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#1 Pen

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 08:55 PM

Please tell me about teenage boys! If you have been one, known them well, or lived through this stage with your kids, or are living through it now, please post.  Helpful ideas...   humor...   insight...



#2 Corraleno

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 09:11 PM

Mine has the attention span of a gnat and eats like an elephant, but hugs me every day and tells me how much he loves me. :001_wub: He was the WORST baby and toddler on the planet, but he is the most awesome teen. 

 

DD, on the other hand, was the sweetest, calmest, easiest kid ever until she hit puberty. Now she's 15 ....  :scared:  :willy_nilly:  :svengo:


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#3 Scarlett

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 09:12 PM

Please tell me about teenage boys! If you have been one, known them well, or lived through this stage with your kids, or are living through it now, please post. Helpful ideas... humor... insight...


I live with two currently. We have good days and bad days.
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#4 JudoMom

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 09:16 PM

I'm up to four teen boys. They drive me mad and make me laugh so hard (sometimes at the same time).

Remember, they're trying to be men. Show them respect, and try not​ to treat them like the squishy faced little boys that you might still see when you look at them. Talk to them, listen to them, and try not to blow a gasket when they do something boneheaded.

Edited by JudoMom, 17 May 2017 - 09:17 PM.

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#5 iamonlyone

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 09:21 PM

Um, I'd say realize that teenage boys often pull away some because many have a strong drive for independence. They may conflict with Mom because they want that independence but often still need help (with organization, planning, general life knowledge, etc.). They may conflict with Dad because they both have a drive to be alpha.

 

I found it helpful to allow lots of autonomy, when possible, and to try to show unconditional love even when some choices or thoughts were different from our family's culture.

 

Of course, there are all kinds of boys and men and people in general, so my experience may not help you at all!


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#6 onelittlemonkey

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 09:28 PM

I have one. He's a hilarious, moody, loving, aggravating, sweet, always hungry, know-it-all. He's pretty fantastic. 😍😍😍
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#7 regentrude

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 09:34 PM

I have one, have interacted a lot with his friends, and I work with 18-20 year olds in my job.

Teenage boys get a bad rap. They are actually quite fun. 

If my experiences are anything to go by, I'd say:

 

They eat unbelievable amounts of food, need to learn to shower regularly (which they will, eventually), can be scatter brained slobs - but they also can be organized and conscientious in the things that are important to them.

They feel acutely that they are in a weird space between childhood and adulthood and oscillate between behaving like one or the other.

They need space, both physically and figuratively. They want and need independence, but with a parent in the background who can catch them when they mess up, which they will. Then they need to go and be independent again. 

They will undergo a tremendous development between 13 and 18. Don't despair when you don't like what you see at 13.

They need love, but may balk at anything demonstrative.

They need role models. Fathers, employers, coaches, training partners. My DS has grown a lot through his sport and his interaction with other men.

They have thoughts, ideas, and dreams, and they want to be taken seriously. Even if a parent does not like a plan or dream, I found it very important to realize that this is his life, and that I cannot dream and plan for him - but I can listen, and contribute my life experience to help him achieve his dream.

 


Edited by regentrude, 17 May 2017 - 09:36 PM.

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#8 gardenmom5

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 09:35 PM

I've had two. . . Now I have a tween.

They're all different.
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#9 Pen

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 09:44 PM

They may conflict with Mom because they want that independence but often still need help (with organization, planning, general life knowledge, etc.). 

 

 

This is probably very true of what is going on here.


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#10 Pen

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 09:52 PM

I have one, have interacted a lot with his friends, and I work with 18-20 year olds in my job.

Teenage boys get a bad rap. They are actually quite fun. 

If my experiences are anything to go by, I'd say:

 

They eat unbelievable amounts of food, need to learn to shower regularly (which they will, eventually), can be scatter brained slobs - but they also can be organized and conscientious in the things that are important to them.

They feel acutely that they are in a weird space between childhood and adulthood and oscillate between behaving like one or the other.

They need space, both physically and figuratively. They want and need independence, but with a parent in the background who can catch them when they mess up, which they will. Then they need to go and be independent again. 

They will undergo a tremendous development between 13 and 18. Don't despair when you don't like what you see at 13.

They need love, but may balk at anything demonstrative.

They need role models. Fathers, employers, coaches, training partners. My DS has grown a lot through his sport and his interaction with other men.

They have thoughts, ideas, and dreams, and they want to be taken seriously. Even if a parent does not like a plan or dream, I found it very important to realize that this is his life, and that I cannot dream and plan for him - but I can listen, and contribute my life experience to help him achieve his dream.

 

 

Not all of this, but a lot!

 

 

Seems like mine acts less mature in mid teens than he did when he was 11!



#11 Anne in CA

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 09:55 PM

It was the best of times... it was the worst of times...

 

So, so true. My teen son was such a great academic success... but such a mess on other levels. I don't have enough energy to ever do it again. Except I have a teen dd now!!! She is a handful. I love her enough to die for her, but OMG, she is a handful. 


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#12 Pen

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 09:55 PM

I live with two currently. We have good days and bad days.

 

 

I read your thread with regard to jeans on laundry room floor.  Today I found jeans in the kitchen.  


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#13 teachermom2834

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 09:58 PM

I agree with lots of what is written above but mostly that they change a lot from 13-18. The rate of growth is both rapid and uneven. Older teens are easier I think.

I think they do better if they have autonomy over as many things as possible but the reality is they still aren't ready for alot of it. I try to let them make as many decisions as I can even if I don't always like the outcomes.

I just told my 17 yo today that I understood that it is hard to be almost grown...but not quite.

It is a hard time. But important. If you can preserve relationship and keep them alive you have done well. The rest will come together.
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#14 Pen

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 10:00 PM

I'm up to four teen boys. They drive me mad and make me laugh so hard (sometimes at the same time).

Remember, they're trying to be men. Show them respect, and try not​ to treat them like the squishy faced little boys that you might still see when you look at them. Talk to them, listen to them, and try not to blow a gasket when they do something boneheaded.

 

 

trying not to blow gasket is important yes.  And I think not only not treating them like the little boy I sometimes see when I look, but also not like the adult looking man that I also sometimes see when I look, but that is totally illusory.  

 

It was the best of times... it was the worst of times...

 

 

 

 

Yes!



#15 Sadie

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 10:04 PM

My teen boy just gave me an unasked for but must appreciated neck massage, and made me a cup of tea. He's a good kid!

 

He is a bit like a puppy though - needs regular walking, feeding and lots of sleep. 

 


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#16 Scarlett

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 10:05 PM

I read your thread with regard to jeans on laundry room floor. Today I found jeans in the kitchen.


Lol....

Well I am in another state caring for my mother....and ds17 is out past his 10 curfew....I just asked him why.he said he didn't think it applied since school is out.
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#17 Diana P.

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 10:06 PM

I previously had one and currently have one. 

 

Good luck. 



#18 Pen

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 10:10 PM

I agree with lots of what is written above but mostly that they change a lot from 13-18. The rate of growth is both rapid and uneven. Older teens are easier I think.

I think they do better if they have autonomy over as many things as possible but the reality is they still aren't ready for alot of it. I try to let them make as many decisions as I can even if I don't always like the outcomes.

I just told my 17 yo today that I understood that it is hard to be almost grown...but not quite.

It is a hard time. But important. If you can preserve relationship and keep them alive you have done well. The rest will come together.

 

 

I'll try to keep that bold part in mind!



#19 J-rap

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 10:11 PM

I loved my teenage boy.  20's is much harder!   :lol:

 

Also, I love this quote:

 

When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.


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#20 rutamattatt

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 10:17 PM

We have a 15 year old son.  I have NO IDEA what to think of this crazy, wild, tender, too-big-for-his-man-pants fellow most of the time.   

 

I grew up the youngest of three sisters, so this is my first time living with a teen boy.  I find him fascinating and appalling all at once.  I often have to ask my husband, "Is he normal?"  My husband assures me he is.  

 

Most of the time I think he is delightful, but I am glad to see other posters talk about the flipping between man and boy phenomenon.  Some days I have to not so delicately remind him I don't work for him, and other days he wants me to snuggle on the couch with him.  I see such maturity in some areas, and yet absolute confusion when I point out that a bathroom with dirty laundry all over the floor does not count as a "clean bathroom".  

 

I am fascinated watching him grow up.


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#21 Pen

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 10:17 PM

Lol....

Well I am in another state caring for my mother....and ds17 is out past his 10 curfew....I just asked him why.he said he didn't think it applied since school is out.

 

 

Mine was violating a be home (at least basically home) by dark rule. that one I solved at least to some degree by a quick explanation that the reason for the rule is bears and cougars, not a random rule for a little boy.  There could be a bear or cougar anytime, but they are especially active around dawn and dusk, and hungry.


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#22 Bethany Grace

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 10:49 PM

I have one. He's a hilarious, moody, loving, aggravating, sweet, always hungry, know-it-all. He's pretty fantastic. 😍😍😍


I have one just like this, too. 😄😄
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#23 Sassenach

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 11:14 PM

All of the above! Except mine has no hygiene issues, thank God. His older sister was/is much worse in that department.

I am enjoying the teen boy experience much more than the teen girl. At least with the eldest.
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#24 PinkyandtheBrains.

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 11:25 PM



I have two. For the most part they are great fun to be around.
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#25 Seasider

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 03:53 AM

Mine has the attention span of a gnat and eats like an elephant, but hugs me every day and tells me how much he loves me. :001_wub: He was the WORST baby and toddler on the planet, but he is the most awesome teen.

DD, on the other hand, was the sweetest, calmest, easiest kid ever until she hit puberty. Now she's 15 .... :scared: :willy_nilly: :svengo:


Okay this perfectly describes my experience. The boys were goofy and forgetful, and stinky, but very affectionate. The girls... well, they're rhe ones that put me to the test.
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#26 Sarah CB

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:05 AM

I loved my teenage boy.  20's is much harder!   :lol:

 

Also, I love this quote:

 

When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.

 

Please no. 20's can't be harder. 

 

Great quote - that's definitely true for my dd. She's 21 and calls me all the time now. She's lovely to have around and fun to go out with - two nights ago we were at a pub for a literary reading together. I was really looking forward to easy and enjoyable 20's with the boys...

 

I think one teenage boy is much different than multiples. One would be so much nicer and easier. I get overwhelmed by the numbers. I've got a 17 year old, a 15 year old, and an 11 year old who is a difficult preteen. 

 

Mine actually don't eat a ton. My 15 year old eats the most - he'll have a full meal after school and then eat dinner later as well, but that's the extent of it. They're actually much more focused on their appearance than I thought they'd be - they shower daily, they have hair products and hair dryers. They're still really funny and they're still fun to talk to and spend time with, but they also have tempers and do need their own space. I love their friends, too. We have multiple teens sleep over at least once a week. On the weekend it's not unheard of to have three extra boys at the table (who all eat more than my kids, so I've had to learn to make more food). My 17 year old drives now, but I still like driving them and their friends around - they talk more in the car. 

 

I've been able to connect with my 17 year old in weird ways - he recently started listening to rap. When he found out I used to listen to rap he wanted to know who I listened to so I made a playlist with my favourite pieces from a million years ago. It's been fun to play a piece for him in the car (when my 11 year old is not around). 

 

They tell me weird things. In some ways they tell me a lot and in other ways I don't hear very much. That's another reason I love having their friends over - it's fun to get the friends going and have them tell me stories. 

 

They get away with way more than dd ever would have attempted and it drives her crazy. But, I'm one person and they tire me out and I give in and they're all still alive.
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#27 MEmama

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:13 AM

13 was my favorite age to parent, hands down.

Now 14 is. :)
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#28 Pink and Green Mom

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:15 AM

This is probably very true of what is going on here.

 

When mine was 13, not a day went by that I didn't think "one of us isn't going to make it to 14."  It does get better.
 


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#29 Onceuponatime

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 06:06 AM

I've got four boys. The last one just turned 13. What they all hated was being told stuff they already know, because they expected me and their father to be able to read their minds so they shouldn't have to listen to superfluous information. I spent a lot of time telling them there were more polite ways to let people know you that you were aware of stuff. Like, "Thanks, I've got it" Instead of an angry, "l know!" They all went through that stage and came out the other side. The youngest is in it now. 😬

Other than the usual smelly, hungry, growing too fast stages, they were great fun to be around. I don't think I would have ever watched so many goofy youtube videos on my own. I feel like I lucked out. I'm an introvert and so are all three (3 still live at home, one is married) of my boys. We all love to read, take hikes, play games, and do family stuff. They are pretty undemanding kids. One down side is a couple of them also struggle with some social anxiety, like me.

Edited by Onceuponatime, 18 May 2017 - 06:59 AM.

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#30 kewb

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 06:09 AM

Ah, the teen years.  I am convinced that when they turn 13 their brains melt and ooze out their ears.  Thus leaving them with a bad case of what we call "The Stupid".  You just have to be patient while their brains grow back, somewhere around age 23.

 

I love my 19 year old to pieces.  We have some days where he is just a joy and a delight.  And other days I wonder where the pod people have hidden his body.


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#31 Garga

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 06:13 AM

For my 14 year old (and the 12 yo, too), three things: keep it light, keep it light, keep it light.

Left a mess you'd asked them to clean? Don't come down hard with a long speech. Keep it light. "Son. The mess," in a pleasant tone and pleasant face.

I make a lot of gentle jokes to keep things light and haven't lectured in ages. I have a great relationship with my ds 14 (and ds12) and I make a point to keep things light and not to come down hard on him for things. I will still correct the things that need correcting, but in a light way that preserves everyone's dignity. It's working so far!
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#32 creekland

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 06:47 AM

I've had three.  Two were (mostly) gems, only one of those was neat.  One was normal - unpredictable, but predictable if you can relate to that.  You do your best just like we all do.

 

BUT, the best thought came from hubby not long ago.  I was reading the house rules for my normal teen's upcoming Study Abroad (he's staying with a family). He's willingly agreeing to these in order to go. They include:

 

- ALWAYS let your house mom know where you are at all times.  Texting a quick note is fine.  It is not ok to go from one place to another without letting her know nor is it ok to be out later than you said without letting her know.

 

- You should be back at home by 10pm most nights and NEVER stay out past midnight.

 

- Don't leave dirty clothes on the floor or food dishes around the house.

 

- NEVER put your feet on the furniture.

 

- Always ask before using anything electronic including computers/TV, etc.

 

I'm sure there were more I'm not thinking of this morning, but the cute part?  

 

Hubby didn't miss a beat saying, "_____!  We should have sent him there in high school!"

 

Good luck!  (I figure they have those rules because... well... traditional teen boys in our culture.)


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#33 SparklyUnicorn

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 06:47 AM

My older kid is 15.  Moody is the word that comes to mind.

 

(of course I'm moody too so it might just be me...LOL)

 

 


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#34 Evanthe

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 06:53 AM

I am enjoying the teen boy experience much more than the teen girl. At least with the eldest.

 

Me, too.  My teen boy is much easier to deal with than my teen girl.  


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#35 Evanthe

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 06:57 AM

Remember, they're trying to be men. Show them respect, and try not​ to treat them like the squishy faced little boys that you might still see when you look at them. 

 

:iagree:   I read this several years ago and it's had a big impact on my relationship with ds14.  


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#36 teachermom2834

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 08:07 AM

For my 14 year old (and the 12 yo, too), three things: keep it light, keep it light, keep it light.

Left a mess you'd asked them to clean? Don't come down hard with a long speech. Keep it light. "Son. The mess," in a pleasant tone and pleasant face.

I make a lot of gentle jokes to keep things light and haven't lectured in ages. I have a great relationship with my ds 14 (and ds12) and I make a point to keep things light and not to come down hard on him for things. I will still correct the things that need correcting, but in a light way that preserves everyone's dignity. It's working so far!


I agree with this. The flip side of this is that when there is a really serious issue you can handle it seriously and they (at least mine) know you mean it. If every pile of dirty laundry in the wrong place is a huge deal you have lost them when there is something truly important to deal with.
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#37 teachermom2834

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 08:13 AM

Another thought- I have loved my teen boys having jobs. Their own spending money means they can stop for a snack or buy a video game or a new pair of shoes without consulting mom. Autonomy. Their own money means they can have a mishap with a car and pay for the damage themselves. Responsibility. Hearing the basics from an employer (you need to shave, be on time, be polite, stay organized with your schedule) means Mom is not nuts and she is right about these things mattering.

Plus- it keeps them busy which is important. It also helps me see them as the emerging adults they are and I don't care so much where they drop their laundry when they have just worked a ten hour shift. The kids working has helped our family dynamic quite a bit.
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#38 PinkTulip

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 08:16 AM

I have 4 teenage boys right now, and agree with much of what has been said. My boys are really hard around 15-16: moody, know-it-all, argue with everything I say. By the time they hit 17, they become really wonderful people again.

I have found myself stepping out of my comfort zone a lot to keep a close relationship with them: we do a lot of active things like zip lining, skiing, etc. (boys are like dogs in that they need some kind of exercise every day!). Some of our best conversations happen sitting in a car listening to their music really late at night (waaaay past my bedtime).

My boys are all swimmers so the food thing is very real: we go through 8-10 gallons of milk and 4-5 dozen eggs per week for example. I don't limit food at my house because I figure if they're eating, they're hungry, so we go through a LOT of food. It's mostly all healthy, but there are some things I buy purely for the calories because they are starving when they get home from swim team and eat a lot. Like an entire box of cereal, or 14 taquitos, or 4 cups of trail mix. This of course is followed 2 hours later by a full healthy dinner and then basically another meal after that which we call "food before bed."

But I wouldn't change any of it for the world: I love having all boys, and (for the most part), teenage boys are a lot of fun!
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#39 Lady Marmalade

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 08:19 AM

My boy has only been an official teenager for four months now, but he's already 6'2" and is my "Gigantaur".   He's gotten so dang handy to have around!  I can't reach something?  He is always willing to use his "bigness" to help me out around the house- as long as it doesn't take him away from the good stuff for too long.  He still willingly gives me hugs just because, and his day does not end right if I don't tuck him in and give him a kiss on the forehead.

 

But the smell.  Good God, THE SMELL. 

 

My DS has fantastic bathing habits, and does his own laundry once a week.  Wears deodorant without needing to be reminded and loves when it is nice enough out to open his bedroom window and air it out.  He keeps his shoes out of his bedroom to keep them from contributing to bedroom odors.  Yet, despite all his good habits, That Smell just won't go away.  And he's only 13.  


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#40 kewb

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 08:20 AM

My boy has only been an official teenager for four months now, but he's already 6'2" and is my "Gigantaur".   He's gotten so dang handy to have around!  I can't reach something?  He is always willing to use his "bigness" to help me out around the house- as long as it doesn't take him away from the good stuff for too long.  He still willingly gives me hugs just because, and his day does not end right if I don't tuck him in and give him a kiss on the forehead.

 

But the smell.  Good God, THE SMELL. 

 

My DS has fantastic bathing habits, and does his own laundry once a week.  Wears deodorant without needing to be reminded and loves when it is nice enough out to open his bedroom window and air it out.  He keeps his shoes out of his bedroom to keep them from contributing to bedroom odors.  Yet, despite all his good habits, That Smell just won't go away.  And he's only 13.  

 

Ah, boy funk.  So delightful.  



#41 Where's Toto?

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 08:31 AM

Mine is only 11 1/2 but I keep reading these teen boy threads because I figure we're getting there, and since my oldest is a girl, this boy stuff is going to be all new to me.

We seem to be getting there early - ds has grown about 4 inches in the past 6 months.  He's getting acne.  He stinks.   But the biggest surprise for me is the food.  When ds was little, he didn't feel hungry very often.  He would eat based on the clock.  He's also very picky in a sensory way.  So, I assumed that whole "eat like a horse" thing wouldn't apply to my little boy.    Well, one day it was like a switch flipped.   He's now eating about 4 x what he used to - 2nd lunches and dinners, 2 or 3 snacks between meals.  Yet, with the growth spurt he's actually slimmed down quite a bit.  

 

So far he's only had a few incidences of moody/cranky.  It actually comforts him and helps him deal with it just knowing it's "normal" to feel that way.   We are all introverts and all take lots of time to ourselves, plus he has lots of free time to do his own thing, so that may help.

It's actually kind of fascinating to watch.


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#42 Kinsa

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 08:34 AM

I'm on my fifth teenage boy. What's to tell?

You know how when you are surrounded by something, it becomes normal and you know of nothing else? Like, what's it like being an American? Well, um, I dont know. I've just always been in America, so I don't know what to compare it with! That's how it is with me and teenage boys. Lol

Let's see...

They stink to high heaven.

They grunt and mumble all day long.

They find humor in the absolute stupidest of things.

They eat constantly, like Hobbits.

One minute they hate you because you've ruined their lives, the next minute they think you're the greatest person on earth.

They grow and grow and grow. Their physiques change (skinny waist and butt, broad shoulders.)

They get hairy. In a couple of my boys' cases, very hairy.

You can't tell them anything. If you want them to do something, tell then to do the opposite. Lol

They do pull away from you toward the end of high school. They become young men at that point.

In middle school and early high school, their brains are out to lunch. Motivation to learn academics is non-existent.

They like to be really physical active. They like outdoors, hard labor, and rough housing. Paid employment that entails hard labor really helps them.

That's al I can think of right now.

Edited by Kinsa, 18 May 2017 - 08:35 AM.

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#43 tentwelve

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 09:42 AM

nm


Edited by _ -_-, 18 May 2017 - 03:29 PM.

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#44 Garga

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 10:25 AM

Huh. My boys don't like to do anything physical. Maybe it'll kick in later. Right now if I try to suggest anything active, they groan and don't want to do it, no matter what it is.

Then again, both my dh and I have always been that way, too. We've never been particularly active, even as teens. I guess it's normal for our family.

Edited by Garga, 18 May 2017 - 10:26 AM.

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#45 Nan in Mass

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 10:54 AM

I had three.  Keeping mine alive was a challenge.  Their hearts were in the right place, and their morals, and they didn't have much trouble thinking straight or thinking before acting, but they were deeply angry about the state of the world, which produced some behavior which looked less than moral at times.

 

They didn't have much trouble thinking straight or thinking before acting, but they were overly optimistic about the outcome of some of the things they did. We talked a lot about risk management:

 

Super bad if it goes wrong + likely to go wrong = don't do it

Super bad if it goes wrong + very unlikely to go wrong = don't do it

Not too bad if it goes wrong + might very well go wrong = do it with caution if you are willing to live with the consequences

Not too bad if it goes wrong + unlikely to go wrong = do it

 

They had immature self discipline.  This meant that to carry out a long-term plan, like completing a class, they often needed to borrow mine.  This also meant that sometimes they were overcome by the temptation of doing something fun that they knew was a bad idea.

 

Mine needed vast amounts of hard excersize in order to focus on school work and keep themselves from crawling out of their skin (their words).  Like 4 hours of gymnastics most days.

 

They had a deep need to be trained how to do adult things, preferably the things men usually do in our family rather than women (we cross over fine, just find traditional roles convenient), preferably by other adult men, not their mother.  They also had a deep need for me and other members of the family (both male and female) to let them do those things for us. I am tiny and busy. This was very useful, as Dad got busier with his business and Grampa got older, but (big but) it required that they be trained to do things and this was the most tricky bit - I had to remember to call on them to do them rather than call on my husband or father to do them.  They couldn't be the little things, either.  Carrying in the groceries was a thrill when they were 5 but they know that I can do that myself, although it takes me longer.  They needed to do things like take the chainsaw and cut up the big branch that was blocking our way out of the driveway, or build me a shelf, or figure out why the toaster oven isn't working, or drive to the store to pick up much needed medicine.  They couldn't be made up things, either.  I had to really need them.  If some sort of emergency was involved, so much the better.

 

Mine were snuggly little boys.  I had to find an acceptably adult way to continue to provide the much needed body contact.  Quick hugs didn't quite do it.  Shoulder rubs and sitting shoulder to shoulder sharing a textbook on the sofa worked.  So did horsing around in the water or on a swing.

 

Although they were encouraged to do laundry and cook and clean, I told them that it was my job and I wasn't upset by having to pick up dead socks from the bathroom floor.  Somehow, this seemed to help them to get their dead socks into the laundry basket themselves.  I think maybe because moving the socks was something they were doing to help me, rather than something they were doing for themselves.  It seemed both more and less optional that way.

 

I tried really hard to respect them and to show respect for them, the way I would for any other adult member of our clan.  If I wouldn't say it to another adult, I tried not to say it to them.  (We aren't one of those blunt families.)  Saving face was really important.  Part of that respect was being tactful.  Part of that respect was being honest.  Part of it was taking their concerns seriously.  If they asked if I had windshield wiper fluid in the car before a long trip, I didn't say of course - I am not stupid - I have been doing this a long time.  Instead,  I said good thought - I will check.

 

We found we had to break being a grownup into small parts and separate them out from each other in order to keep anxiety down.  Going to college does not equal moving out forever.  Graduating from college does not equal moving out forever.  Mine would have ensured that they never grew up if we hadn't.  As I said in an earlier post, this meant that we had to make being grown up seem like a more-fun-than-school, staying-in-your-clan, being-helped-by-your-clan, contributing-to-your-clan, clan-is-forever thing rather than a you-take-care-of-yourself-all-by-yourself, you-know-how-to-do-all-adult-tasks, see-you-around-some-time, don't-forget-to-call-me-on-mother's-day thing.

 

Their bodies are theirs.  You can suggest sunscreen.  You can suggest that they be at a certain place at a certain time.  But the awful truth is that you can't make them.  You either have to bribe them to do what you want, or they have to do it because they realize that it is in their own best interest, or they have to do it out of love.  Love is by far the easiest way to go about doing that.  That means you have to be worthy of love.  Which means you can't lie.  You can't lie about your own actions and motivations.  You can't lie about other people.  You can't lie about the state of the world.  This is hard to do.  Really hard to do.  They are wired to spend these years testing your words and actions against their own experience.  They see inconsistencies.  They see them in other people, too, and you have to try to explain but not condone or excuse.  Or you have to agree that whatever it is is wrong.   And it isn't a mutual thing.  They can and almost certainly will lie.  You can't or you will start to lose them.

 

Family meetings are good.  Hard sometimes but good.

 

We tried to find things that we could do together for fun as an adult family.  That way, staying together as adults will be fun.  It hurts when they outgrow things that you thought were fun, but I think it is important to try to find new things, since this is a new person you have here.

 

There have to be good times as well as the bad.  I was reduced to trying to have two good or at least neutral encounters for every bad one, during the worst times.

 

Mine were great backseat drivers.  Eventually, I figured out that they were practising driving in a super safe way and I moved them to the front seat and let them direct me.  "Don't forget to put your turn signal on here."  What wonderful practice!  This applied to other things, too.  Most of those seemingly know-it-all comments were practice.  They have to do it out loud in order to get your input.  I tried to make corrections tactful and say thank you if they were right.

 

At some point, I had to explain that I was no longer indestructible.  In fact, I was very fragile and they could break my ribs hugging me.

 

I was super glad that I hadn't ever let them fight physically with each other or me, even in fun.  Teenage boy anger is an awesome thing to behold.  When mine were overcome by it, I was super glad that I could count on them not hurting me or each other.  Mine were high strung enough to be scary sometimes.

 

They also were high strung enough that we had to consciously and openly teach coping techniques for being scared about something.  And we had to talk about our own struggles with that.  The benefit of that was that they were really comforting when I was worried about something.  They always had tried, but as teenagers, they were really effective and it was marvelous.  The amount of support I got from them!

 

I liked Regentrude's list.

 

Nan

 

ETA - At some point, the rules have to switch over to being rules that all adults in the household follow.  I found it useful to point out which rules were kid rules and which were every-adult rules and which were husband-and-wife rules.  How were they supposed to know that those adult rules I took for granted weren't just things that applied between Dad and Mum, but between all adults living together.  There are some that only apply between my husband and I, that we have worked out for our comfort and which don't apply to other adults.  And then there are ones that are universal in the clan.

 


Edited by Nan in Mass, 18 May 2017 - 11:06 AM.

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#46 Pen

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 10:57 AM

For my 14 year old (and the 12 yo, too), three things: keep it light, keep it light, keep it light.

Left a mess you'd asked them to clean? Don't come down hard with a long speech. Keep it light. "Son. The mess," in a pleasant tone and pleasant face.

I make a lot of gentle jokes to keep things light and haven't lectured in ages. I have a great relationship with my ds 14 (and ds12) and I make a point to keep things light and not to come down hard on him for things. I will still correct the things that need correcting, but in a light way that preserves everyone's dignity. It's working so far!

 

 

More specifics would be appreciated! Gentle jokes examples especially.

 

I've also noticed that very few words work better than more (sort of in a "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen" approach). And what feels terse in an unfriendly way to me, seems right to my ds teen. What to me seems like a reasonable explanation, to him sounds like a lecture.  Also the word "please" which to me sounds polite, to him seems like something else--though I've not figured out what exactly.



#47 PinkTulip

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 11:01 AM

I just had a teenage boy moment that made me think of this thread:

My 17 yo just texted me from school asking if it would be ok if he sluffed his Physics class, as they were just watching a movie (school gets out next week).

My initial reaction was, "no way! You should never skip a class!"

Then I realized, he texted and asked me!

So I texted back to go to class today, but I will excuse him tomorrow and he can go to breakfast with his friends.

I love my teenage boys - exasperating and so sweet and in the same moment!
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#48 fairfarmhand

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 11:14 AM

Read the Zits comics.

 

I had two brothers, one older and one younger...and yes, it will help you laugh at the teen boyness portrayed.  And moms of teens, boys and girls, have to be able to laugh.


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#49 Selkie

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 11:19 AM

I have one. He's a hilarious, moody, loving, aggravating, sweet, always hungry, know-it-all. He's pretty fantastic. 😍😍😍

 

I have two and they're just like this, too.  :001_smile:


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#50 tentwelve

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 11:27 AM

nm 

 


Edited by _ -_-, 18 May 2017 - 03:29 PM.

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