The first key to understanding teenage sons is to realize they are all different, even though they are going through the maturation process common to all teenage boys. The second key is to listen and observe. Your son might not talk constantly, but, given the chance, he will share his hopes, dreams and fears. The third key is to remember what it was like to explore new feelings and new ideas.
Between ages 10 and 25, boys experience dramatic physical and mental changes. According to the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center website, their sexual organs mature, they grow hair in places it has never grown before and their voices change. They shoot up dramatically in height, and their arms, legs, hands and feet will grow faster than their torsos. All of these things can give a young man some embarrassing moments.
While your teen son's body is presenting him with new perspectives, his frontal cortex, the part of the brain that is involved in decision-making, is also growing and developing new pathways. He can now better understand abstract concepts and can become quite passionate about some of them. At the same time, peer relationships are becoming more important, and he is emotionally preparing for the time when he needs to separate from his parents and strike out on his own. Sometimes, this can be a truly wonderful process to observe, and, other times, it can cause power struggles between you and your son.
Boys, especially if they are hyperactive, can have a hard time dealing with a formal classroom environment. This can cause a lot of tension between your son and his teachers, between him and you, and between you and his teachers. "Inside the Mind of a Teenage Boy with ADHD," written for ADDitude, recommends playing to your son's strengths. Praise him for his accomplishments and help him to transfer skills he learned doing something he enjoys to managing needed skills that are not as easy for him. Encourage him to make many of his own decisions, and support his choice of career.
World of Work
The unemployment rate for youth ages 16 through 24 is 16.3 percent, as compared to 7.8 percent for those ages 25 through 34, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Department of Numbers. As your son grows older, he might have a girlfriend, and many of his curricular and extracurricular activities require more funding than the things he was doing when he was younger. This can cause stress between you, your son and your spouse, particularly if you are having your own financial difficulties.
Putting It Together
Your son is growing and learning. He is experiencing the world in new ways, and that can sometimes cause friction. He will have pressures from school, work, and his own desires that can cause frustration and a need to blow off steam. However, if you are listening and observing carefully, you will be able to find positive ways to guide his learning process and to help him make the most of his unique skills and talents.
- ADDitude: Inside the Mind of the Teenage Boy with ADHD
- University of Minnesota Extension: Teen Talk, a Survival Guide for Parents of Teenagers
- Disney Family: How to Raise a Confident Teenage Son
- KidsHealth: A Parent's Guide to Surviving the Teen Years
- Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center: Puberty: Adolescent Male
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Employment and Unemployment Among Youth Summary
- Department of Numbers: Unemployment Demographics
- Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images