Boys change and act differently during puberty.
A few conversations with some doctors and counselors gave me some insight on what changes pubescent boys go through and how we as parents can help.
As a mother of an adolescent boy, it is important for us to adjust to their new communication style. There will no longer be stories and sharing, now it will be more of what you need to know so his needs are taken care of, like, ‘I need to leave early tomorrow’, which means ‘I need my stuff to be ready’. Any attempt at conversation will not get you more than a mono syllabic answer. However, there will be days when they will open up by themselves. When they do, listen more to understand what’s really going on in their heads.
Adolescent boys truly believe that that they are grown up. While they still need you to pay the bills, they do not need your opinion. They largely prefer and value and trust the opinions of their friends rather than family. The conflict between parents, worrying and nagging them about not participating in the family, and the teenager, can lead to unpleasant situations. They may be seen as rebellious and wild personalities that are continually at odds with their parents.
As parents, it is important to lay down the limits, but at the same time understanding that the independence they seek is normal. Let them know that you will respect their independence but they will have to earn it by being responsible with it.
As a boy starts his adolescent years, he goes through a large number of emotional and psychological developments, which affects him emotionally. This manifests itself in rapid changes in moods, often known as ‘Mood Swings’. Although teenage boys have their emotional ups and downs, they also have a sensible and sensitive side. While mood swings are normal, but drastic and very sudden changes are not. Not to press the panic button, but if your boy shows signs of extreme mood swings, seek medical help or counselling.
Peer pressure is a very real problem with boys. As boys spend a lot of time with their peer group, and hence the pressure to ‘keep up with the competition’ is very immense. In this age, boys are judged by their peer group by their athletic abilities, and very disturbingly by their disregard for rules.
Most boys are bound to break a few rules and get into some amount of trouble in their teenage years. While this is true, teenage boys will create their own moral code. There may be situation where you seriously need to flex some authority and show who is ‘boss’. Make sure they know the things that are non-negotiable to you, but for the rest, try to trust their moral code.
As boys become adolescents, curiosity sets in about their changing bodies. Often boys go through a period where they have trouble controlling their voice, and it goes up and down in pitch as they talk. This can be embarrassing, but it usually doesn’t last very long.
Change in their private parts etc can all make them very uncomfortable. Boys tend to get curious around this age about girls, as all their female friends begin to bloom into women. This natural curiosity needs to be addressed in a safe way by his father, or an adult male sibling, cousin or uncle.
This is the time where you are no longer parenting a child; rather you are training him to be an adult. Garner the support of your spouse, it will be easier as he will be able to relate to his situations and help in balancing the hard situations.