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 challenging. The world is pulling at your son to be anything but godly.

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 you?

Here’s the best news you will hear all day…you have way more influence over your son than you think. Your teenage son may not act like he listens or cares about what you say, but he does.

I promise.

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 you to raise your kids is possible; you don’t have to fear raising a teenage son.

If you need practical ideas from a teacher and a mom who just finished raising a teenage son, check out these 15 pro tips on how to raise a teenage son.

RELATED: How to Discipline Kids: 29 Easy Ways to Get Kids to Obey

15 Pro Tips to Overcome Fear When Raising a Teenage Son

You may ask, “What is normal behavior for a 15-year-old boy? Or why is my 14-year-old son is out of control!” These are good questions when 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:

Ensure 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 teach at home. (If you are not in church, it’s time to start going!)

        • 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, and casually talk about spiritual things daily so it reinforces what God is doing in his life.

Duet. 6:7 paraphrase: Talk about God when you are sitting, lying down, or standing up. This is one of the best tips for raising a teenage son.

2.  Pick your battles when raising a teenage son:

Some things are not worth fighting over. Yes, small things can morph into big things, but have 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. This is how to raise a teenage son!

3.  Teach empathy when raising a teenage son:

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 perfect 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. 

4.  Spend time together when raising a teenage son:

If you want to know how to connect with your teenage son, do things 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. This is an excellent tip for raising a teenage son.

        • Pro tip: Boys tend to open up when doing an activity together with them. They do not directly look at you and are less threatened when discussing personal things. (The car is another place they talk because you are not looking directly at them.) This is how to raise a teenage son!
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RELATED: Family Bonding Activities: Fun Ways to Spend Time Together

5.  Teach respect when raising a teenage son:

Teach your son to respect starting from birth. Discipline hitting, biting, screaming, or kicking when it begins in the younger years. When your son is a teen, he will already know these things are unacceptable.

        • Pro tip: Nothing is 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 when raising a teenage son:

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 as 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. This is where the church comes in handy.

        • 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. Find other young men who will encourage and guide your son through difficult times.

8.  Praise when raising a teenage son: 

Your son needs encouragement—lots of it. These days, the world seems to be telling boys that they are not appreciated or loved for who they are. Many are confused as to what being a man even looks like since many role 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. This is how to raise a teenage son!

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 them fulfill them. This may mean investing in extra lessons, practicing with him, or doing whatever will help him get to where he wants in his 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.

RELEVANT: How to Create Family Memories: 3 Ways to Love Your Kids

10. Teach grit:

When raising a teenage son, you need to realize he will fail. Don’t be embarrassed or feel like a terrible parent. Instead, make it a learning experience, not one filled with shame. Help him get up, dust off the dirt, and keep going.

        • Pro tip: The most talented kids aren’t always the ones at the finish line; they are the ones who don’t stop running the race, even if they have fallen five times. Quitters never win anything.

RELATED: 6 Tips When You Feel Like You’ve Failed as a Parent

11.  Instill a good work ethic:

Your son needs to know how to work hard. Kids tend to be lazy by nature. Give them chores and ask them to pay for clothes, dances, or 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 when raising a teenage son:

There is nothing worse than a lousy guest. Teach your son to say thank you, write a note, and clean up after himself. He should also 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. If your son is polite and can handle himself gracefully around others, he will be loved by mothers everywhere.
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13.  Be present when raising a teenage son:

Attend his events, whether sports, band, art show or whatever he is interested in doing. Cheer him on, but don’t make a scene. Don’t be a parent screaming at his child for missing a pitch or basket.

        • Pro tip: If you want to connect with your child, go to his world. He is not coming to your world.

14  Teach responsibility when raising a teenage son:

When raising a teenage son, he must learn 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 when raising a teenage son:

This is the 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, which can also help you identify Christian friends for your son and yourself.

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 a Stubborn Teenager Boy?

You may be thinking right now, My son is so stubborn! And his attitude…yikes!

Your teenage son may be stubborn and have an attitude at some point; this is part of him separating from you. He will not always like everything you do, especially rules that keep him from doing whatever he wants. (It is your job to set the boundaries and keep them.)

If he is rude, has a bad attitude, or won’t comply, there must be some consequences. But this is also a cue to start spending more time together.  Something is going on with him.

It may be a girl, bullying, or your environment at home—whatever it is, start by listening to him. What he is saying may be scary, but it is already happening, so ignoring it won’t make it go away.

If he won’t talk, pray for God to reveal the problem. Ask for wisdom and guidance when raising a teenage son. You will need it daily!

And by the way, if you have a terrible attitude and yell, don’t expect your son to get control of his attitude so fast. It would be best if you were an 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. You need to have at least five other positive interactions for every correction. 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 wrong things.

If your son is angry, ask him to help you understand his feelings about a situation. You may disagree with him, but you can listen. You’ll be surprised by what you 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. If possible, ask for suggestions on another way to do things.

See also  How to Be an Intentional Parent and Get Results

If you want to know how to raise a teenage son, do your best to parent out of love, not fear.

RELATED: The Power of Apologizing: 5 Reasons You Need to Say Sorry to Your Kids

What Are the Most Difficult Teenage Years When Raising a Teenage Son?

You may ask, “Is 13 a difficult age for boys?” As a junior high teacher, I can tell you that the ages between 12 and 15 are pretty tricky. 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, bullying starts, expectations from adults are more significant, and their emotions are not regulated. Furthermore, they think they know everything; rationally reasoning with a teenage boy is hard.

This doesn’t mean 16-19 years aren’t hard, but the junior high years are tricky because a teenage boy is more vulnerable as he lacks wisdom but has more freedom.

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When to Worry About When Raising a Teenage Son

If you want to know how to raise a teenage son,  be on the lookout for significant changes in his behavior. 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
          • Cutting
          • Drinking, drug, or nicotine usage
          • Crying all the time
          • Promiscuity, porn, or sexualized behavior
          • Violence
          • 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 retrace your steps and find out where the breakdown occurred so you can better understand your teenage son.

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 about how to raise a thriving teenager. Your relationship with God must supersede everything 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!

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Got Family Problems? There is Help and Hope!

Are you experiencing family problems or an estrangement? Do you feel shame, anger, or rejection? Check out my book Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart on Amazon or at your favorite digital store. 

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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Get Creating Family Memories. This book will help you manage your family in a way that allows more time to be intentional with your kids.  It includes a schedule too. You can get it at your favorite bookstore.

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Continue the conversation on Facebook and join the Christian Family Living group. This is a place for Christian women to freely talk about parenting, marriage, faith, family, and culture. Being a Christian is hard! Let’s do it together. Most of all, a sense of humor is required. Got memes? Bring it on!

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There are tips on building a Christian home, parenting, marriage, family issues, and faith. Learn how to return to what matters most. It’s time for a revival!


Julie is a wife, mom, teacher, author, and blogger. She writes about Christian family living, marriage, parenting with a touch of humor.

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