Raising a teenage son in today’s world can be frightening if you do not have faith in God. Even if you are a Christian, it can be difficult. The world is pulling at your son to be anything be godly.
In fact, it’s pretty uncool to stand up, be different, or do the right thing if you are a teenage boy. So, how do you influence your son when he cares more about what his friends think than what you think?
Here’s the best news you will hear all day…you have way more influence over your son than you think you do. Your teenage son may not act like he is listening or that he cares about what you say, but he does.
In fact, God naturally hardwired your son to desire your approval even though he may test the boundaries from time to time. Okay, so the boundaries may get tested a lot!
Your job as a parent is to nurture what God hardwired in his heart and practice surrender. The assignment God gave to raise your kids is not possible without Him. Thankfully, God gave you a handbook (the Bible) to show you how to raise a teenage boy.
If you need some practical ideas from a teacher and a mom who just finished raising a teenage son, then check out these 15 pro tips.
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15 Pro Tips For Raising a Teenage Son
Instead of parenting out of fear or using threats to get obedience, try parenting with these positive parenting tips when raising a teenage son. They will prevent a lot of bad behavior before it even starts.
1. Attend church/youth group– make sure your family is plugged into a church and, more importantly, your son is involved in a youth group or Bible study. He needs godly friends and leaders who reinforce what you are doing at home.
- Pro tip: Do devotionals together as a family, talk about the sermon after church, ask what your son is learning at youth group, or in his quiet time. Casually talk about spiritual things daily so it will reinforce what God is doing in his life. (Duet. 6:7 paraphrase: talk about God when you are sitting, lying down, standing up…).
2. Pick your battles-some things are not worth fighting over. Yes, small things can morph into big things, but use discernment when deciding what to address today. If he is depressed, has anxiety, or just broke up with a girlfriend, back off the minor infractions.
- Pro tip: Work on your son’s heart. This is where the rebellion starts. Redirect bad behavior by talking through what he can do differently next time.
3. Teach empathy– teach your son to be kind to others. When he is older, encourage him to volunteer, or go on a mission trip. There is nothing like experiencing poverty firsthand to help him understand it’s not all about him.
- Pro tip: Volunteering/mission trips are especially good for kids who are bullies or act entitled; it is a must to address this attitude. Most criminals do not have empathy for their victims.
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4. Spend time together-do things together alone and as a family. Shoot hoops, play video games, attend a concert, or whatever is his jam. You want to spend way more positive time together than negative time.
- Pro tip: Boys tend to open up when doing an activity together with them. They are not directly looking at you and are less threatened when talking about personal things. (The car is another place they talk because you are not looking directly at them.)
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5. Teach respect-teach your son respect starting from birth. Discipline hitting, biting, screaming, or kicking when it starts in the younger years. By the time your son is a teen, he will already know these things are not acceptable.
- Pro tip-There is nothing worse than a rogue male who will not submit to authority. If you are raising a defiant teenage son, do what you can to stop it now. A defiant adult son will only bring you heartache.
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6. Love unconditionally-your son is going to push your buttons. Love him no matter what he says or does. He needs you to be his greatest fan, especially when he doesn’t even love himself.
- Pro tip: Sometimes the greatest love comes in the form of tough love. Do not confuse love with permissiveness when raising a teenage son. Letting him do whatever he wants is not love. Real love includes boundaries (rules) mixed with kindness and grace.
7. Seek a male role model-boys need a male role model. If your son’s father does not play an active role in parenting, find a godly male to pour into your son.
- Pro tip: This is why Bible study and youth groups are so important, especially if you are raising a teenage son as a single mom. Typically there are young men there who will encourage your son and guide him through difficult times.
8. Praise-your son needs encouragement. Lots of it. The world seems to be telling boys these days they are not appreciated or loved for who they are as a person. In fact, many are confused as to what being a man even looks like since many roles models are not Christian.
- Pro tip: Keep encouraging your son to be the godly man you know he is even if he isn’t acting like it right now. It is up to you to keep speaking life over him. Tell him daily who he is in Christ.
RELATED: I highly recommend the Crazy Cool Family podcast to help you learn how to parent using praise and not fear.
9. Encourage his dreams-your son has dreams. Listen to them and do what you can to help fulfill them. This may mean investing in extra lessons, time practicing with him, or whatever will help him get to where he wants to go in life.
- Pro tip: Your son’s dreams will change, grow and morph. Don’t pour a bunch of money into something until he proves he is serious about his dream over a sustained period of time.
10. Teach grit– when raising a teenage son, you need to realize he is going to fail. Don’t be embarrassed or feel like you are a bad parent. Instead, make it a learning experience, not one filled with shame. Help him to get up, dust off the dirt, and keep going.
- Pro tip: The most talented kids aren’t always the ones at the finish line; it is the ones who don’t stop running the race even if they have fallen five times. Quitters never win anything.
11. Instill a good work ethic-your son needs to know how to work hard. Kids tend to be lazy by nature. Give chores, ask him to pay for things such as clothes, dances, or even car insurance.
- Pro tip: Provide opportunities for your son to earn money if he is not old enough to get a summer job. Pay him to mow, weed, clean the garage, etc.
12. Teach manners-there is nothing worse than a bad guest. Teach your son to say thank you, write a thank you note, clean up after himself. eat what is put before him (or not eat everything in the buffet line), and give preference to older people such as offering his seat.
- Pro tip: Good manners go a long way. Your son will be loved by mothers everywhere if he is polite and knows how to handle himself gracefully around others.
13. Be present- attend his events whether it is sports, band, art show, or whatever he is interested in doing. Cheer him on but don’t make a scene. Don’t be that parent that is screaming at his child for missing a pitch or basket.
- Pro tip: You need to go to your child’s world if you want to connect with him. He is not coming to your world.
14 Teach responsibility-when raising a teenage son, it is important he learns to be responsible for his actions. Make the “crime” fit the punishment. If he breaks a window, have him help fix it.
- Pro tip: Spoiling your son will only bring grief to those around him, especially his wife someday. Teenagers who do not take ownership of their behavior turn into narcissistic adults. Remember this when raising a teenage son.
15. Pray for him-this is the single best advice I can give you, especially if you are raising a difficult teenage son. Pray for his friends, school, behavior, relationship with you, safety, etc. Practice surrendering your son to God daily because parenting with worry and fear accomplishes nothing.
- Pro tip: Many schools have a Moms in Prayer group. Go to it! You will find other Christian families who are like-minded; this can also help you identify Christian friends for your son and for you.
RELEVANT: How to Pray for Your Child: 6 Tips to Pray In Your War Room (really pray)
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How Do I Deal with My Teenage Son’s Attitude?
You may be thinking right now, I hate my teenage son. His attitude is unbearable. Your teenage son is going to have an attitude at some point; this is part of him separating from you. He is not going to like everything you do, especially rules that keep him from doing whatever he wants.
If he is rude and has a bad attitude, ask him to go to his room until he can calm down and talk to you with respect. If he comes back and is still rude, send him back again. Eventually, he will get it.
Do not allow a bad attitude to go unchecked. He may have it, but it is your job to confront it head-on and ask for a change. Ignoring it will not make it go away.
If you have a bad attitude and yell, don’t expect your son to get control of his. You need to be the example. More is caught than taught.
How Can I Improve My Relationship with My Teenage Son?
The best way to improve the relationship with your son is to back off and love him. For every correction, you need to have at least five other positive interactions. Connection before correction.
Some positive interactions might be something as small as a compliment or encouragement. Catch him doing good things and focus on that more than the bad things.
If your son is angry, sit down and ask him to help you understand how he is feeling about a situation. You may not agree with him, but you can listen. You’ll be surprised what you will learn by being quiet and listening to his heart.
If you have offended him, take ownership, and ask for forgiveness. Ask him to do the same. Do what you can to make things right between you. Ask for suggestions on another way to do things, if possible.
Do your best to parent out of love, not fear when raising a teenage son.
What Are the Most Difficult Teenage Years?
As a junior high teacher, I can tell you the ages from 12-15 years old are pretty difficult. I mean really, who understands the psychology of 14-year-old behavior?
Many times, teenage boys feel out of control because they don’t know who they are, they are still small in size, bullying starts, expectations are greater from adults, and their emotions are not regulated. Furthermore, they think they know everything; it is hard to reason with a teenage boy rationally.
This doesn’t mean 16-19 years of age aren’t hard, but the junior high years are especially difficult because a teenage boy is more vulnerable because he lacks wisdom but has more freedom.
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When to Worry About Your Teenage Son
When raising a teenage son, there may be times you worry about him. Here are some signs that things aren’t right:
- Loss of appetite for a prolonged period
- Failing grades or a big slump in grades
- Loss of friends or change in friends
- Not wanting to leave the house
- Drinking, drug, or nicotine usage
- Crying all the time
- Promiscuity, porn, or sexualize behavior
- Thoughts of suicide, or death talk
The world would tell you these are normal when raising teenage boys, but they are not. Something has happened; it is time to go back and retrace your steps. Find out where the breakdown occurred so you can understand your teenage son better.
Get outside help if you don’t see improvement or he won’t talk. Most of all, pray and fast for your son. My husband and I have fasted many times to get breakthroughs. It works!
Raising a teenage son is a privilege and a blessing. Don’t freak out if there are a few bumps along the way. You will make it through. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for boy tips or help in your parenting.
Check out podcasts, read books, research blogs, or talk to older parents on how to raise a successful teenager. More than anything, it is important that you have a relationship with God that supersedes anything else in your life so stay plugged into the Word of God.
No one has all the answers, but our God sure does. He will direct you every step of the way if you will continually seek Him in all things.
Do you have tips for raising a teenage son? Comment below!
Got Family Problems? There is Help and Hope!
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This book not only talks about my seven-year estrangement (and reconciliation) from my Christian family but also gives solid tips to help you with your family problems. Break free from your pain. Allow God to heal you no matter what has happened in your family of origin. There is hope when your family falls apart.
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