Teenagers, especially boy teens, are a presumable scourge group of kids that most parents find difficult to deal with. You may have lived through late-night feedings, pee potty training, no-school tantrums, and many such dramas, but raising a teen boy is a very different category. In simple terms, when your boys come to the age of 13, you are no longer the boss in your family.
The behavior of a teenage boy can be challenging, as, at this age, your son is set out to grow emotionally, intellectually, and physically. They discover new feelings and developments that they have never had. The growing biological and behavioral change in teenagers around this age is called the early-adolescence stage. At this period, they begin to discover new feelings and developments that they have never had.
Research shows that children in their mid-adolescence (or 14 years of age) peak at making the highest risk choices. This might be common in most children, but it can still cause your child physical or psychological self-harm.
Recognize The Problems
Suddenly, the little boy who asked for your permission before making any decision wants to decide everything by himself. The kids who helped you out with house chores now no longer keep their rooms clean. The smart boys who finished their projects on time now no longer open their school work at home. Moreover, the emotional dramatists who threw tantrums all the time now do not show or talk about their feelings anymore.
Effectively parenting teenagers requires plenty of love, patience, empathy, and compassion. At this point, you can stop being a guide to your son as your teen boy will want to make his own decisions. The best way to guide your teen now is by improving your relationship with him. If you want to help your son become a good man, you need to be ready for unlimited understanding and never-ending love.
What Are The Problems Of Teen Boys?
Starting at 14, your son will begin exploring many new and first-time feelings—first betrayal, jealousy, insecurity, sexual feelings, love, and the weight of emotional baggage brought by hormonal changes. Other problems they may come across could be drugs, social media overconsumption, excess gaming, or one or more problems given below:
- Toxic Masculinity
- Repression of feelings
- Lying or hiding the truth
- Constantly arguing
- Defying rules
- Lacking in Academics
- Substance Abuse
We’re quick to state and complain about our problems with our children, but as parents, how often do we understand their issues?
Before you begin to fix the relationship with your growing teen, find a way to recognize what he is going through. You may not get a single piece of information from them at first, but it will work with trust, patience, and love.
While you note down some of your teen’s many problems, you also need to learn about the psychological reasons behind these issues. You won’t help your teen until you know how their mind, heart, and body work.
Understand The WHY Behind The Problems
Putting yourself in your teen’s shoes and getting an insight into their mind will help you understand the root cause of your teen’s problems. Most parents stop trying to understand their son when he halts communication, is acting grumpy or sassy, and making it difficult to get through to him. That is the cue to dig a little deeper.
The answer lies in figuring out why he stopped communicating and talking about things. There can be multiple reasons for the same, but parents tend to connect silence with disrespect.
Their behavior of quietness and needing space doesn’t necessarily equate to disrespect; sometimes, it’s a cry for help. Teenagers are notorious for “acting out” their emotions rather than conveying them verbally. So to understand why teenagers put you through the silent treatment or their challenging behavior, you must know the psychology behind it.
10 Psychological Reasons For Challenging Teenage Behavior
Teenagers stand exposed to overwhelming external and internal conflicts. They go through difficulties and are expected to cope with hormonal changes, puberty, social and parental pressure, exam and career choices, emotional issues, etc. All these are big changes with only a little time to figure out. Here are some reasons behind what makes a teen boy’s behavior conflicting:
1. Dealing With Physical Insecurities
Due to hormonal changes, each teenager’s body reacts differently. These changes can be very diverse, and most often, teens find it difficult to make peace with them.
If not present before, many physical insecurities start developing in teens when people around them make fun of normal physical appearance.
Body shaming by parents, strangers from the internet, and friends can instill a lot of vulnerabilities at a very tender age. These insecurities lead to self-hate, frustration, and the feeling of never being “good enough.”
Every teenager is fighting a battle of their own, and you may never learn about their problems until they trust you with their feelings. While parents take it for granted that their teen boy would come and talk about his life problems, it may not be like that. Teenagers tend to hide emotions when they feel uncomfortable with their surroundings, causing them to become distant, quiet, and anti-social.
Due to toxic masculinity teachings and society sayings, boys aren’t accustomed to being vulnerable or sharing their emotions. This can cause bottling up of emotions and build up anxiety, eventually leading to depression.
Bullying and being bullied can both have negative impacts on a teen boy’s mind. Being bullied can instill fear, frustration and scar one’s childhood. While being a bully can lead the child to become a toxic and harmful person for others. This may also restrict him from developing genuine friendships and connections, leaving him to grow alone without support and love.
4. The Struggle With Sexuality
Sexuality, being a sensitive topic, is not discussed in many households, leading the children to rely on undependable & unsafe sources for information. Not getting proper sex education and the inability to understand sexual emotions can make teens confused and misunderstand the feelings of desire & intimacy.
5. New Changes
Accepting countless new changes all at once can be challenging for a mind that is just learning to grow up. It can be overwhelming for a 14-year-old boy. These changes can be unsettling and cause loud reactions like frustration and short temper outbursts.
6. Exam Pressure
Academic pressure plays a significant role in determining a student’s state of mind. The education curriculum that most schools follow nowadays is outdated and does not effectively work towards growing a kid’s interests and talent.
It is more about testing memory capability than it is about actual knowledge and talent growth. The growing competition and being a part of an unknown race can be healthy for some, but for others, it can act as a deterrent from performing at all. This can lead to fear of failure and fear of trying.
7. Abusive Childhood
Using abusive methods to discipline children, like hitting, screaming, and yelling, causes children to adopt the same coping method. The negative influence of adults can also lead to PTSD or other disturbing psychological disorders in children.
8. Witness To A Bad Marriage
Negligence or absence of parents makes the boy find the father and mother figure in strangers, which is not safe or healthy. It can cause trust issues further in life that root from feeling unloved or fear of abandonment.
Being witness to ugly fights and arguments models the behavior of the boy in distressing situations. You, as a parent, can stop daily fights and change the negative atmosphere in the family. Learn how to survive in an unhappy marriage!
9. Feeling Trapped
14-year-old boys might show they don’t care, but it’s the teen years when they’re most sensitive. They learn to stay quiet, trapped in their mind and bottled-up emotions without having anyone to talk to. Moreover, putting restrictions on them increases suffocation and their need to separate themselves from you.
10. Questioning Self-Esteem
Changes can make teens insecure and question if they’re good enough or even prepared to cope with the world. Unsupportive parents can add to the problem. By comparing your son with others, being biased, questioning their interests, choices, and friends, you question your son’s ability to choose for themselves. This lowers their self-esteem and confidence.
What Is Normal Behavior For A 14-Year-Old Boy?
The line between normal and unusual often seems blurred when it comes to teen boys. Apart from their bizarre choices in music, hairstyles, piercings, and low waist jeans, there is much more that is normal in the case of a teen boy.
Normal Teenage Behaviors:
- They become rebellious and start challenging your opinions.
- Development of strong likes and dislikes as a way to make bold statements about themselves.
- They start questioning social causes, family problems, and the philosophy of society.
- Social media plays a major role in determining their choices and mood.
- Boys may be embarrassed to depend on elders and avoid help.
- Having sexual preferences, wet dreams, and ejaculations due to puberty and hormonal changes.
It is essential to realize that some teenage demeanors that seem absurd to parents are typical of a 14-year-old boy’s life. Thus, there is no cause for concern, just the need for understanding.
How To Help Solve Your Teen Boy’s Problems? Do’s And Don’ts
Focus less on pressuring your teen to be at the top above others and more on having a fun and wholesome relationship with him. Simply having good terms with your son is the best way to parent a teen boy.
Here are some do’s and don’ts while effectively parenting teen boys:
Parenting Teen Boys—Five Do’s
Listen to their problems and concerns, and give them equal importance. Be friendly and joke around, establish a bond where they can rely on you, and come to you for comfort. The next time your teen is sassy, snarky, or directs unwarranted anger or frustration at you, try saying, “Listen, I know this isn’t about me. Tell me what’s going on. Tell me how I can help.”
Related Post: How to deal with a disrespectful teen?
These simple words can diffuse your tempered kids’ behavior, making them feel less alone. At the same time, ensure being vulnerable in front of them and let them in on your struggles. Showing your teen that you go through problems too and how sharing them lessens the weight may make him comfortable doing the same.
Accept them as they are, with their flaws and shortcomings. Accept their emotions, and validate their problems. Hug your boy, kiss him, pat him; sometimes, our actions can be more accepting than words. Be that warm fuzzy blanket that he might not need all day but wants to come to at the end of the day. Respectfully explain your decisions, be open to their suggestions, and make them feel important and their opinions accepted.
Understand the difference between praising them and boasting about them. Give genuine compliments, uplift, and encourage them. Change up your words and turn their weakness into their strengths. Instead of calling them stubborn, ask them to channelize it into something productive by saying that they are persuasive.
Body shaming issues majorly start from home. Make them feel confident in their skin. Celebrate their small and big achievements with small gifts, family dinners, or a simple note.
Practice positive affirmations with your teen boy, for example:
- “You can do it! I have faith in you.”
- “You can get through this.”
- “You’re amazing!”
- “You make my life better.”
- “You make me proud.”
- “You are enough.”
Some kind words can go a long way in giving him strength and positivity in the long run.
Believe in your son, have faith in his decisions rather than undermining him. Be reasonable when you disagree with their opinions and justify your decisions.
Let it reflect and be shown in your actions, words, body language, and expressions. Once your boy knows that you love and trust him absolutely, you’ll reassure him that you’re on his side. He will also put effort not to break your trust or think twice before doing so. He will be aware and create boundaries to maintain it.
Experiment and make him try new things that he wants, even if some might be wrong; build trust for him to do it under your guidance than in a hostile environment with strangers.
- Sex Education
Most importantly, be friendly and educate them about the physical and emotional changes in their body. Tell them, “it’s natural to have sexual urges,” get personal and share your own stories. Deconstruct toxic male norms created by society and properly teach them how to treat and respect a girl they’re attracted to.
Explain the difference between a good touch and a bad touch. Make them aware of sexual abuse and how to deal with it.
Parenting Teen Boys — Five Don’ts
- Do Not Judge
By judging, we shut all doors to communication. It takes courage to come forward and speak about your emotions and feelings. Judging your teens will push them away from you, making them feel you’ll never understand even if you wanted to.
Do not assume and forecast preconceived notions about teenagers.
- Do Not Compare
Never compare your son with any other kids. The comparison makes them feel they’re not enough and that everyone is pacing forward while they are stuck in one place. Everyone is unique and takes their own time to shine. You’re only going to harm his self-esteem by comparing his beginnings to someone’s success.
- Do Not Impose Command
Instilling fear is not the same as respect or love. Do not try to force your culture, values, opinions on your teens, as your teen won’t welcome it unless they feel the same way as you do. It’ll start a rebellion instead.
- Do Not Use Harsh Methods
Strictly avoid hitting, cursing at them, grounding more often, or lecturing them. This will only create more distance, hatred, and trust issues, making them feel unaccepted.
- Do Not Set Unrealistic Expectations
Setting unrealistic expectations will exhaust them, leading to performance pressure. Do not give them a hard time for losing. You can’t always be a winner, and only failures teach you the right things in life.
During the most stormy time of their life, teen boys need a sounding board, a warm place to land when life gets hard, a wingman, a gentle voice of reason, plenty of compassionate guidance, and lots of unconditional love, day in and day out. Remember, neither you nor he is alone in this.
Being a parent is hard and full of worries. You equally need and expect the same things from your child. Sometimes, it can all get overwhelming and stressful, and that’s okay. Do not feel guilty for taking a breather. When possible, remember to rest and recharge. After all, you can only teach self-love to your boy by practicing it yourself.
If needed, connect with your spouse or other parents or a therapist for both your child and yourself.