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Parenting a 13-Year-Old Son

by Tiffany Raiford
Your 13-year-old son will experience a lot of changes this year, and part of parenting him right now means being there for him and respecting his privacy.

Your 13-year-old son will experience a lot of changes this year, and part of parenting him right now means being there for him and respecting his privacy.

Parenting a teenager isn’t going to be the easiest thing you’ll do in life, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be the worst. As the parent of a 13-year-old boy, you might already notice that your son is changing in many ways. Suddenly he seems more like a grown up than your little boy. He’s growing up and maturing, yet he still occasionally behaves like the little boy you’ve missed since he became a teenager. His teen years will provide you with plenty to think about, but maybe not as much as the year he finally becomes a teenager.

Understanding What He is Going Through

When your son turns 13, he will begin to experience a great deal of change in his life, if he hasn’t already started. You might notice his voice begins to deepen, he’s suddenly a lot taller than he was, he may gain weight and he may have a lot more body hair all of a sudden. In addition to these changes, he will notice that his genitals are growing and he may begin experiencing nocturnal emissions, according to Nancy Firchow, an author with a Masters Degree in Library Science. Understanding that he is going through many changes as well as in increase in hormones may help you understand why he behaves the way he does at this age.

No Parental Pressure

You may remember being a 13-year-old like it was yesterday, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for you to pressure your son to make decisions you wish you’d made, do things you wish you’d done or do things you did do at that age. By pressuring him to join the football team and live up to his dad’s reputation as the best high school quarterback in the district back in the day, you are putting too much pressure on him, advises the Mayo Clinic. Now is the time for him to explore sports and activities he enjoys, not to live up to your dreams, which could cause him to rebel later on.

Make Rules

Just because he’s a teenager now doesn’t mean he can live without rules. However, this also doesn’t mean he still needs to live by the rules you had for him when he was 10, just as the rules you will set for him at 13 won’t work when he’s 16. By creating rules and making him aware of your expectations, you are showing him you care about him and that you expect him to behave. Consistently enforcing the consequences when he breaks a rule shows him that you have a zero-tolerance policy for bad behavior. However, giving him a little more freedom when he shows responsibility helps him learn that good behavior results in rewards, advises the Mayo Clinic.

Be Respectful of his Privacy

According to Nancy Firchow, your 13-year-old son will face a lot of emotional changes and he may want to deal with them privately. This means respecting his privacy while still being there for him. If he comes home from school and seems sullen, tell him that you notice his unhappiness and that you’re right there if he wants to talk about it. Don’t force him to talk about it. If he wants to go to his room, shut the door and turn on his music, let him. Reminding him that the lines of communication are always open and respecting his feelings and privacy may make him more likely to talk to you than if you try to force him.

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