It can catch you off-guard, this becoming a teen. One day, your little boy is running around in superhero capes with plastic swords and the next, he’s looming tall with a baritone voice. As a mom of 5 boys, I’ve launched four to manhood so far. And yet, a few weeks ago my youngest son responded in a way that left me wondering where my little boy had gone.
The teen years present different challenges and require us to shift in our parenting. But boys don’t become teens overnight. Savvy moms can be ready for the teen years by looking for telltale signs in addition to physical changes. Let’s look at 7 signs your little boy is becoming a teen.
Savvy moms can be ready for the teen years by looking for telltale signs in addition to physical changes.
1. He starts sleeping in.
Growing boys need sleep and they stop keeping the same early bedtimes of young children. As kids grow into teens, their activities and sports tend to go later in the evening and the little boy who used to pop up before daylight now sleeps in until noon if allowed.
Parenting shift: If he’s staying up later, make sure your boy is getting between 8-10 hours of sleep each night.
2. He talks less.
Oh, how I miss that little boy chatter! As boys age, they generally become less talkative. They answer a mom’s cheery questions with monosyllables and sometimes clamp up altogether, showing the conversation is over.
Parenting shift: With my eyes on the road, car time became one of the best places to talk, and more importantly, listen to my sons. Capitalize on the time to and from school, sports and church activities.
3. He craves independence.
Your boy asks to ride his bike to the convenience store by himself. He withdraws to his room with earbuds rather than staying in the living area with family. And he no longer wants you to chaperone the class dance.
Parenting shift: Allow independence as you deem appropriate making clear it comes with corresponding responsibility.
4. He cares about his looks.
I remember when my older boys started showering without reminders, using massive amounts of body spray and – incredibly – doing their hair. Boys growing into teens begin to care how they look, especially in mixed company.
Parenting shift: Make sure your son knows how to care for his skin, hair and body smells as he becomes a teen.
5. He can get aggressive.
You start noticing not just energy, but sarcastic jabs at a sibling or increased competitiveness in family games. Your growing boy needs a way to channel his raging testosterone.
Parenting shift: Make sure your son gets daily time outside or in sports to exhaust that extra testosterone.
6. He becomes argumentative.
The emerging teen boy has opinions and he’s not afraid to declare them. He begins to argue as his own reasoning develops and he disagrees with decisions as he compares what other families do.
Parenting shift: Listen and respect your son’s growing opinions, even if you disagree. Let him know you’ll make allowances where you can but keep strong boundaries over issues that can’t be compromised.
7. He becomes insensitive.
My youngest boy still brings me wildflowers but he’s also begun to show insensitivity – things like being mean to his little sister he used to protect and responding moodily to simple requests.
You, Mom, are your son’s biggest cheerleader. Becoming a teen is tough! Affirm the good things you see in him, hold firmly to your family’s values and be ready to communicate on his timetable.
Tell us! What do you think is the most difficult parenting shift to make as our kids become teens?