who he wants to be, not who you want him to be, because that is the great joy of being a teen, being who you want and being independent. also, in side note 2, you said that you should have a rule saying you should be able to check their computers, phones, ect. with no questions asked. Again, I see where you’re coming from, but by putting a rule like that into play, it does keep them in line but it also seems like a invasion of personal space and it creates a “you can’t tell me what to do” attitude. I understand why you should check their computers, but i wouldn’t make it a rule. just take a look at his history every once in a while, maybe by saying: “hey, can I use your computer for a sec?” or maybe when he’s not home. and remember, strict rules create sneaky children. and finally, i just want to say that all teenagers are different, and you shouldn’t generalize every single one, because we’re not all the same. I hope i didn’t bore you but compare this to the article you just read and it shouldn’t seem so bad. 🙂 also mom if you’re reading this, i hope you don’t expect me to put this much effort into my schoolwork XD.

    1. Well thank you so much, my first teenage commenter! 🙂 I love hearing from you, and I think it’s great that you took time to read my post. I hope that you have such open conversations with your own folks! I absolutely agree that every kid should get to grow up to be his/her own person. I am simply suggesting (in #11) that parents ought to set good examples in a general way. Practice what you preach, etc…I think that is fair enough. 🙂
      And as far as computer rules and all of that–It is clearly something that each family needs to work out. Like I said in the post, in our home kids get more freedom as they prove more responsible. It is an earned thing.
      You made some excellent points and thank you so much. Much aloha to you!

  • I LOVE THIS POST. It is so bang on. Thank you so much. I have two boys – one turned 10 this past week, and a 14 year old for whom I am sure this was written!! 😉 I love this: “Sometimes our greatest job as Mom is to act like we don’t even notice.” That is sooo true! That motherly behaviour works wonders. It is when I “don’t notice” that he starts to come around and talk more about what is going on his life with his friends, and may even ask for advice. The ‘Boundaries’ part is the one I have the most trouble with. I absolutely agree with that, but I have a harder time enforcing it. My husband, on the other hand, follows this one to a tee and could have written that paragraph! He tells me I’m too soft… but parenting can be so tricky. I am most definitely going to subscribe to your site now.

  • So very true.

  • Great thanks.

  • Have 3 boys 19, 17 & 14

    sometimes i feel lost as i have to learn to let go.

    everyday i make sure they get a kiss or hug or both!

    look forward to reading your blog

  • As a mother of three young boys, ages 8, 4 and 2, this article made me tear up! Thank you for the advice. I hope I can remember these points as the years go by… it’s already going too fast and my oldest has recently started to pull away when it comes to hugs. Breaks your heart! I find myself sad about them growing up but look forward to what God has in store for them. Somedays I have to remind myself God gave me all boys for a reason and I hope I can maintain a special bond with them as much as mothers and daughters have when they are older.

    Thank you again.

  • Hi, my 16 yr old boy just told me that they have a student free day school next week and wants to hang out with his school mates and that he’ll be picked up by a friend whom I don’t know. We know the 2 boys that he mentioned though not that close. We just bump into them during parent teacher meetings with their parents. They seem fine. I told my son that I don’t want him to go. I don’t think that they will be supervised by any parent in the house where they are going. I don’t know the boys well enough to trust them though they were in my son’s chess team too. He said that they will just hang out and watch movie together in one of the boy’s house. The thing is I haven’t let my son go with his school mates to hang out, only when they invite him on birthdays with parent’s supervision in it. My son is insisting that he wants to go this time. Do I just stick on my initial decision of not letting him because they don’t have parent supervision? He’s telling me that I don’t trust him though I answered him that I do trust him but not the people he will be going with. How I know them is not well enough for me to trust them… He is still insisting on going. What will I do?

    1. Marla–Bless your heart…These are not easy days! 😉 Though I do not know you or your son my first thought is that you are the parent and you make the rules. he ought not argue with you about your decisions. Unsupervised homes are not a good idea unless you are 100% sure about things, so no way–I say stick with your decision! Perhaps you could create an alternative option–one that would be fun and safe…You driving he and his friends to a movie, or having them at your home. He may not like your idea, but rest assured you are doing your job: Parenting! 😉 Much aloha and keep it up. The world needs more moms strong enough to say no.

  • Lovely article and all appropriate! We have 3 boys (aged 16-21), as well as 2 girls, and I am so blessed to be their mother. Besides “training them up in the way they should go,” I think what has been most beneficial to our kids is a combination of freedom and grace. Here in the city, I too often I see parents who are afraid of what might happen to their children- or of what their children might do- so the kids don’t get to do anything. I think that outlook is especially damaging to boys, who have such a propensity to explore and conquer, Long ago, I realized that I had to overcome my own fears and reservations about letting them go out into the world so that my fear would not become their fear. For years now, I have explained to folks that I trust my kids to do what is right, but expect them not to. That outlook has definitely allowed for adventure and then allotted forgiveness when the occasion called for it. Today our sons are well traveled. They have crossed the country and the globe on their own, had amazing adventures, met some inspiring -and some curious- people, explored oceans, given impromptu concerts on street corners for cash, crashed motorcycles on foreign soil, gotten sick, gotten lost, and yet found their way home again for that hug and sense of place. I don’t think I know any more well-adjusted men than my boys.

  • Also—speak to their father with respect, and treat their father with respect, whether or not you are still together as a couple. Some single moms forget that their son will be a man, and one day a spouse or father—and if he sees scorn, criticism or bitterness from you toward his father, he will get the message loud and clear that his masculinity is dangerous or unacceptable.

    1. super good point Darrell, thank you! 🙂

  • But.. this would also apply to girls too?
    I can’t see anything that wouldn’t, how about you?

    1. Yes, Sam, I’ve been told by many people that this applies well to girls too! Since I only have boys, I thought I shouldn’t claim to be an expert. 😉 Much aloha

  • Hi there, I loved your article and I’m sure your advice is spot on but you had me hooked at “But really–I dig this stage. I feel like I finally understand why I had to go through the baby and toddler years: This is the reward. I mean, I love my kids at every stage, but certainly some years nearly killed me.”
    I have 3 boys aged 6, 4 and 9mo. I adore being their mum, I couldn’t love them any more than I do but wow, sometimes they’re hard going! And every day someone will look at them and say to me, “oh that’s the best age” or “oh wait till they grow up” with a raised eyebrow. It seems everyone loves babies and young kids but as they get older they just get harder work and more of a pain in the butt! (Which I’m sure is true sometimes of course!) I LOVED your enthusiasm for the older years, it’s such a lovely breath of fresh air. I love who my boys are now but I only look forward to the young men they are going to become, probably despite me rather than because of me!!!! But I’ll do my very best for them and I will now be following you and taking your advice too

  • This is a great post – but not just for teenage sons – sons of all ages! Once they go off to college and then later in life after taking a wife and having kids of their own, they still need us to pick them up, give some advise (they may still roll their eyes) and just a big hug every now and then. Nothing like a big bear hug from a grown man who is your son!

  • Wish I had known some of these things when my boys were teenagers I would have done differently. I was always so busy filling in for the father, I completely forgot that I was mom and mom only. However, I have another child (girl) who would be a teenager in a year and the youngest (boy) a teenager in 5 years.

  • I am a single Mom to my 15 and 20 year old sons and can honestly say they make me whole and are the best thing that ever happened to me. Open communication has been the crux of our relationship and they know they can discuss absolutely anything with me without being judged. I have the two most amazing young men and am so proud to be able to say they are my sons. There are hard times but as long as you keep communication channels open then the rewards are massive! Love you Kelvin and Keegan 🙂

  • You said it so well, I can’t add any thing more, except this goes for girls too. It is a tuff job.. but the most rewarding… when I look at my son today at 20 years old living his dream in the Airforce…We gave him his wings and he flew… but we know he is happy and we will start a new chapter with him when he finds his soul mate. I could not be more proud of our son and daughter.

  • I overheard my almost 13 year old son tell someone, “there is no greater feeling than when you ask your mom to play a video game with you and she says yes”! Make quality time by doing what they love, even if it is video games.

    1. Oh man, now I’m convicted! haha. 🙂 Way to go, Mom! I might have to think on that one today! aloha!

  • As the mom of two teenage boys, every one of these points rang so true to me. I love my teenagers so much and feel fortunate that I can say I truly like the men they are becoming. It is hard work to be a good parent and I know that I don’t always do the right thing with them but I sure do love them and I know that they know that. I think this is the most important gift I can give them!

  • Wow! How timely. I have two teenage boys I’ve been raising and just this week they’ve announced that they are not coming home after summer vacation with their dad, but are staying with him to try their hand with him. This is very painful as dad has been for many years brainwashing them and alienating me and doing everything in his power to let me and them know, I am an awful parent. This post is exactly what I needed to hear, because guess what, I do almost all of these things with my boys and I love my time with them and our relationships have really begun to thrive to more I apply these items to our relationships. I feel better about myself. I know that what their dad is saying about me and selling them is a lie and I appreciate God dropping this in front of my face today to remind me of what I have, who I am, and my love for my boys. I will continue to work on these things every opportunity I can even if its over Skype.

    1. Oh wow Kaylene…I’m sorry for that news, but it sound like you have such good perspective. Keep up the good work and all things will work out. Be blessed.

  • Loved your post. It is highly relevant to every aspect. I don’t have a teenager yet, he’s just on the edge (12). But I want to be one of the mom’s that’s prepared as much as possible so I’m not surprised with him when he changes 😉 I did have a hard time subscribing to your blog so if you could add me that would be great!! 🙂 Thank you!

    1. Thank you Jessi! I am working on a post for those just pre-teen boys now. I hope you’ll find that helpful as well.
      I am adding you as a subscriber now! Aloha…

  • Hello from South Africa! Your blog is awesome ~ thanks! I am Mom to an almost 12 year son, Caleb and an almost 2 year old son, Luke. They are my heart outside my body! Please add me to your subscription list: [emailprotected] Thanks, Laura x

    1. thank you so much Laura! So glad to ‘meet you’ here! I am adding you to subscription list now! 😉 Aloha

  • My husband and I have two boys, 19 and 15. We have tried to incorporate all these things into our parenting relationship as they have grown up. Sometimes it can be a challenge, but the rewards are huge! We are struggling right now with boundaries for our oldest. He attends a college that has no curfew, and he can come and go from his dorm whenever he wants. It has been difficult this summer to set and enforce expectations for when he should be home after hanging out with his friends or girlfriend. What advice do you have for setting this kind of boundary, when it seems to be “late in the game,” without damaging the good relationship we have built to this point. (This curfew thing is really the only area we butt heads on with this son.)

    1. Lisa, thank you for the comment! Good job raising two good boys! I can just imagine what you are going through–and I do have all of that ahead of me, haha. 🙂
      Honestly, I think as long as your son chooses to come home and live at home in the summer, it is very reasonable for you to set a curfew. It affects your sleep and your life if he is out late, so I do not see any reason you could not come up with a curfew (just be realistic!) If he really hates it, he can save the money and live elsewhere, which of course not what you probably want, but also a good reality check for him as he realizes all of the perks and family-love of being home.
      Most imp. thing I would say is to keep it very objective and not at all emotional. “You need to be in the house by midnight as long as you live here.” Or whatever you think is reasonable. Good luck and let me know how it goes! 😉

  • I enjoyed your work I’m a dad of 5kids n 3foster kids.1teen.any advice helps me♡my fam

  • I have an 18 and 16 year old sons. I have always been very open with both my boys. My 18 year old would always leave stuff laying out where it would catch my attention. Sometimes I would feel very awkward with notes I would find from girls he was dating in middle school. I think he did that so when I seen it I would go talk to him about the content and the reasons he should not follow through with some of the stuff that was in those notes. They want to know how you feel but don’t always know how to start a conversation about it so they leave hints for you to get the ball rolling. My oldest has gotten himself into some very bad situations just since he has turned 18. We have had a lot to deal with but it’s all a learning experience for us and him. Consequences are hard to swallow sometimes and less freedom is even harder but I Am a firm believer in responsibility. You must be responsible if you want freedom.

  • Thank you! I have a 15 soon to be 16 year old and I was starting to feel lost! It all makes sense now! I feel like I have some guidance I can use. Let’s just say Dad thinks son needs to just man up, but that never seemed like the right answer in my heart!

  • I’m trying to subscribe to weekly blog emails but I keep getting an error message. Can you please add me? Thanks!! 🙂

    1. Nevermind, I got it! YAY!

  • My sons and daughter are now grown and all are successful young adults. When they were in high school, I found that I could get them to talk more than usual when we went out to eat lunch or dinner. They enjoyed eating out and the conversation flowed well during those meals out. Also, I believe that most problems you will experience with your teenagers can be avoided by their choice of friends – choosing friends with good character and morals. I think that it is perfectly acceptable to restrict their interaction with those friends of theirs who do not have their best interest at heart. Their good friends will care about your children and not just about themselves.

  • Loved this article and exactly what I needed this morning! Do you have any books you would recommend for mom’s of teen boys?

    1. Thank you Lindsay! Hmmm about books, good question. I actually hope to do a post where I list some soon. Need to think on that for sure! (I’ve read a lot more for younger kids, and not so many for teens.) James Dobson’s book “Bringing up boys” def. gave me a vision in the early years and is still very practical! aloha

  • hi there, wanted to subscribe to your future posts, but looks like the subscription function is broken. thanks!

    1. thank you! I am subscribing you now, sorry for that glitch!

  • I have never followed or subscribed to anyone before, but I was very encouraged by your words. I have and almost 16 yr old son, I see glimmers of hope of the man he will become, but some days are challenging. I would enjoy reading more of what u have to say, please add me as a subscriber.

    1. Thank you Jamie, and I am honored! I just added you as a subscriber! Much aloha

  • Great article! Thank you so much for articulating what has been very hard for me to do in raising my son. I totally agree that this is the best time because you get to see what kind of personality and man is brewing in there. And, when you can truly laugh together over jokes and bond on the same intellectual level, that is priceless!

  • I really found this post helpful. I am trying to change how I see the upcoming years for my soon-to-be teenager (he’s 12 1/2 now). Right now, it feels like a loss. He has been a truly enjoyable kid so far, and I’ve grown addicted to his happy, sweet nature. He still has that, but as the teenage shift has begun, I see him smiling less and experiencing a greater range of emotions. I’ve been looking at this as a loss of my little boy, but you made me see that I’m truly able to enjoy his sense of humor more now (and he enjoys mine), and that maybe I should look forward to these next few years, rather than dread them.

    Please add me to your weekly email list. I received an error when I tried to sign up. Thanks!!

    1. Thank you Melody. I am actually working on a post for those tricky little years just before boys become teens…:) I hope you will find it helpful.
      I just added you to the weekly subscriber list! Much aloha. 🙂

  • please sign me up for – great stuff!

    1. thank you–I put you on the subscriber list. 🙂 aloha!

  • Great post! I’m still striving to practice these things… and my twin boys are almost 26! We have a great relationship and I’m so thankful for how God brought us through and blessed us with my parents (great support, wisdom, and prayers) and my husband, who provided good support to us as their step-dad.

  • I would like to sign up, but there was an error. I very much enjoyed this post as it relates to how I have always pictured and want to be as a mother to my son. I want him to feel comfortable around me and be able to come to me for anything. I want to be able to be there for him when as he grows. Subscribe me! Thanks.

    1. I am subscribing you now, thank you so much Xia!

  • Having trouble subscribing. Can you add me. Thanks,

    1. Thank you Darlene! yes, I put you on the subscriber list. Aloha!

  • With almost 13 year old twin boys, I thank you for this read. I love it. I may print it and read it daily to get me through. Such thoughtful insight, great writing. Thank you!

  • thank you so much, you just described so many of my fears! my boys are 11, and already spreading their wings! i just hope i am able to live up to their expectations instead of the other way around! my husband said just yeasterday that a teenage boys HARDEST years are just being… he had a very rough life as a teenager and is constantly worrying about them! so we will both be reading your posts!! thanks again!

  • Yep, mom of a young man. Just turned 18 last week, and is headed to college tomorrow. He’s the youngest, after 2 girls, and making the distinction between what’s good for girls and for boys has had some trial and error. The biggest thing for me is to make sure I know I’m raising a MAN, and letting him do the stuff that takes him there. Hunting, survival stuff, going off on the boat or jet ski alone. Be still my heart… But my fear can’t be a factor in raising a fearless man of character – he must be brave, so I must, also! After homeschooling his whole life, I can say that spending time has been the key. I have promoted his interests, traveled to Africa with him 7 times, been both cheerleader and bubble-popper (the truth is essential!), laughed, cried, held him when a friend committed suicide, talked always about following God. Boys are easier than girls in a lot of ways, but making sure he becomes a man is hard! (Yes, my husband is involved… But as a homeschooling mom with a working hubby, much fell to me!) Now, he’s off to college, and my role changes again. He seems to think a once-a-day “I’m not dead” text is excessive. We’ll see! 🙂

  • My boys will soon be entering the teenage years. We have recently gone through a divorce and I have been noticing changes in their demeanors. Which is understandable given all the circ*mstances! We have always been a close household and try to remain very open with eachother. I worry as I’m sure all moms and parental figures do. Love that there are sites like yours out here for people to come together with concerns and ways of sharing methods! Thank you 🙂 Please subscribe me*

    1. Stephanie. I am sorry for what you’ve been through. You will do fine through this, and you are wise to keep seeking good sound wisdom. Your sons will be strong as they see you are strong. Pray often, and you’ll keep finding wisdom! You are subscribed! 😉

  • Great suggestions. I would suggest adding to your list some honest discussions about human sexuality, the concept of consent, and delaying parenthood – tailored, of course, to your family’s particular moral standards. Sex is, naturally, something teenage boys spend a lot of time thinking about, and some guidance in this area, while perhaps difficult to get started on, will pay off in the long run.

  • Thanks I need help. x

    1. Hi Nicky! Assuming you mean help subscribing, I just put your name in the list! 😉 Much aloha.


    It was a long scroll down!

    I practice and preach this all. Every point!!!

    Thanks for this timely piece, it was validating for me. I know and I know that I know….:) Everything is well and good. Letting go of worrying because that’s not love. You know, worry and love are two entirely different frequencies. From now on I’m simply trusting the process. I love being a mom fourteen year old son and with a eight month old son it’s twice as nice. Many blessing Sister.


  • This should be “What every teen needs from his parents”. There is no difference here with sons vs. daughters or moms vs. dads. It’s all the same. Same old advice over the years for all teens growing up.

    1. so glad to hear that, Jim! My husband is helping me put together the “dad” version, and we agree–much of it will overlap. 🙂 Thank you, aloha!

  • Please subscribe me! I have two teenage boys and two more on their way. This article was fantastic!!

    1. Thank you Jennifer! Way to go mom of four boys! 😉 I am putting you on subscriber list now. Aloha

  • This is great… please subscribe me.

    1. Thank you! I just put you on the list! 😉 aloha

  • Great advice. My boys are 32 and 26. Do not regret one minute I spent sharing the things they loved to do or setting strong boundaries and expectations. I am the proud mom of two incredible young men. My best advise… give them room to be individuals, and never let them think they are too old to love their mom.

  • I love this! I was able to pick my son up from his first girl boy party. The boy did not stop talking about all the crazy stuff! Including truth or dare and the dynamics of the dares. It’s one of those times when you know 30 yrs from now he might not remember but I will.

    They require presence and patience!

  • Sure wish I would have come across this 10 years ago.

    1. Oh Stace…I’m sorry. Do you still have a relationship with your son(s)? If so there is still time to grow and build together. 🙂 aloha

  • Up until 2 years ago I was a single mom raising 2 sons now they are 25 and 23 but you have it right. I had a great communication with them very open and honest and did give them their space but made sure they didnt go to the darkside(drugs). I honestly dont know how I did it and there were mistakes but there were also alot of laughter and togetherness. They both graduated from college with very successful careers and I look at them with awe. They both are incrediable and smart and super funny with lots of stories of all the times they tortured me with their pranks. They are very close brothers with deep love for each other and look out for each other. Which is what I wanted. People ask me all the time how I did it. When I became a Mom I did it for life. To give them the love and caring they deserve and so far it is paying off. They insist we take a family vacation this year which is wierd…they really want to hang with me…Priceless

  • Please add me to your update list, it’s not letting me. I have a 14 year old son and this article is just what I’ve been looking for <3

    1. Thank you Jessica! Adding you now. 🙂

  • Hi. I have 3 sons aged 10, 16 and 17 the older two turn 17 and 18 in about a month. I have an amazing bond with my boys. My youngest is loving and always wants hugs and attention. My middle son is more reserved but when he needs to talk he comes straight to me no embarresment. My eldest is affectionate, loving caring and talks to me about everything. Im so lucky to have the relationship I have with them all. I am very involved in their lives. Which im very grateful for. I spend time with them and their friends. I trust them and they know the boundaries that come with the trust. Teenage years should be treasured just like the other years. So much changes and I feel they need u more now then ever. Dosent feel like it sometimes with their independence but I know whenever they need me they know for certain I will be there for them. . This article is awesome snd so very true.

  • From a stay-at-home dad: you rocked it! All your thoughts are right on the money. M.

    1. THANK YOU Marcus. That means SO much!

  • Great article! Thanks!

  • I have 4 boys, 21,20,18 and 14( today is my youngest birthday). While these teenage years have been challenging to say the least, these are the best years of my life. They have given me much much more than I ever imagined possible. Grey hair included!! Thank for this post. I’m sharing this with my people. It’s just good to read and solidify what you know in your heart to be true…… Xo

  • Hi there, awesome article, thank you. I have 15 year old twin son’s and it’s a huge challenge. I can’t seem to subscribe, can you help please. [emailprotected].

  • Pls subscribe me to all posts. I could not sign up on website.

    1. Gotcha signed up! 🙂 Much aloha!

  • I’m having troubles trying to sign in! I really enjoy the article

  • Hello, I could not subscribe. It said there was an error and to leave you a post here. This is the first time I have seen “What a Teenage Boy Needs” and it is coming at a perfect time for me. Hoping I can get signed up so I can receive future posts. Thanks, so much!

    1. Thank you Susan! I’m signing you up right now! 🙂 Aloha-

  • Hi,
    I would love tu suscribe. Please Add me as my email had an error occur.

    I have 4 kids I would love to read about siblings and teen age girls

    1. Thank you and you are subscribed now! 🙂 Look forward to sharing more with you, and hearing more from you! Aloha

  • I tried to subscribe and I couldn’t…please sign me up [emailprotected]

    1. Got you signed up Lara!! Thank you so much! 🙂

  • Love your writing!! I am a mom of an only child that just turned 12. Your articles are great! Please sign me up for weekly updates

    1. Thank you Missy. Signing you up now! 🙂 Aloha

  • I love your article. We raised 2 girls as parents and are now experiencing our second parenthood by raising (Guardian) our oldest grandson presently 9 yrs old. Entirely new and different experience from raising our girls, but he keeps us young and it’s been a learning experience to say the least! Thank you for the advice in your article! At least now I have some insight!

  • Inspiring!

  • Love this article. Entered the teen years with my oldest of four boys in June and love the encouragement that we have the right idea. It’s not easy though!

    Having trouble signing up. Got an error message. Can you help?

    1. Thank you, and hang in there–I think it gets more fun with time! 🙂 (and prayer.)

      I signed you up! aloha!

  • This is a fantastic article! I am having troubles subscribing. Can you help?

    1. Sorry for the glitch. I signed you up! 😉 Thank you so much.

  • Hi, I cannot subscribe. It won’t let me. Is it possible to help me?
    Kind regards
    Brigitte Urbach-Britt

    1. Thank you Brigitte! Yes, I’m signing you up now. So sorry for the glitch! aloha

  • How about a dad who has daughters version?

  • I tried to sign up for your updates! I was given an error. Can you please sign me up? Thanks

    1. Thank you Angie! Yes, I’m signing you up now. 🙂 aloha

  • I loved this post! Thank you! I have 3 teenage boys right now, ages 18, 17, and 15, as well as an 11 year old girl and 10 year old son. I often tell people that the teenage years have, by far, been my favorite years, and some people look at me like I’ve lost my mind! 🙂
    The conversations are so real, and teenage boys are so funny! My oldest likes to tease, and I love that!
    But the things that teenagers struggle with go so deep. I think one of the biggest things for my boys is that they know they’re not alone. Isolation is huge factor for people of any age, but I know teenagers struggle with this hugely due to hormones, etc. For me, everything comes back to God. He is my abiding peace and my absolute Rock. I point to Him first and foremost, and I’m then able to share my own struggles and connect with them. Recently, 2 of my boys were really struggling with different things, and it felt like my heart was ripping in two. But I continued to engage and gently push through, and I am incredibly grateful that both boys allowed me in. It’s worth the persistance! Thanks again for your words of wisdom! 🙂

  • Tell me its not too late. My boys are 16 and 13. Their Dad and I are separated. My favorite years were before the teenager years, and I’m really struggling with this. They are good boys, but I am really looking for ways to connect. Tried to subscribe, but it wouldn’t let me.

    1. Brenda, bless your heart. It is NOT too late. I’ve heard from every variety of situation in response to this–and every story is different. Keep loving them and enjoying them, and more and more bridges will be built. Thank you for sharing, and YES–I’ll get you subscribed now. 🙂

  • This is a great. I have a 22 yr. old son who now lives in NYC.(we live in FL) I can honestly say that were applied to us. We stayed beryl close, and I was very active in his activities, as well as my daughters. But my son still calls me and will ask for advice and tell me about his day, and discuss his career options. He has an awesome sense of humor and has been my lifeline through a bad divorce several yrs. ago. He has told me that I have been the best mom ever, and his best support system. But, he has also been mine as well.

  • Please sign me up! Would love reading more… Thank you.

    1. Signing you up now. 🙂 Thank you!

  • great post. i’m a mum of 4 boys and 2 girls. the boys are 24, 15, 10 and almost 5. the 24 year old is moving home this week, as his bestmate and roommate is moving overseas. He is getting married soon so it makes more sense to be here, save and plan, and to be honest, i’ve missed him, we all have the last 2.5 years. Today was remarkable tho….. he needed his mum. he farewelled his best mate and yet realised he had harboured a grudge (about another matter than the move) and had not forgiven his mate. he only realised today he had ruined the last 6 months with unforgiveness…and in his words, ” i thought i was the one with capacity- i’m the christian, and i couldnt forgive”… and he sobbed in my arms, something that probably last happened when he was about 16, when a girl dumped him the day of his final exams. in the end, you build the relationship and be the mum (or dad) you want to be for them. do i want to be one teaching forgiveness… then i must forgive… do i want to teach them how to listen to others? then listen to them… do i want them to love? then make love the priority… they really do become exactly what we make them. they may make different choices, but we can have much influence for good. great reminders on what is important from a wider perspective! and if you have ever torn your hair out at how it could all go so very wrong… remember, be there when they are down, and you will have a greater shot at being welcome when they are up! i LOVE and adore the little and big men in my life! (oh and my daughters (20 and 6) are both delights and surprises every day! but boys shut down with nagging quicker and so we must be extra vigilant to take every opportunity when they want to communicate i have found…..just as you said above… agree!

    1. Beautiful Ries–And you made me cry with that sweet story. Oh I do hope I still have that with my son as he gets into his young adult years! Precious. Thanks for sharing. aloha

  • Loved this post! Having trouble subscribing…what can I do? Thanks so much! 🙂

    1. I’ll get you subscribed! Sorry about the glitch. 🙂 aloha

  • I had trouble signing up, please add me! Thanks

    1. Sorry Lori. I’ll get you all set up as a subscriber. Much aloha

  • please add me. thanks

    1. You’re added, Tanya! 🙂 aloha

  • Thank you…thank you…THANK YOU!!!! I have a 13 1/2 year old boy and 10 year old daughter.
    I was laying in bed reading the article last night when I got to the section “A Listening Ear” so I put down my I pad and hung out with him in his room. He showed me some new Kendama tricks he is trying to master, we listened to some 80’s music (his choice) and he actually shared with me for the 1st time ever….he thinks a girl is CUTE!!!!!! Here we go……
    His life is all about surfing, SK8 boarding and riding his dirt bike. I am always reminding him how blessed he is and get so saddened when he seems to be selfish and unappreciative of all we do for him. Your article helped me see that that is “normal” for a teen boy. He will still has consequences for that behavior but I will try and have more GRACE when explaining why it’s disappointing to us.
    Thank you for this article, I came across it at the right time…just when I needed it! God is good!

    1. Oh I love that story Andi!! I could see me doing the exact same thing. We all need reminders. Bless you! aloha

  • I can’t subscribe…Says error occurred …

    1. Sorry about the error Brenda! I’ll get you signed up. 🙂 aloha

  • As the mother of 3 teenaged sons I learned these things from experience also boys just need to be boys sometimes but what works for one teenage boy won’t necessarily work for another the best thing you can do for your teenaged son or daughter is to just be there for them with love and understanding

  • I like it all! I just wanted to mention about talking to boys… At a great conference I went to I listened to a talk about “Difference between boys and girls Brains” anyway one point I took away was that boys are always moving so a good time to talk to them is when they are doing an activity they love … For example: playing hoops with them in the driveway, a game of pool in your basem*nt, ping pong, playing cards, while they are drawing artwork …. Whatever it is they like to do… And of course it got more technical but the ladies favorite was that there is a TWO second processing delay for boys brains, it takes them a pause to process what you are saying where as women’s brains are working (or have capacity ) to go in many different directions at once which is why we are good at multi tasking!! Thanks for posting!

    1. I love all of that Anne! Thank you for sharing.

  • Great points. I have one teenage son with four to follow. This post was an encouragement to me to keep going on as we are.

  • Have 3 sons..oldest just turned 20 & after 1 yr. at college has taken on the ” I’m my own boss & Don’t have to listen to you:

    1. Sorry had a glitch & didn’t finish my comment. ….my husband has always been the boys ( also have twin 18 1/2 yo) “friend” instead of parent so I’m the disciplinary parent. Oldest son has made bad juices in our eyes but “it’s just a guy thing” in some of the younger parents eyes. I doing everything I can to get him in the military (his plans after college before he started the “I’m an adult but don’t want to have responsibilities that come with it” attitude which husband is enabling. Can you say nervous breakdown?! At present I’m just trying to stay sane for the twins during their sr. yr. Suggestions please!

      1. Sounds like you’ve carried a heavy load, Debby! Hang in there…I would say that you have worked that hard, you have probably laid the best foundation possible, and now if you can just enjoy him the next year, you’ll always be glad. You can only do so much, kids grow up and make choices…Pray and guide but try to enjoy kids and they’ll keep coming back to you. 🙂 aloha!

  • I’d like to congratulate all your community on a helpful and kind hearted conversation. Thank you!

  • Could you add me to your weekly update list? Thanks!

    1. Yes! Doing it right now! 🙂 Thank you!

  • Having trouble subscribing

    1. So sorry, I just subscribed for you! 😉 Aloha

  • great article, clear and to the point, thank you…and i agree, they are hilarious! my son has me in stitches regularly. i found the times when we’re driving in the car are particularly great to talk with him one on one….often its really listening to him discuss his fascination with warhammer models – i honestly have no idea what he’s talking about (i lose track as its so complex) so i focus on the passion and this seems to work.

    two books that helped me to understand ways to relate to and accept the way my teenage son is, are ‘keys to the kingdom’ by alison armstrong and ‘the 5 love languages of teenagers’ by gary chapman.

  • Valuable information!
    Could you please sign me up to weekly notifications of new posts? The form didn’t work out for me.
    Thank you so much!

    1. Thank you Fyonna! Yes, just signed you up! 🙂 Aloha

  • I think u just saved my sanity! I have a 13 year old step son that has ADHD and his mom and step dad have taken him off his medicine! Every other weekend when he is with his Dad and I……I find myself feeling like I’m losing control! I have educated myself on the ADHD and how I can help him control it but felt like I was being a horrible Mom! I want that connection with him that I had when he was younger! Just reading this makes me feel better that I am doing something right and reminds me some areas I need to work on! I grew up with 2 sisters and I have a daughter so I’m still learning the boy thing! Thank u so much for your insight it is so much appreciated!

    1. Can u please sign me up for weekly newsletter I tried and got an error message! Thank you!

      1. Just signed you up for weekly notifications! Thank you!

    2. Thank you Amy! I’m sure you have your work cut out for you, and I’m so glad some of what I shared will be helpful. I grew up with all brothers, so I always say God must have known I wouldn’t know what to do with girls! 🙂 much aloha

  • Hi, thank you for this helpful piece. I am the luckiest mom in the world! My son is 14 &1/2 years old and has the manners of a gentleman, he is very funny and loves playing outside. We make jokes and there is usually roughhousing involved:-) He washes cars in our neighborhood for some spending money and he helps me in the house without me having to ask him. He likes playing soccer, his favorite sport is golf and he is very good at it. He has no desire to have a cellphone but loves to play PlayStation when it’s raining and he can’t be outside. He has a younger sister and a baby brother that is 19 months old. He takes him outside to play and when baby is sick in the middle of the night my son is alway first to jump up and see if he can help me. I can only pray that my other 2 kids will be just like their big brother!

  • I would love to get new post notifications. I tried to enter my email but it kept saying invalid email address.
    I love this…I have 2 boys and am divorced from their Father, he has poisoned my oldest son against me and I has been the hardest thing I have ever been through. My son is now starting to realize, I think, what is going on. Thank you for your encouring words!

    1. OH Msysti–thank you for sharing. I am so sorry. Your love and consistency will pay off I am sure. I just set you up as a subscriber. Aloha.

  • Love this! Having trouble signing up though. Thank you so much!

    1. Got you signed up! 🙂 Thank you!

      1. Love this article…have a 14 year old who has been in treatment centers since October 2011, he came home for good in June of this year…still pretty rocky around my home but would like to see your insights…thank you and can’t wait to read more

  • Trouble subscribing… Loved your article and could use all the encouragement I could get. Please help 🙂
    How did you get your boys to stop fighting so much in their earlier stages. I’m a mom of 2 boys, Jeremiah who is 8 and Ananias who is 7.

    1. Thank you Sarah! Soon I will be sharing a post about “the earlier years,” so I hope that helps. Some amount of fighting is normal, and ok, but keeping them busy (extra work/chores each time they have the “time” to fight, :)) is always good. Hang in there. I have put you in the subscriber list! aloha

  • Having trouble subscribing. My email is [emailprotected]

  • As not only a mother but a parent figure to step children, I found many of your points to be true. I enjoyed reading this and will be working on areas that have a need for improvement! I was unable to sign up and I am looming forward to reading more.

    1. I am making you a subscriber right now! 🙂 Thank you for your sweet comment!

  • I’ve read your post 3 times trying to get remember everything. As a mom of 3 young boys (6, 5, and 3) I do sometimes struggle with raising them and every day routine but I hope it will be well done job one day… you’re absolutely amazing mom. I wish I had so much patience …by the way I’m from Poland 😉

    1. Joanna! Wow–From Poland, so good to meet you!! Thank you so much. Very soon I will be posting my follow-up post about the younger years–Things I suggest doing to help the littler guys grow up so that CAN BE good teens! 😉 Check back for that over the next few weeks! aloha

  • I am a mum of 7 sons, aged 27, 24, 23, 21, 19, 15 & 13. My boys and my husband are my life. Your article was so spot on. In our experience the teenage years can be very challenging but immensely rewarding and such a privilege to share with our sons. It can seem hopeless at times but with patience, love( a little tough love at times), persistence, consistency and lots of laughs and hugs, the boys have always come back to their grounding and we now see the beautiful men they have become and are becoming. Thank you for encouraging others and giving us old hands the confidence to know we are on the right path. Warm regards, Debbie

  • What a great article! I have two boys aged 11 and 16. The 11 year old gave me a real run for my money when he was 6 – at that stage the only time I liked him was when he was sleeping when I would cry over the angelic little face and wonder what had gone wrong, but a bit of common sense advice and LOTS of prayer has restored that little angel to me and I get loads of hugs and kisses every day. My darling older boy has never given me much trouble and although I now only get sideways hugs (except when I press the issue once a week or so) and get kisses on the cheek, he’ll tell me 10 times a day that he loves me. As you said, crucial to get interested in what they’re interested in. They’re both sporty boys and I can tell you LOADS about cricket, cycling, running and rugby – although sometimes I just pretend I know what they’re talking about and then look it up on the net! Please subscribe me to weekly notifications.

    1. Thank you Sheena! You are doing SO great!! way to go! 🙂 Thanks for commenting, and I am signing you up as a weekly subscriber right now!

  • Would like to subscribe please.. Iget error message

    1. Sorry bout that! Signing you up right now! 🙂 aloha

  • I appreciate your comments. You seem insightful on the mother-son relationship to some extent, though I find it curious that you said nothing about a boy’s increasing need for masculine attention, ideally from his dad, and input as he moves from boyhood to manhood. (Perhaps you did in the comments, but too many to ferret through.) I understand the limited nature of your focus here, but saying nothing leaves me wondering would you suggest that a boy can become a man without his father’s significant and intentional input, or more bluntly, that a woman can teach him how to be a man? Or are your thoughts here to be understood as complementary to his father’s efforts?

    1. Mark…thank you, and I couldn’t agree more. Stay tuned for a “teenage boy/dad” post coming soon–Co-authored by my husband, (an amazing father,) who is also family-practice certified doctor. 🙂
      (when I wrote the post I planned to do many more along these lines…had NO idea it would go viral and be read as though it were my conclusive thoughts on raising a teen. haha, ya never know I guess!)

      1. Thanks for the reply. I look forward to the sequel. It sounds like I over read your intentions.

        If you’re interested, I’ve written some on the topic of masculine development for “The Blog of Manly.” I’m doing a series that began with “What’s Beckme of Manhood”, followed by “Take Back Manhood’s Noble Ground”, “Under Your Roof”, and “Behold, The Manchild” most recently. The Manchild was fresh on my mind when I read your article.

  • Unable to subscribe ….
    Please add me!!

    1. You have been added! 🙂 thank you so much!

  • Great article! I do many of those but got insight into a few I should be doing too.
    I tried to subscribe but there was an error, please add me 😉

    Thanks xx

    1. Just subscribed you! 🙂 Thank you so much.

  • Love this!


  • Hi I would like to subscribe but It won’t work. Thank You 🙂

    1. You are subscribed! 🙂 Aloha!

  • Hi, thanks for the advice. Pls sign me up. Many thanks, Heather

    1. You are signed up! 🙂 thanks and sorry for the glitch.

  • Hello! Was trying to subscribe to weekly posts but wasn’t successful. Identical twin 14 year old boys – thank you so much for your thoughts and information! 😉

    1. Oh, YOU have your hands full for the teenage years! fun though I bet!
      I put you in the weekly subscription! aloha!

  • I couldnt subscribe but I really would live to be added please.
    Thsnk you for this article you are like heaven sent I have 4 boys and oh boy this will def help

    1. Thank you so much Karla! I have added you to the subscriber list. Much aloha

  • My son is now 24 (where did the time go??) He has Asperger’s Syndrome, which makes parenting him a little more challenging. I still found all of these techniques to be invaluable during his teen years (and before, as well as after teen years). He has now decided to go to university to become an anthropologist…a huge step from the young man who refuse to even THINK about higher education a few years ago!

    The only thing I would add to this list would be Don’t be afraid to admit you are wrong and say sorry. It will help keep those walls down, and lines of communication open. We are all human, we all make mistakes and our boys (girls too) need to see how to make an effective apology.

    Oh, and as a side note these tips worked just as well with my girls. Thanks for a great article, grommom.

  • Please add me to your email subscription. Thank you.

    1. Sorry for the hassle, but I added you to the list! 🙂 aloha!

  • I also have a Josiah(18) & Jonah(14), lol!
    My boyz are 24, 22, 18, and 14 (&12 yr old girl) I can relate to most of what you have said and crazy even tho they have the same blood, all are SO different from each other. You would think I have it figured out by now but…NOPE, still learning. Biggest struggle is my 18 yr old has always been the selfless giver, never asked for anything, always content with life & very happy go lucky, make everyone laugh kid and suddenly he has become a very selfish complainer. It just started less than a year ago and I am at my wits end. I miss the heart he used to have.

    1. Oh that must be so hard to take! I can’t imagine seeing the selfless one become selfish…(ouch.) I’m gonna give you my best guess that it is a stage and he will probably be very convicted one day and realize that he is more miserable acting like that…but give it time and prayer and see. (and do report back!:) Much aloha!

  • Great article and oh so true! I tried to subscribe but an error occurred.

    1. So sorry about the error. I put you on the list! 🙂

  • Great article. I have several additions:

    I agree with the addition of “family time” and “one-on-one time” are both critically important.

    Also, knowing your kids’ friends! I love when my house is full of kids, and I can see for myself who my kids’ friends are!!

    I tell my daughter, 17, that “My job is to know where you are and who you are with.” I insist on that, but work very hard to NOT tell her where she may go or whom she may be with. Next year she will be at college, so I regard this as a progressive transfer of judgement and responsibility to her, while I am still here to confer with.

    When she reached the age that her friends were driving (and later she was) we talked about the “ABSOLUTELY NO DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE” rule, which applied to being a passenger of such a driver. I told her that if she called in the middle of the night and asked me to come get her, I would, no questions asked. In this age of cell phones, we even developed a code, that she could call me and make it sound like she was ordering a pizza, giving the delivery address where I would pick her up, if the situation was tense. She has never needed to call me, and I attribute this in great part to the face that she knew how very, very important this was and has avoided all such situations.

    On the topic of sex, my approach has been to share with her my values and hopes for her behavior, but also to recognize that ultimately the decision is hers. Growing up in a rural Catholic community, I saw too many girls avoid responsibility for the decision (“I was drunk”, “It just happened”, or even to semi-consciously put themselves in the situation of date-rape). The result was of course often miserable. I would rather my daughter be given permission to make a conscious, responsible, mature decision. Statistics have shown girls whose parents take this approach are more likely to delay sexual activity and to use protection. As far as I know, my 17 year old isn’t yet sexually active, but I trust her to make good decisions for herself.

  • Monica – loved your article! You inspired me to do my own post about teenage boys and the moms who love them. You hit the nail on the head with each and every topic. New subscriber via Feedly here!

  • I’m having trouble subscribing.
    Thank you

    1. I just put you in the system! Thank you so much! Aloha

  • Though I completely agree with every point made, I’m not sure why the title isn’t What Every Kid Needs From Their Mother….nothing that you’ve said is specific to boys – they all apply to girls completely.

    1. I’m so glad to hear that Qwerty! I guess I wasn’t confident enough to say that because I don’t have girls..but I WAS a teenager and you’re right–I agree! haha. That is great news! (Feel free to pass it on to friends w/ daughters!)

  • Loved the article and all the comments. I have 4 teenagers in my home ages 13-17 and was able to see some great points. Thank you so much for taking the time to share.

  • I just read your article and would like to subscribe to the weekly notificication. It gave an error, could you sign me up please?

    Thank you in advance,

    1. Sending you weekly notifications! 🙂 Thank you so much!

  • Our two sons, now 37 and 31 are wonderful men and we didn’t have drug issues, etc. with them. One thing I did that I think REALLY made a huge difference was this: I never went to bed until they got home. I was always up and available to talk and when they would come in, we talked – often and many times for hours into the middle of the night. I was fortunate to be an at home mother and I think that was also a huge reason our boys turned out so well. We talked about girls and their heartbreaks, etc. and I always taught them to trust the Lord throughout all their trials, no matter how hard. Another thing I did for all my kids was I showed them that I trusted them. I knew their hearts and because I knew they weren’t wild children, I never gave them a curfew. I always told them “Have a good time and don’t be too late.” They KNEW what “too late” meant! I told them, “I will ALWAYS trust you until you give me a reason NOT TO!” I also told them “Once you loose a person’s trust, it’s very hard to get it back, so don’t do things that will make me not trust you, because I WANT & DO trust you!” That’s showing that you respect them.

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    1. I’m putting you in there right now! 🙂 Aloha and thank you Jennifer!

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    1. Thanks Jan! You’re all signed up now! : ) aloha

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    Loved this article! Please add me to your email list. Thank you!

    1. Thank you Meredith! Just added you, thanks for your patience! aloha

  • I love your page. Great information!

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    1. thank you! Adding you right now! 😉 Aloha!

  • Please add me to this site as I too have a teenage boy but the site won’t allow me to finish.

    1. Got you taken care of Connie! 🙂 Aloha!

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    1. Weekly updates, coming your way! 😉 Thank you Amy!! aloha

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  • Great article, couple things I would add: How to treat a woman. As a single mom of 3 boys I made sure my sons knew to treat a woman with respect, as an equal and protect her under any circ*mstances. In my house if they laid a finger on their sisters they were in big trouble. (even if she started it) Manners etc started young, as soon as they could open a door. I remind them still that their GF is to be treated with respect, even if she doesn’t act like she wants it. (that’s a whole other topic!)
    2. How to date. In their teens and college, kids have more freedom and I wanted to be sure they knew how to treat the opposite sex while dating BEFORE they left home. Dating a young woman because she’s beautiful but has no other redeeming quality, dating someone who doesn’t believe in God or who has opposite values etc is a losing proposition. Why would you bother? We talked about all aspects of dating and above all, respecting themselves. (thats not just for girls). So many teens think sex is a form of entertainment rather than the most important thing you can share with someone you love. I also used to tell them before that thought enters their heads, are they ready to be attached to that person for the rest of their lives? One unintended pregnancy and you are in it for life. I also have consoled them on getting dumped and let them know that it is all part of life but nobody should be someone’s second choice. I remind them of their positives (even though I may be a bit biased) and let them know its OK to feel bad. At some point though you move on because THE ONE is probably out there breaking up with HER BF or also getting dumped. She’ll be looking for THE ONE as well. Choose a partner who loves you for you and unconditionally. Recently a mom of one of my sons GF’s thanked me for raising such a good and respectful young man. I’d say when the moms of daughters thank me…I must have done something right! Keep up the good work, love the article!

    1. Oh yes–SO many great thoughts there…And indeed that could be a post (series!) of its own so I’ll tuck it away in my back pocket! 🙂
      My boys are on the younger side of the teens, and so far dating isn’t even in their lives, but I’m sure it won’t be long…Thanks for your awesome, wise words!

  • My only child will be a teen this fall so this is great timing! I’m checking out the MOB Society too.

  • Love your article and couldn’t agree more with each point. I too have sons age 13 and 15, and love seeing the mini-men they are becoming! I also have a 25 year old daughter and can attest to the fact that raising boys is VERY different than raising girls…especially in those awkward teen years where they’re trying to find their way. My 15 year old son has Asperger’s which throws a whole different challenge into the mix, but my husband and I try to stay consistent with open communication and letting them try to figure things out while knowing we are always there for them. We’ve always strived to be the home where friends feel comfortable coming even if the boys aren’t there.

    One rule that we’ve always played by is this: We (Mom and Dad) will never embarrass you in front of your peers, and in return don’t ever pretend you don’t know us! I will never ask you for a kiss or a hug in public unless you come to me first; I will never wipe your face with spit on my thumb, or say anything that would embarrass you in front of your friends or peers and I will save the lectures or 20-questions for private. We will respect your cool dude status with them as long as you don’t turn your back when you see us, or avoid acknowledging that we are sharing the same air when we’re within eye shot of one another. We try to teach that respect goes both ways and that acknowledging us not only shows respect for us, but also shows their friends what a healthy relationship with a parent can look like.

    Finally, I tried to subscribe to your site but it failed. Would you mind adding me, please? Happy parenting!

    1. I love all that you shared Glynnis!! Thank you so much.
      Adding you to subscribers as well. 🙂 Aloha!

  • Thank you so very much! I’m a mother of 2 teenage boys 15 going on 16 in less than a month, 13 1/2 yr old boy and a 6 yr old daughter. I would lie in bed at night thinking how can I wake up and be a better mother? It’s tough raising teens… They are great boys thankfully but there’s never enough time spent with your children. I read this & it felt so real… I was reliving my everyday life… Thanks for all your advise; I guess I’m on the right track =) Looking forward to receiving new updates regularly.
    Thanks again!

  • Thanks for the article!
    Please add me to your subscriber list as my submission errors out. 🙁
    Thank you so very much.

  • Couldn’t subscribe, so there’s my email 🙂 Loved this article..I have a teen daughter at the moment and my son is only 12 so still lets me hug on him a little bit, but I can see the signs of ‘okay, mom!’ The younger years were easy peasy for me, but NOW I could use a helping hand! Thanks!


  • I enjoyed reading everything you wrote. It is valuable and spot-on information. Two things I emphasized as a parent going through this teenage period of my two kiddos’ lives (now 31 and 26) were to choose their friends carefully. And that anytime they were in a tough spot of peer pressure, they could use me as their excuse to get out of those situations. My dad would kill me…etc.

    1. Oh so good Bill! Thank you. In a different post I shared one of my favorite quotes I use on my boys “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” So true! Thanks for commenting!

  • I have raised two girls, now successful, independent women. Your very good advice applies to raising girls, too, and I would add that when you’re wrong, admit it and apologize. No one is right all the time, and in moments of anger, fatigue, or fear, we all do and say things that later we wish we hadn’t. Never be afraid to ask for forgiveness when you mess up; you’ll get it. There’s nothing like your child putting their arms around you and saying “That’s OK, Mommy.” (One of my daughters would pat my shoulder consolingly.) That’s how they learn to apologize with grace and sincerity when they are wrong. Children learn what they see, we all know that.

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  • Hi there I tried to register but it failed. Could you please add me to your mailing list and updates. Thank you very much.
    Kind regards

    1. I just added your name…You ought to get an email asking you to “confirm subscription” soon. If you don’t, please check back. So sorry, I’m trying to get this resolved! 🙂 ALOHA

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    1. Thank you for letting me know! I’ll make sure you get on the list. 🙂 Aloha!

  • Thanks for this article! My boys are still itty bitty- 1 and 3.5, but I love reading things like this to prepare better for the future. Please add my email to your subscription service, I’d love to hear more, especially the father version of this article!

    1. Thank you Sarah! You are SO WISE to start thinking ahead. The years do fly, and you won’t forget the things you learn when they are little!
      I added your name to the subscriber list, so you ought to be getting an email to “confirm” soon. If you don’t, please let me know! Sorry, and aloha!

  • Hi my name is Joann, I am a first time reader. I am trying to sign up, however, There is an error message. What should I do? I am so excited about reading more of you blogs. I am a parent of a 13 year old boy.

    Thank You


    1. Yes Joann, I will get you signed up! 🙂
      So sorry about the glitch–I’m trying to get it worked out now! You should receive an email confirmation, but if you don’t get something from me in the next day, check back in. Thanks so much for stopping in! 🙂 Aloha

  • Well hello ladies. When my son turned 13, I wondered where my real son went to… this boy was talking back and often would take a mile when given an inch. It’s been a tumultuous ride since then. He’s 18 now. I’m a single mom and have a daughter 16 also, who is much easier to parent than my strong willed son. I’ve had a lot if growing pains myself. The funny thing is, that I still hear compliments from other parents about my son—he is well-liked.

  • Was trying to subscribe for updates but got an error. Would love to get the notifications so sign me up 🙂

    1. I will sign you up! 🙂 So sorry for the challenges w/ subscription. If you don’t receive something in the next day check back in. Thank you so much and Aloha!

  • As a WAHM of 2 boys (18 yo & 15 yo), I absolutely LOVED this article! I also really enjoyed reading so many of the comments from other Moms. It truly takes a village to raise a child now a days and I just love a honest, ethical, common sense approach. There seems to be so many other like minded moms following you and I am thrilled that one of my dear friends shared this on FB. I definitely plan to share on my FB page too and head over to the MOB Society site to connect with others. Thank you so much & blessings to you all! ††

  • Hi Monica. I really enjoyed your post. I too am a home-schooling mom that lives in paradise(San Diego)! We visit Kauai every other year as God has blessed us with a time-share on Poipu. We schooled my daughter from 1rst to graduation and she has grown into a beautiful young woman of 19 who teaches piano to young children and is a Jr. High leader at our church. My son has also grown into an amazing young man who along with surfing and teaching guitar is a worship leader at our church and in his spare time writes worship music. I tell you this not to brag but rather to encourage you to go the distance in your schooling because you will reap the fruit of everything you do. Blessings to you and your family and Mahalo for your blog!

  • A chassity ring to remind him that his body is God’s Holy Temple and we must keep our bodkies pure for future our mates/spouses.

    He must believe you really do know when he went through a stop sign or drove too fast. (This will work at least on the first one.) He must believe your head spins all the way around.

    Rules are okay, in fact, rules are great. Your sons will actually feel safer with rules.

    Mom you PRAY and you pray and you pray. Sometimes you know not but you know something’s just not right, could be in your gut, could be in his tone of voice, he may no t even be home. You pray and you pray and you pray. It will be okay, somehow it just will. God is with us.

    Good Luck and Have a ton of fun.

  • Grommom, I saw this link on my facebook, checked it out; you’ve made excellent points and suggestions! Being a home school dad of 5 children, 3 boys, I’ve got one thing to add; Let them be and do the stupid boy things that mom’s don’t understand like get in a fight to protect themselves, their honor, or someone else. Win, lose or draw; they learn much. Along with this don’t baby them too much as they get closer to 18. This is a true saying, “the boy has to die for the man to take his place.” Many mom’s never get this and attempt to keep the boy, and then the man does not come. Much blessing to you.

    1. Thank you Travis–those are all awesome points! I’ll make sure my husband reads it as together we are working of the “Dad” version of this post. 🙂
      Funny, I was trying to decide whether to let my middle school son skip a grade, and as i balanced the pros and cons my wise friend (who also homeschooled her slightly older boys,) said “If you can, push him ahead–You don’t want to be homeschooling an 18 year old man.” haha. I totally get that. 🙂
      Much aloha and thank you for your wise points!

  • This was an awesome read!! I have been a mom for 31 years..a single mom for 8..It is a whole different ballgame being a single parent,,my last is 15. His father is not involved in his life and lives 3 hours away,,which is sad to me..First I had to get my life in order by the power of God..I had a lot of changing to do to be what my son needs me to b . We are on this journey together and I treasure it!! I can’t b mom and dad that is why I rely on Gods strength and wisdom..Thank you blessings to all us moms!!

    1. Mary–You sound like an amazing woman. I hear your heart through you words…Bless you. Keep up the good work. God is enough and I am sure He is doing a great work together with you. 🙂
      Much aloha and thank you for your kind comment!

  • Thanks so much. I have four sons ages 10, 8, 5, and 4. I need all the help I can get. lol I loved this article.

  • Thank you for this blog. I’ve passed it along to my wife for her to read. We do not have teenagers yet, our boys are 6&8, but I want to be prepared for the challenges ahead. Do you have any Dads of boys blogs that you’d recommend?

  • Excellent article. One thing I would add is that, like all in all things, we are all different. Don’t feel bad if the teen years are not your favorite as it seems for this author. Some mothers look upon the earlier years as their favorites, some the baby years, etc. The late teen years were pretty hard with one of our sons, the middle school/jr. high for one, and the other was pretty easy. So if you read this and were dismayed, don’t be. What the author lays out is still wise even if your outlook is not quite so cheery. You will get through it. Almost all boys grow up to be men. We just have to be the best mothers we can be and ask God to make up for our deficiencies. By the way, my “boys” are 44, 41, 32. Some things change through the decades but much more stays the same. 🙂

    1. Super good points, Gwen. I have felt guilty in the past when my friends “LOVED” the baby years and I half enjoyed them and half endured them…haha. We are all different. Great point! Way to go on raising up your boys into men! aloha

  • Enjoyed reflecting on these points..I have a 14 and 15 yr old and it is helpful to see my feelings and thoughts summarized in your blog :-)This could also be a ” What teenage boys need most from their dad”..isn’t it ? I would love to find one to share with my husband .

    1. Thank you for this! And yes…My husband, whose role is enormous in my boys’, life is helping me write the follow up “What a teenage son needs most from his Dad.” 🙂 check back for that in the coming weeks! aloha

  • Can you please sign me up? It won’t let me subscribe!

    1. Jennifer-Yes, and I’m so sorry for that…Just check back in if you do not get a “confirmation of subscription” email today. 🙂 I’m working hard to solve this prob! aloha

  • I don’t think we can underestimate the impact our relationship with “Dad” has on our teen age boys and the way they see themselves in the world. Do you ever really look at yourself and how you treat their father? What is your style when it comes to disagreements, solving problems, spending money? What is your son learning from watching you and Dad interact? Actions speak louder than words and if we want to teach our sons to love and respect and to feel loved and respected, then they have to see it.

  • I am having trouble subscribing

    1. Thank you Connie. I’m adding you to the subscriber list, and it should send you a “confirmation” email shortly. If you do not receive it, please check back. SO sorry for the inconvenience–I’m trying to get this problem solved! 🙂 Aloha!

  • Enjoyed reading this…
    My boys are grown and daughter are grown. Did many of the things you mentioned. Parents must also remember that no matter if their child followed your rules and example set; no cussing, no drinking, no drugs….there may be those kids that rebel. Once grown, then do everything you yourself never did or would not allow. Once adults, some may ask “what happened…they weren’t raised that way”. No, they weren’t. But as I told mine, you do what I ask in my house. Once you are a legal adult and fail to follow my advise and make choices, you have to be the responsible one for those choices. For example…I always told mine, if you end up in jail through your own actions…don’t call me. You get a speeding ticket and don’t pay….that is your responsibility, not mine. Sounds harsh but how they are raised…with rules, finding their way, with love, just as in your article, some decide to go the opposite way. Parents, once your child is an adult, their actions fall on them….not you. Be there to always love but you can’t dig them out of the hole they put themselves into. If you hear your child and even your adult child say “I hate you” don’t worry….then you know you must be doing the right thing. They do like the direction, but like to argue the fact. They also think that as an adult they can do what they want. True, but those dicisions come with responsibility…… and sometimes your adult “children can’t handle that” but think they know everything. Then you tell them you love them, your rules in your house remain and if they can’t or won’t follow that, its time for them to go.

  • These are definitely some great points to remember, especially as I have a son that’s about to turn 13 in a couple of months.

    My 17 year old step son recently came to live with us because his mother cut him out of her life due to a few bad choices that he had made. This, in turn, caused him to act out even more to the point that he’s now out of control…and ours to handle. I try to love him as much as I can, but I’m no replacement for the love and bonding that he’s missing now from his real mother, who won’t even allow her own son at her home anymore. So, I could probably write a book covering the opposite end of the spectrum; what happens when a teenage boy doesn’t receive any of the things from his mother that are listed in this article. I know firsthand just how important these things are.

  • I am the mom of 3 boys, 17,14 and 12. I love being the mom of teenage boys! They are absolutely hilarious! Love this article, spot on! Thank you!

  • I do agree with the part about modeling behavior. So many preach “do as I say, not as I do”.
    My thought was the only job more important than loving your kids is your Marriage.
    I have also reminded some moms that discipline is not punishment. That is what consequences are for. Discipline is teaching, from Latin derivative disciple. Boys need that. Without lecturing, every moment is a teachable one.just a few words will suffice.

  • Awesome tips my son is three and I’m still trying to set that foundation. He is very testy :/
    I tried to subscribe [emailprotected]
    Thank you

    1. Thank you Emily. (My 4 yr. old is giving us a run for our money. :)) I’m w/ ya!
      I will put your subscription in…If you do not get a “confirmation” email today, would you be so kind as to let me know?
      No idea what has happened to my subscriber setup, but I am seeking help on it now. 🙂 aloha

  • Our youngest son, who is 23, married and expecting our first grandchild – sent me this post and said what every mom wants to hear – Mom you did this for me.
    My husband and I have raised 3 amazing men. We are on staff at our church (husband is one of the pastors and I’m the Children’s ministry director) for 18 years and the question I am asked the most is how did we survive 3 boys. Our goals were that- they grew up to know and love Jesus – check. They were a blessing to others who knew them – check. They were respectful – check. I also tell young moms – it takes a lot of work when they are little but it pays off. We also enjoyed those teen years. Yes there were some challenges along the way but because the foundation had been set when they were little guys – it made those challenges MUCH easier. I love being a boy mom and just found out this first grandchild is a boy! Nervous for the first granddaughter that will be very uncharted territory.

    1. I mailed this post to my Mom too. I hope she enjoys it as much as you did. In our case, I’m the oldest and my Mom has a 13 and 15 yr old left at school, but I feel the same way as your son, ‘Mom, you did Great!’.

  • Having trouble subscribing to your site.

    1. I’ll get you in there. So sorry about that! If you do not get an email “confirmation” today, please check back. I’m having someone help me solve this prob. 🙂
      Thank you and aloha!

  • Wow! I was so meant to read this tonight! My 3 teenage boys & I have a good open relationship. I’ve been criticised often for being too much of a friend. Not being tough enough. Giving them too much of my time, energy (& taxi service) At 13,
    15 & 17, I love the chaos!! haha I get sad to think it will end soon & they’ll be gone.
    Think I’ve tried to be mum & dad for them as he was a cruel & narcissistic bully. I escaped from him when my eldest began speaking at me with the same nasty tone.
    Have now found an amazing man who loves me & has taken on the ever thankless role of stepdad. Of you can offer some support for stepdads, that would be awesome! They are in a tough place & deserve more respect. I’ve subscribed to your email list. Warm regards. Leanne*

  • Thank you! I have a 13 1/2 yr old boy, my only child, and my heart. He’s entering 9th grade, which saddens me to think of only 4yrs left, and he knows it. We have a very good relationship, but I know things can rapidly change with teens. I will be sure to continue the things I do from your list and other posted suggestions, as well as those I’ve yet to try. I work a lot, travel included, so my focus has always been about quality time. I prefer to have his friends at our house, and he knows it’s so I always know where he is and who he’s with. They are great kids, and often very entertaining with their jokes and conversation. Please add me to your subscriber list as my submission errors out. Thx again.

    1. Thank you Tiffany! Sounds like you’re juggling a lot with great skill! Keep it up and he will continue to do great in high school.
      I am adding you to the subscriber list–sorry for the challenges. If you do not get a “confirmation” email today, please do check back. I’m seeking help for this little glitch. 🙂 aloha!

  • I’m having trouble subscribing and keep getting an error message. Are you able to sign me up please?

    1. I am adding you to the subscriber list–So sorry for the glitch in the system.
      If you do not get a “confirm subscription” email today, please check back. I hope to have this fixed ASAP. 😉 Aloha!

  • My son is only 6. We have an awesome relationship. We laugh we talk and we play. I agree with all of your points. If you want that great relationship later. You have to build it now. I want him to know me now so when he is going through difficult times later he knows I am here for him.

    Thanks for the advice.

  • OMG, this is exactly why I have a great and open relationship with my son. He is now an adult but we can still communicate and he is always there. He is in the Navy and soon heading to Great Lakes, IL for his next duty station. He WANTS his mom to visit so I will go there as soon as I can. Thank you for sharing your insight.

  • Wow….I found this on Pinterest and clicked on it, fully expecting some sappy, trite parenting crap (as a mom of 10 I have encountered a lot of “crap” on parenting blogs, forums, books, magazines, etc), but every one of these was so spot on. I would say they also apply to teenage girls. I have 5 teenagers at home right now and I can honestly say that they are my best friends, thanks, in no small part, to doing things like those you have listed here! Just awesome! I found myself nodding at your description of teen years being the reward-so true! Just wanted to say kudos to you for the job you’re doing and for so perfectly articulating the thoughts and feelings I, too, have. 🙂

    1. Hello–Mom of ten!? I might take this as the greatest compliment of all so far…haha. I’m truly honored that you even took time to read. And couldn’t love your words any more. 🙂
      I happen to be jealous of you–At 43 (almost 44,) my husband and I still occasionally considered having “just one more!?” Oh I love them all so much. Enjoy and thank you again! Hope you’ll stop back and offer all of us advice any time! aloha

  • As a dad. My sons and our relationship maybe a little different. But this is good info for me too. Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much Steve! My husband and I are actually working on a post for Dads…and yes, much of it will overlap for sure. Most importantly–You take the time to read and care–That sets you apart from 99% of the dads (or more. :)) Much aloha and check back for the dad post soon. 🙂

  • I am a grandmother of nine grandchildren and have two grown boys of my own. They are entirely different. The oldest I had the most problems with but he is hard working and has had to raise four children with family help since his wife left him when the youngest was two. This one is now sixteen and has had problems in school every since he has been in school. His mother kept him in his crib or highchair practically all the time unbeknowing to my son who worked two jobs and worked his main job at night therefore sleeping during the day. I have seen the goodness in my grandson and want so for him to settle down and do the things he knows are right. However he’s rebellious and thinks he knows more than anyone else. He has also gotten in with the wrong crowd at school and smokes what he shouldn’t, nothing hard but certainly could lead to other things. He will tell you what you want to hear and go on doing what he knows is wrong. I have almost come to the conclusion that he will have to fall hard to wake up, however I don’t know what that would be so I am afraid for him. He’ s a hard worker with his hands and will do things that he sees needs to be done without asking him to do them. However, he won’t do them at home for his Dad. My son says he has tried everything he knows, but I do know that he is short on patience. I can understand that at time because I as of late don’t know what to do. He needs more supervision that I know because my son still works at night. All in all I do a lot of praying. I am seventy years old and my health is not good, and I want so much to see him do well. Any suggestions?

  • Very helpful article .
    my son is 151/2 and is a quiet one. we haven’t had any trouble so far,but l often wonder whether lam meeting his emotional needs.

  • I loved this article, thanks so much for sharing it with us!!! One thing I started many years ago when my son was in 2nd grade was asking how his day went. Now you can imagine the answer I got, nothing, what did you learn, nothing, etc. so one day I pulled the car over and said I was going to drive back to the school to ask his teacher, what do you do all day?!?! Then he opened up, well we did this in math, I ate lunch with so and so, etc. I’m not kidding when I say we have continued this each school day, and next month he will be a senior in high school. Now as we are checking out University’s we have a bond of communication that has been planted on a solid foundation, it is a beautiful thing!!!

  • To the point of public displays of affection: We had a humorous version of this happen a few months ago. I have a 13 year old son and a 4 year old. (Long story for another day ;))

    We are an affectionate family, hugs, kisses. One Sunday we were at church and as I was talking to one of the ushers my “big boy” came walking by on his way to serve with the preschool ministry. He started to give me a fly-by hug. I forgot where we were and out of habit kissed him on the cheek. He said, “momma!” And the usher teased me and said, “you should know better than that! You embarrassed your boy.” My son said, “exactly. There might have been cute girls I want to impress.” I went into worship service, heartbroken, tears in my eyes realizing ‘that day’ had come. Told a friend about it after church, at which point big boy walked up and she told him, “the best girls will be impressed when you let your momma kiss you in public.” To which my husband established the new house rule.

    “Look at it this way. ONE of your parents will be kissing you in public. You get to choose which one.”

    Very quickly my big boy said, “Momma.”

    Hasn’t been a problem since then. I’ve also been more aware of only doing it when he’s ok with it. Today I was blessed with “cuddles” from big boy. Doesn’t happen as often as it did when he was little, which makes it even more special.

    Thank you for your article. I can give an amen to enjoying your children and laughing with them. We love being together as a family and one of my favorite things to do is introduce him to old funny movies.

    1. That story just made me laugh out loud. Great job, family! Sounds like you’re doing an awesome job. Keep it up. aloha

  • You left out something…..GOD…..pray for that boy everynight……Knowing the one who made him…loves him is uncomparable to any other kind of confidence…. And Be envolved… Know his friends well enough they drop by without even calling… That way he doesnt live one life with his friends and another with you

  • I appreciate these points. Btw, j think you meant to sat “sulky” and not “sultry”?

    1. Thanks Kris! Someone else pointed that out too and I thought I changed it! No? 🙂 haha–I’ll go do that now! Aloha!

  • Our son is grown but I would like to encourage Moms about the backing off stage. I thought our oldest daughter would quit kissing me goodbye when she started middle school. I was pleasantly surprised when I walked her in the first day, she kissed me by in front of kids without hesitation. It didn’t even cross my mind with our second daughter and it was never an issue either. I was prepared with our oldest but caught totally unaware with our youngest, our only son. When he backed off when I started to kiss him, it was really hard. I respected him but continued telling him I love him. I was quite surprised when he was about 14 or 15 and he kissed me in front of a large group of boys and girls. When a girl commented, “That’s so sweet.” I suddenly realized sometimes they do go back to being more affectionate if only to “impress the girls”. LOL By the way, our baby turned 40 this year and he never stopped. He still rarely kisses his Dad but always hugs him. Being a parent is very difficult, trying, emotional and rewarding. It is one of the most difficult and one of the best things you will ever experience in your life. I would also like to comment on the “Boys will be boys” excuse for teenage sex. No one seems to care that boys have sex too young. In our house, I made it clear that even if the girl wants to experiment it is his responsibility to control the situation. Just because a guy is not carrying around a baby doesn’t rid him of the responsibility. Not only does teenage sex put them in danger of changing their whole lives (not to mention the baby) but it could start a habit of untold numbers of sexual partners. My question has always been: Who do you think these “boys” are having sex with? You’ve got it, our daughters. Mothers please tell your sons it is not okay to violate a girl’s body.

  • Loved the article! I’m a mother of three boys: 31, 22, and 11. Yes, they are spread out, but then again, after we married and we were told ” little chance of pregnancy” due to my endometriosis – each were welcomed with joy and surprise!
    These teen years were very different w/my two oldest—in fact, my only fear when I learned we were blessed with a third boy was, “OH NO, not another teen?!”
    Thanks for spelling out what WAS important. You nailed it, 100%!

  • Thank you for your Blog! Everything you say speaks to me. I have 2 sons.. one that just turned 13 (his Bar Mitzvah is next Saturday) and one that is 14.5. I come from a family of girls and we have VERY few men in our lives so I’m always looking for modeling. I will be reading your posts… keep them coming!

  • Thanks for this. My son is 11 going on 30 – so I love hearing from someone who has kids as the age mine will grow into. Wise wise words…

  • Just let them know you are there. Have 3 sons aged 25 23 & 18. Divorced so maybe a little off kilter but…..Talk to them! You may only get a word or two at first but it pays off in the end. We actually chat now. I LOVE TALK TIME WITH ALL OF MY BOYS!

  • The most fascinating part of article is how you wrote to a very large audience – no mention of the dad… You addressed married moms, single moms, widowed moms, working moms; and we all needed to be included. As a single mom (after 2 decades of marriage), I say thank you for your precious words of wisdom. I have two 14 yr old boys, and I am printing this out to serve as a reminder how I can fill my boys’ cup up daily.
    Proverbs 31:26- “… the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”

    1. I AM VERY HAPPY to say that I am doing most of those things with the 13 yr old and DONE them with my 19 yr old and I HAVE BEAUTIFUL YOUNG MEN THAT WILL BE GOOD MEN SIMPLE BUT SATISFIED AND KNOW HOW TO MAKE A GOOD CHOICE AND WHAT MAY happen if they choose incorrectly. I am a very PROUD SINGLE Mom of 2 teens, this advice is sound and of good use!

      1. Love, love, love your article! I am a mom of 5 kids, 4 are boys. My oldest is 2 1/2 months away from turning 18. Unfortunately for him, he was diagnosed quite late in the game (age 13) of broad spectrum form of autism as well as having bi-polar tendencies ( they won’t diagnose that until they are atleast 18). Not only is this my first rodeo, bit we’ve had special circ*mstances to deal with as well. The only thing that has kept things going and “on the right track”for him is the fact that he and I have always had great open communication. We have dealt with a number of issues including picking sub par friends because he didn’t feel worthy of any one better, to doing anything to make people like him regardless of if it got him in trouble, to “self medicating” with street drugs and other peoples narcotics. By the grace of God we found out early enough and have done everything from going to counseling together , praying together, using firmer boundaries, to finally sending him to a military acadamy. It has been soooo hard to ignore the pleas of let me come home- I promise I will be better! But I know in the end he will end up being a productive citizen that I will be proud to call my son. The main thing is: NEVER give up on them! Unconditional love might seem like a no-brainer. But there are a lot of kids that don’t feel like they get that from their parents. Just love them, and the rest will follow!

  • Great points! However, just as a woman is necessary to help a girl become a woman, a man is necessary to help a boy become a man.

  • Good words! It has been a joy watching my son grow into the young man he is. He just graduated from high school and watching him register for classes and doing things on his own make me so honored to be his mom. It is an affirmation of all the love and work joyfully put forth.

    ***NOTE: Please tell me you meant the word, surly, NOT sultry 🙂 ***

  • Like many others, I struggle with boys whose personalities are polar opposites. Knowing that I have this set of needs to remember as they grow up helps, but I still have to learn to adjust each need to the individual child to make it work. Anything you have on how to be “fair” with both a well-mannered, good common sense, clean thinking, well-rounded child and the ill-mannered (take off your hat, clean up your language!), risk-taking, dirty-minded, and inactive child would be appreciated. I’m often accused of being unfair or picking on one. I want them to both walk away from me thinking I was a good, fair, understanding parent.

    1. Oh Tracey–Great topic…I totally know what you are talking about. Our 2nd in line has a totally different personality and skill set than the first and we are working HARD to figure all of that out. I’d love to address those things and what we have learned soon. The main thing I have done is be very clear that how I parent (rewards, consequences etc) absolutely go with the behavior and not with my love for the kid. If the more ill-mannered kid wants to test me—he can try behaving according to what he knows is expected and watch himself get blessed like crazy. 🙂 Keep up the good work!

  • I really enjoyed reading your article. I have a 10 year old and a 12 year old and have heard so many things about the tween years and teen years, it makes my head spin! But you really made sense. I’m looking forward to watching my boys grow into men and your advice will stay with me!

  • Liz…what an awesome post. I can relate to everything you are saying. I too have a 13 and 15 year old. You couldn’t have said it better in your blog than what I think (just need a little reminding and nudging sometimes). I am going to print this blog out and put it on my bedside table to read when I forget. I am also going to share with all my friends who have teenage boys. Thanks for the ENCOURAGEMENT!

  • What an excellent article! Thank you do much for writing it. I struggle with how to treat my teenage son. I don’t know if I should let him retreat in his man cave and leave him alone, because that was what I wanted when I was that age. I am going to use this as a guide on how to proceed with being his mom from now on. The other day I made him come out of his basem*nt room and play a family game. It was so much fun and reminded me how much I miss him when he doesn’t participate in family things. And I think deep down he really wants to, he just needs to be invited and coerced into things that before he would’ve just done. I need to remember not to just leave him alone!

  • Loved this! Made me cry and smile! I love the ages my kids are (8 & 11)and look forward with anticipation each year. Thanks for the encouragement & wisdom!

  • Great article! Thank you! I have 3 boys, 12, 10 & 7. I try my best but I feel like I constantly fail at parenting. We have had some issues with my 12 yr old & what’s okay & not okay. I pray we are on the right path now. I struggle with my boys constantly fighting. They get mad and they hit each other. We don’t spank & have only had to a few times when they have done something bad. I have told them continually – that’s not how we handle ourselves. But I can’t make them stop. It makes me sad. I want my boys to be friends. To have a close bond & right now I just feel like they hate each other (mainly 12 & 10 yr old). Individually they are great. Collectively – they are a nightmare. They are only getting bigger & the fighting seems to escalate. I am scared they are going to really hurt each other or worst yet, hate each other. Would love any thoughts you have on this? Thank you again, for the great article!

  • What a great article! My 2 boys are 12 and 11 – these teen years are right around the corner. Thanks for the great advice. Unfortunately I do have to work outside the home and it makes me feel sad that I can’t be here for the boys all the time. Not all of us are fortunate enough to be stay at home moms. I do the best with the time I have with them. How can I get more articles like this from you?

    1. Victoria–Thank you so much, and bless your heart as you juggle so much. You are amazing. You can subscribe to my blog and I am definitely planning some follow-up posts since this has proven to be a very hot topic. 😉 (See “Subscribe” in my menu bar.)

  • I love this post. It is so true, especially about boys and need for affection. Their push and pull tug of war with our emotions is hard on a momma. One minute they want to sit close and cuddle and the next minute they don’t want you close. Wish I had read this article years ago. Good job!

  • I have a son who is 19 yrs old..everything you said is right….

  • I found with my son from a young age thru teen years to have a relaxed conversation we would do things like put a puzzle together, Legos, Lincoln Logs, something to do together quietly. Boys do not like to just sit and talk (like men) it makes them feel uncomfortable, but to share an activity (not one that makes them have to really concentrate) makes them relaxed. Hope this helps.

    1. Super good ideas Susan! I am working on a follow-up post related to the years before they are teens, and this is exactly my experience! 🙂 You are spot-on!

  • My youngest just turned 13 today. We’ve struggled the last 2 years with him. He’s tried marijuana which continues to concern me as to whether he’s still doing it secretly or not. Like you posted, we have our good days and bad. Asking for continued prayer for us as parents and for my sons. The other is 18. Thank you for the encouraging words and for those who have gone through it. There is hope.

  • Thank you for this! I look for all the help I can as I am a single widowed mom of 5, all now 10-21 yrs. my husband died when kids were 3-15 yrs. my boy is the youngest and only boy and my girls are now 13,15,17,21 and man doing this alone is HARD! (I think the added factor of grief sure doesn’t help!) I also know with no man for my son it’s going to be a challenge , he just turned 10 and although we are very close (he was a major daddy’s boy until he died then became super momma’s boy) I know there are things I just can’t teach him being a woman. It was nice to read this to give me pointers in what I CAN do.

  • From the start, I was relating and in tears, as my Josiah and Jonah will be turning 15 and 13 in April. Thank you for this encouragement and the reality that we are not looking for perfection, but relationship and wisdom to grow between us!

    1. Holy Cow Sharon! So funny. Someday you’ll have to bring them to Hawaii to meet! haha. Keep up the great work!

  • Amazing article! I am the blessed mother of 7 boys & 5 girls (ages 4 mos to 22), & 2 of the boys & a girl are adults & on their own. To add to the communication part, be willing to talk (& listen!) at ALL hours… With my teens, our deepest, most heart touching conversations, happened after midnight. You thought you didn’t get sleep when they were infants? Embrace stage 2 of little sleep. 🙂 Oh, but it’s so worth it to connect with such amazing people.

    1. i LOVE that Lora…Just seeing the first stages of “late night talks” recently and it is so special. 🙂 Bless your heart with all of those kids!! You must be an amazing human being. You inspire me!

  • So true almost everything u wrote I have done except my boys r not teenagers yet. They r 10 and 8.They know they can talk to me about anything I won’t judge them. If I find out they didn’t tell me i ask them why have yelled at u for telling me They say no. We as parents need to be accepting of everything that comes out of our kids mouth. Then in a calm way explain to them why it’s un acceptable. Then discipline after the. Warning. These days they r questioning everything at a younger age. My oldest at 9 years old wanted to know what a condom looked like and if I could take him Publix to show him. Explain to him when u r ready to come to u before he does anything. These days our boys r under a lot of peer pressure especially more than ever with social media site, text messages etc.

  • I have two sons who I love and admire so very much but they have given me a run for my money. Around the earlier part of middle school they both refused to accept hugs from me anymore and do not welcome them from me. I crave physical contact with them so much. . .it breaks my heart. My oldest left for basic training and refused to give me a hug until the commanding officer yelled at him to give me a “proper hug”. I felt awful and didn’t want him to leave angry at me for getting into trouble for not wanting to give me a hug. . .and certainly hope he doesn’t resent me for her yelling at him about it. Both of my sons have forced the issue with literally everything. . .boundaries, consequences, negotiating, compromising, etc. . .always expecting me to compromise and negotiate very reasonable boundaries I have set (10 pm curfew on school nights, etc.). I have been told by my sons that I cannot tell them what to do or not to do b/c that takes their equality away as well as their constitutional rights. It seems that they started saying these things to me once they entered middle school. Makes me wonder what is being said to them in the classroom and what they are being taught. When I issue consequences such as grounding from the computer I end up with consequences for parenting them appropriately such as glue being poured on my laptop keyboard and monitor. I think they are expecting me to explode, but I was blessed with a lifetime of patience so I’m not one to explode no matter how severe their behavior has been. I keep pressing on in parenting them, maintain the boundaries, continue to issue consequences when needed, praise them when they do good, remain available to them when they need to talk, and love them with all of my heart. I know that they are giving me a hard time right now, but I foresee them growing up to be exceptional men. I will maintain patience as I walk through their teenage years with them. No matter what I am extremely proud of them (they are at the top of their grades/classes in school and are kind and respectful to others even if they aren’t to me all of the time) and love them tremendously. I just hope that one day they will welcome hugs from me again. I miss that so much.

    1. Oh Liz…I’m so glad you shared. And it is so important for all of us to remember that you can do everything in your power right, and still be challenged for a season..It sounds to me like you know you have that connection, and one day it will be sweet again. They seem to just know what buttons to push…:( I’m so sorry for that!! Yes, there are many factors that shape our kids–from the classroom, to media, friends, is their dad in the picture?…so many. Just keep praying and loving them, and require their respect, and one day you’ll likely get all of those hugs back again! You’re so sweet to comment. aloha

    2. Liz: I feel for you and I am so proud of you for being so honest. Not every Mom can say a “magic word” and discipline just the “right way: every single moment of the day. I have what our community sees as three perfect boys. Far from it. Lots of days I get no hugs or acknowledgements. Wish I had the army drill officer around to remind them sometimes. Keep trying and praying!!

  • Thank you for writing this piece! My seventeen-year-old son and I have always had good talks, but he has always been reserved; even as a baby, he resisted affection. But a wonderful thing has happened. Last spring, I decided to start hugging him every day and telling him I loved him whenever we finished a text conversation or he whenever he left the house. Now, just a few months later, I have a son who gives ME hugs and even kisses (on the cheek), and he’s the first to say “I love you” as he walks out the door! I see our relationship growing more than I ever thought possible! So hug those big ole boys – it will be worth it!
    p.s. Please add my email address to your “subscribe” list!

    1. Thank you Robin! I just smiled so much reading your comment. What an awesome story!
      I’m adding you to the subscribe list, and you just have to “confirm” when an email comes through. Bless you and keep it up! aloha

  • My son is now 24 and an officer in the military. All of your points are great, but the best one I know of is to talk to your son while you are doing things together – be it sweeping the garage floor or shooting hoops! Boys will always spill their guts after physical activity! If possible, never, ever let someone else drive your son home after practice – you will always get to hear the real story of his life on the ride home! This practice has transitioned into his adult life and was a life line for both of us while he was deployed – we put into action what we had practiced through his teenage years on Skype!

  • Finally got around to reading this post, and it was awesome! I don’t have a teen yet, but I can’t wait for those years. I know it will be bittersweet, but I’m so looking forward to having the kind of relationship you described. I have a feeling that when the day does finally come, I will remember many of your wise words. Mahalo!!

  • Love this. Bookmarking for later. And starting this now with my 11 year old! Thank you!

  • Thought this article was interesting;)

    AP & Ub

  • Thank you so much! I homeschool my son who is 15. I have never seen a teen boy so “okay”!! I come from a large family 13, and have tons of nephews, nieces…now they were always into sports, had lots of friends etc…lot of trouble…etc. Mine is just happy being him! He takes his computer gaming very seriously, and I don’t disturb him while he is doing it. He has made so many friends multi-media!! and he is “happy” with that! he has been homeschooled since the 2nd grade and depending on where we lived, has had some good friends but his social life is his computer, at first it drove me crazy!! because I just am not used to that, I thought my god I must be doing something wrong!! after all I have turned over every stone to get him out a doing what I would consider “normal” activities!! and we were all miserable!! I have just now (and still am) learning to let got and let him be him!! (Charlie). Coercing is not and never will work and especially for a teenager, sure it hurts, I do miss the times we were buddy’s (at a younger age) and doing everything together….but I have to let go…I have to!! for me and for him….

    1. Wow, Cindi. From my perspective as the son, I have to wonder if my Mom ever felt this way. I was definitely the computer child in our family, though more the games than the online friends aspect. I don’t know if, or how much, my Mom missing being my buddy; now I want to call and find out. I do try to call home every week ( I recently graduated and am living in FL. She’s in NY ) but since my Dad normally answers and is a long-winded talker, I don’t talk with Mom very much. I’m gonna try to call just for her more often now that I’ve seen you view.

  • Spot on!! I love being a Mom of teenaged boys!!

    1. thank you Michele! So glad to hear that you love it too. You must be doing things well…:)

  • The part about talking to them about anything is SO true… and they need it even past their teen years. My son is almost 26 and he will still seek out private times with me just to talk and get his head screwed on straight. While a teen he showed great insights and wisdom, writing short essays that are very thought provoking and solid even. Yes he had his issues (primarily anger because of his dad being removed from the picture and bullying by girls while he was in jr high.) but he’s had a good heart that is sold out for God. I knew everything would turn out good in the end when I saw his determination to get to youth group in the summer – we lived in the BOONIES and he rode a mountain bike 14.5 hilly miles ONE-WAY to get to youth group EVERY Wednesday because I couldn’t get home to get him back to church on time!

    I think it was during his junior year that I started using him as a sounding board when I’ve been working through some things (He was in cross country and I used him as a training coach to work on getting fit again). Both he and I are “outside thinkers” in that we get our answers as we talk things out / do them, rather than “inside thinkers” that get their answers inside their brains before saying or doing hardly anything. I firmly believe that receiving and using his good input also helped to build our communication. It confirms you value what they think and say even if you don’t use everything they say just as they don’t always use everything you say, but it sticks with them.

    Yes there was a period of time that he didn’t like getting hugs from Mom, so I only did it at home… and told him that I needed the hug even if he didn’t… then I made it a quick bear hug and let him go before he would pull away. He now doesn’t have any problem giving me hugs in public and is actually quite protective of me.

    Keep the communication open now and barring some future communication meltdown on your part, you will always have it.

    1. Diane–Wow, thank you so much for the comment. It sounds like you have an amazing relationship with your son, and how cool that it has even grown into his adult years. That is super encouraging!

  • My son is fixing to turn 12 and even though we are extremely close and he’s a major mama’s boy, I’m worried about the teenage years. Plus even more worried after his father left me earlier this year after 17 years of marriage and now I just lost my job. This has been a horrible year for me!!!!! I enjoyed this article and I would love any and all others. I only have one child, my son. I need all the help I can get right now!!!!

    1. Bless your heart, Mindy! I’ll be praying for you…and I am certain that you will do incredibly well with your son. You mean the world to him as well I am sure, so you two can ride this out together!
      Thanks for commenting, and please visit more. I hope to hear from you as you walk in victory through this difficult season. Aloha-

    2. Mindy. I am in the same situation. My husband emotionally left me when our son was only 8 months old while I was in the grip of post-partum depression and is going to file for divorce next week. I lost my job in February. I am still struggling with my clinical depression, anxiety and sleep deprivation. I have no family or friends for support. My husband is kicking me out and I have no where to go and for some reason don’t qualify for public assistance (I guess I’m not poor enough yet). My husband invalidates and undermines my parenting authority in front of our son which makes it that much harder to feel like I’m being a good mom and not feeling like a mean strict mom when dad is the fun buddy. My son is now 5 and I’m so scared to take on parenting a teen on my own. It’s hard enough parenting a strong-willed toddler now without support.

      I pray you and I both find strength and courage and needed support and a better job through these difficult times.

      1. Grodman & Tara, I am sorry to hear about your troubles. My advice, get some good counseling for yourself first off! Even if you no longer have insurance, please look to your local community services. I found out the hard way that even if you try to hide your feelings from your kids, it still bleeds out. They pick up your emotional energies & react to them. If you are still getting counseling when they are teens, let them know you are don’t hide it. There is nothing to be ashamed about & it shows that us parents need help & talking time as well, but do not ever tell them the extent of it especially if your issues have to do with the other parent. My ex & I had to have a good talk when our boys were 9 & 7. In this talk we admitted to each other our own faults, forgave the of theirs and decide to work as a team. I had full custody of the boys, but made sure that their dad got all of the time he could. Did dad seem like the buddy, sure he had the money to go do things with them that I didn’t. If I was having issues with my oldest as a teenager all I had to do was call his dad, be honest about the situation, and ask him if he was available to come over. Most of the time he could & we dealt with it as a united front. My awesome guys are now 22 & 20 and we made it through some really horrendous times. Their dad & I divorced when they were 4 & 2 and as parents we did not always get along!!! It took hard work & both of us willing to do so. Now my oldest has had issues with a decent relationship with his dad & I have called his dad and spoke with him on these matters to help keep the door between them open. They are both adults now & I shouldn’t have to do it, but seeing them make a mistake like this and them not talking to each other was not going to be worth it for either one of them. Now my husband & his ex wife are a completely different story. We wish his ex wife would get counseling! They have two, 15 & 13 girls. The mom is very emotionally unstable and it bleeds all over the girls. The 13 yr old handles is better, but the 15 yr old completely regurgitate & copies her mother & older half brother. We are working hard to get both of the girls into counseling, but mom refuses. She tells the girls lies, manipulates, and is down right hostile. She is a horrible & cold mom who’s job comes first tge girls second. My husband discusses over & over again about them having healthy communication & working together to raise the kids, but she refuses. She violates the court order continously and we are getting ready to go back to court to stop the madness & get at least the girls in counseling and hopefully their mom as well. I tell you this because I don’t want anyone to have to go through this. Personally, I think real counseling should be mandatory before you can get a divorce. Not just these 2 hr parenting classes that don’t work! Since your children are young, you have the chance to teach them open communication early, it will make their teenage years easier. Don’t worry about how the future will be, focus on how today will go. Is it hard raising teenagers with both parents being married or divorced, absolutely! But you get to decide how you will walk down that road. Make your decision early & follow through. You may not have the best relationship with your ex, but if the both of you will work on a parenting relationship then you can help to minimize the bumps & bruises. I wish you the best of luck!!
        ~ From a mom who has been there done that & a step mom who continues to fight the worthwhile fight! 🙂

        1. ** Sorry, my long comments were for Mindy & Tara, as well as anyone else going through these issues!

  • Thank yOu. My Son Is Really Struggling Right Now With Who He Is, Boundaries, Not Wanting To Go To Church, With Friends All The Time. We Went From Being Super Close To Me Wondering If He Loves Me Anymore. A Recent Break Up With a Girl Seemed To Fuel A Cold hearted side To Him I’ve Never Known Before. He’s Just 16. Always Been A Great Kid And Wonderful Student. I’m Just Lost! He Acts Like Everything Is My Fault. I’m Praying Things Change Soon.

    1. Last fall my son experienced the breakup of his first relationship (a year long with a girl he had been friends with for a couple of years prior). He became extremely depressed and suicidal about it so spent two week-long spans of time in the last few months of his senior year in the local psychiatry unit. He was so close to committing suicide over it that he hung a noose on a local bridge with the intention of using it soon thereafter. What could I do? Go to see him every day and stay from after work until visiting hours were over. Let him talk the first couple of days and then begin to offer encouragement to him. Just be there for him. Still being a teenager, he doesn’t yet appreciate my being there for him, but over time I do foresee him appreciating it. I don’t need to be appreciated as much as I need my son to choose to live life though and am very thankful he is still alive. Since he went to basic training where he has constant supervision I don’t worry as much. My worry will come when he heads to college in a city where he knows no one and therefore no one knows his moods and will not be able to tell if he is feeling down again. That scares me. The absolute BEST thing I can do for him is to pray for him. To me, that is the greatest expression of love for someone.

      1. yes, it is…and I am so sorry for all you’ve been through. that is A LOT. I’ll keep you and your boys in my prayers this week. Thank you for sharing openly.

  • Great points here! Awesome advice! Do you happen to have a Dad version of this too?? LOL.

    1. Thank you Melanie! Funny, I fully intended to mention in that post the role of the father, and that I might do a follow-up….and yes–I think with my husband’s help I could/should write the Father-version. As we all know, the dad’s role is huge for a son…Much aloha!

      1. can’t wait for the Dad version (I’m sure there are lots of commonalities, but still would be interested in the variations!) great post and your aloha comes right through!

      2. I really enjoyed your article on teenage boys..great read. Please add me as my email had an error occur .Thank u much..My oldest son will be 13 September 16 and my youngest will be 10 September 16 they are exactally 4 years apart

        1. Thank you Kimberly! I am adding you as a subscriber–sorry about the error! You’re gonna have a ton of fun with your boys. Keep up the good work, and keep in touch. Aloha

        2. I also have two sons who share the same birthday. They are 9 years apart (22 and 13). My oldest son kept praying for his brother to be born on his birthday, even though we told him that wasn’t going to happen because his brother wasn’t due until 2 months later. We ended up with a preemie born on his brother’s birthday!
          I also enjoyed the article. It is great to be reminded of these things.

          1. Remind your older son to be careful what he wishes for…………He might just get it.

  • Loved all these ideas. I have six boys ages 6-21 (3 girls in the mix too) and these are all true and wise! Keep up the great work!

    (PS: Did you mean “sulky” or “sultry” in the affection section?)

    1. Thank you Stacey! Six boys–Holy Cow! 🙂 (and three girls…You are my new hero!)
      I better go back and have a look at the post–I did mean sulky–Not sure if I made a mistake or my editing tool, haha. 🙂 Thanks for pointing that out!

  • Thank you for this article! My boys are a few ways away from this stage but I’ve heard so many awful stories that I am already scared. This was a refreshing and encouraging post. I think I’ll print it out and keep it for when I need a good reference in a few years. Good job on raising amazing young men! Blessings.

  • This was a wonderful article! Will you please add me to your email list so I can enjoy even more of your wisdom? Thank you!

    1. Thank you Kathy! I just signed your email address into my “subscribe” tab, so you should receive an email which you’ll need to click on to confirm. If that doesn’t work, try clicking on my “Subscribe” tab and simply fill in your email address to receive future posts by email. Thank you and Aloha!

  • Absolutely LOVE this! Added my email address to get more “reads” like this, as our son is 11. Want to be the best parents possible through the teenage years! 🙂

  • Amen.

  • Thanks for this post! I grew up in a house full of girls, so teenage boys are a bit of a mystery to me. As an adult I am the only female in my house–even the dog is a boy!–so this gave me some insight about what to expect when Tommy hits his teens. Thanks!

  • Thanks from a grandma in charge

  • Thank you for giving me hope that we will survive teenagerdom with our twin boys who turned 13 this year. I love your writing…


      1. Praying for you, Janet and your husband’s health.

  • Enjoyed the post. What did you do to set the foundation in the eatly years?

  • You know what I appreciated most about your blog post? It was down to earth and real, but you can feel that you truly enjoy your boys! I am a mother of 4 boys 17, 15, 13, &11, and I truly enjoy them! Like you pointed out, there are those days, but you know what? It hasn’t been a nightmare! So many people said to me…. “Just wait until the teen years!” But seriously? We’re cruising, loving, working and enjoying these years. I, like you, are loving who they are becoming. So, thank you for speaking for those of us that are truly enjoying these men in training!


    1. Hi Ellerie,
      I am the lucky mom of 4 boys also! Mine are 6, 5, 3, & 1.5. People tell me that these early years are the hardest with boys……so far, not hard, just ACTIVE and LOUD. (Those 2 words in caps should be BOLD as well!!) I’m hoping the teen years are smooth also, but I fear that I’m having my “smooth” now, and will get my “hard” later! I guess there are no rules because we all have different personalities and it can go either way. 🙂 Anyhow, thank you for your comment! I appreciate that it was so positive! These days, I tend to hear negative about everything, and it was refreshing to hear that you are enjoying your men in training! 🙂


  • My son is 9 turning 10 and this has helped. It’s even helped with our 16 yr old daughter. Thank you

    1. I agree about this helping with the girls. I have a 26 yr old daughter and a 16 yr daughter, as well as a 7 yr old little boy. All that you mentioned can be used whether you have a teen daughter or son, which I have. I also would like to say that I made it mandatory that there was family time and one on one time. With my oldest, I sometimes had to make her and not let her out of it. But, it paid off. I always let them know that no matter what we love them unconditionally. It was something that was preached but not shown when I was growing up and I think it is so important.

      I also agree with Kandie above about welcoming your child’s friends. I love when the kids hang out here. It is a way to know what they are doing. Everything is so much harder today with technology. I actually prefer the era when my oldest was in her teens. Friends had to call the house. It was a little harder to be secretive. Times felt simpler too. I miss those days.

      1. Can I one see subscribe.

        Fabulous article. Thank you.

        1. Thank you Meg! You are subscribed! 🙂 aloha.

  • Loved your piece! My son is 18 now and I still see his need for everything you mentioned, maybe even more now that he is going out into the world to make a life for himself. He never turns down a hug!
    One thing I would like to add to the list is to know and welcome your son’s friends. The boys my son calls friends have been raiding my cookie jar since they were in grade six. These boys have spent endless nights on the couch or the floor or where ever they landed after a late night of movies or video games! I have shared life lessons with them, like no driving if you’ve been drinking, if you don’t tell me where you are all going, you don’t get to go and Mom is always right so go home and apologize!
    The main benefit was that I always knew who my boy was hanging out with! That knowledge is invaluable!
    Now that they are all 18+, they still come to the cookie jar!

    1. I agree! My son’s friends (who are 16) all flock to our house because we have desserts and soda, and give them permission to take over our family room. I love it, and we genuinely love all of them. We give them lots of space and few rules. Luckily they are awesome and respectful boys, so they don’t need a lot of rules. They open our fridge, know where the glasses are, and we love that they feel comfortable enough to do that. It also allows us to know what our son is up to (which is basically nothing), and when the friends are over, my husband and I get to have a movie night in our bedroom. 🙂

    2. My son has had the same core group of friends since early elementary school. Our house has always been the place they all come to hang out. It started with birthday parties and play dates. It grew into sleepovers, video games, movie nights, and watching sports on TV. We love all of these boys like they are our own. They all stayed here last night one more time before they all head off to different colleges. I got a little teary-eyed this morning as I watched them all asleep and realized that this will be the last time they are all together like this for awhile. Sigh….bittersweet! Of course, I had to take a photo of all of them together before anyone went home! : )

      1. Oh Michelle don’t make me cry like that! That day will come here, and oh…I’m glad you took a picture! much aloha!

    3. Awesome artilce. I have two boys, 15 and 17. I think the most valuable thing when raising children is an open dialog even if they react with “Oh my gosh Mom”….And, do not be naive in your thinking that your child will “never” do “that”! I have always been one not to sugar coat things and have asked my questions (in different forms) until I get answers. This has helped my boys to be very open with me.

  • My oldest is 13 1/2 and although we aren’t always holding hands and singing in the sunshine, we haven’t hit as much turbulence as I thought we would have at this point. I know we’ve only just begun, but as I was reading your post and nodding throughout, I realized that we really work on doing all the things you mentioned. Sure, there’s always room for improvement, and you mentioned a few things I hadn’t given much thought to (but I am now), but I really think you summed it up nicely with your common denominator: Mom is involved.

    One question I have is do you have a spoken or unspoken agreement with your boys (especially your teens) about what you will and won’t share on the blog? When I was blogging consistently, a lot of material came straight from my kids. But now that they’re older (my youngest are 10 1/2) I am hesitant to share as much because I don’t want them to feel exposed. Not that I would ever want to share anything that would humiliate them, but at this age sometimes saying their name in public is humiliating in their estimation. 🙂

    1. I am a mother of a 14 1/2 and a 19 year old boys. My 19 year old doesn’t care what I write about. My younger son is ok if I write occasionally about something that is important to me and if I keep it brief. I check it out with him first 🙂 That way we have no hurt feelings. When I did it the way I wanted to, he felt like I was betraying his trust and stopped opening up to me. WOW- I did NOT like that! Now things are good again in this area. Hope this helps.

  • Monica, every single point is oh so true! My boys are now 21 & 19 and the hard work has paid off!! My oldest has been home for the summer before he goes back to complete his senior year in college. (Where did the time go?) it has been so awesome seeing the “adult” he has become and being able to reap the rewards of sacrifice and commitment I made for all those years. The conversations we have, the support he brings, and the laughter he generates has been a huge blessing to me this summer. He is a man of God and it shows! I am blessed but it took a lot of work and many many mistakes to get there!!

    1. Kristen–That is so encouraging to hear!! Thank you thank you. 🙂 Way to go, Mom! I so look forward to those days, (but not so much to rush these days, haha.) Much love to you, and thanks for the encouraging comment! aloha

      1. I’m the youngest of 5 girls, no brothers. Who do I give birth to? Twin boys who are very different. They have a great Dad and I a Husband. I’m just at a loss at many times and get can get frustrated. I so look forward to reading and communicating more. So far we have been blessed with good, kind and compassionate sons…. They are 13 now and every single decision I make on their behalf is such a thought process. I would really just appreciate a recipe to read. 🙂

        1. I also came from all girls. I am clueless about how to raise a boy! I would encourage you to get the book, “The Minds of Boys”. I took a workshop on this topic and got the book at our local early education organization, and it was so eye-opening! Insights into how their brains work differently than ours have been very helpful, not just for my relationship with my son, but also my husband! Good luck!

        2. Hi. We have four, so differing, boys…teenagers at the same time. Feed them, yummy things, as much as possible. They really are actually still hungry! Listen, listen, listen. Use very brief, direct sentences. Don’t hover. Encourage, and even provide at times, risk, and opportunities to conquer. Hug, encourage, praise for specific accomplishments, admire! Communicate often about choices, character, encouraging them to visualize the type of man they want to be. Assign work. Be the cheerleader, with Dad being the coach as much as possible. Bribe them to memorize scripture, and read great books!

          1. Brilliant. I think you could have written this post. Love your thoughts and your heart! ;). Aloha

      2. Hello Grommom,
        Im a grandmom of 3.Im so happy to have read your article.
        My sons are 24 and 26 yrs old.One is a VeteranCombat Marine,Civil service employee,husband and father.
        My younger son is a College Graduate and a Active Duty Marine.
        I have so much to say to both of them.
        With everything inbetween,we are kinda restarting all over in a sence.
        This will help me greatly to bring back the great years of growth.Just the 3 of us.
        Thank you so much!!!
        Pls subscribe me as Its not letting me..<3.

        1. Oh that is awesome Suzanna. Bless you and your relationship with your boys!
          I’ll put you in the subscription list now! 🙂 aloha

    2. Ditto to Kristen’s comment. My son is turning 20 and I look and admire him for who he has become. As a parent of a 20 year old and a 17 year old, I get to observe what I have done right. Everyone should read your blog Monica! If I had to pick out three things that really made a difference for me and my children, it would be #’s 2 (Boundaries), 4 (listening), and 7 (genuine interest.) The biggest for us was the genuine interest. I started that when he was really little with knowing every Winnie the Pooh character and the sound of it’s voice, through the Power Rangers, Pokemon characters, friends and school items, etc…now his college (which is hard because he is so far away.) Monica I agree with you, if you wait, boys love to have the attention from their mom’s. It’s all in waiting for that “right” moment and that is the “ART” of being a Mom.

      1. I would say my weakest link would be interest… From the first day I heard ‘SPONGE BOB, POKEMON, then it spiraled on me, I don’t understand some of their verbiage lingo, etc… I have been spending hours looking up the tech. info. at the very least. Time is spent every day. School, Sports, Sailing, Books, I’m on top of though.

    3. My son is 13 and the fun never ends… I have to agree with everything the moms have said. My son needs a lot of my one on one attention, it gives him a sense of special importance. It’s as if when we are with my husband as a family things never go as well as they do when it’s just him and I. Any suggestions?

      1. Laurie–Intersting…I’m pretty sure psychologists would have a lot to say about that…Jealous for your attention perhaps? But it is super healthy for him to see you giving your husband attention as that will help him form his ideas for his own future relationships. Hopefully your husband can give your son special “guy to guy” attention which will become even more important as he goes into his teenage years further…

      2. His love language is ‘quality time’

    4. when I was a teen ( 1 of 4 boys) my stepfather would always say to my Mom “when they go to college they will grow up” I thank God it was true. Here is a resource on teen boys from The Youth Culture Report you might find helpful. https://theyouthculturereport.com/tag/teenage-boys/

    5. Kristen…Ditto to your response! I have raised 4 sons, 28 to the youngest turned 21 yesterday. Monica, your article rang true!

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