What no one tells you about raising teen boys: Secrets Unlocked

A peek inside this post: If you have boys, you’ve probably heard a lot of advice and warnings, particularly about their teen years. But there’s more to boys than eating a lot and being rough. Here are 12 things no one tells you about raising teen boys…

When my four boys were young and we’d go out into the world (ie. the grocery store, the library, the zoo), I’d always hear the same things from well meaning strangers:

“Boy, you sure have your hands full!”

“Your grocery bill must be high!”

“Didn’t you want a girl?”

“Just you wait ‘til they’re older!”

Pin for pinterest: What no one tells you about raising teen boys. 12 secrets unlocked.

I can remember fretting about them getting older and used to joke that I was terrified to have four teenage boys in the house. (Mostly in relation to that ever-growing grocery bill, the revolving door of pubescence, and the heart-squeezing knowledge that when you raise a boy right, Mama won’t always be his #1 girl.)

Well, now that they are older– 17, 15, 14, and 12 – there are some things that I wasn’t prepared for. With all their well-meaning (albeit unsolicited) advice, no one ever told me these things…

12 Things No One Tells You About Raising Teen Boys (from a mom with four!)

01| They’re a lot of fun.

Teen boys are down for a good time. And they can bring out a more fun/adventurous side of you, too!

What no one tells you about raising teen boys" They're a lot of fun. (Mom and Dad trying horseback riding with their four sons for the first time.)

They’ll encourage you to be brave and try things you haven’t in awhile, or ever.

02| Yes, they eat a lot. But they’re so grateful when you feed them!

Ever heard, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,”?

It’s true.

Boys will eat and eat and eat, but nobody told me they’d be so thankful for all the vittles!

A few weeks ago, my boys had a friend over to hang out and play video games. I threw an Aldi pizza in for lunch, along with a mixed salad kit and some berries. Ridiculously simple, but when they came into the kitchen their friend gasped and said, “This is the most well-thought out lunch I’ve had in a long time.”

He didn’t know that it was, in fact, not well thought out at all, but he was so appreciative that I had no other choice but to make box brownies for him.

03| They will teach you things.

I am constantly learning things from my fellas.

Some things I should have learned in school. (My oldest had to give me a brief lesson on The Knights Templar and Free Masons the other day. His flabbers were utterly gasted that I either didn’t know or didn’t remember this historical nugget, but history was never my strong suit. Or geography– don’t get me started.)

Some things I didn’t even know I didn’t know.

What no one tells you about raising teen boys: They'll teach you things. (Photo of mom and teen son in a half-hug)

Awhile back, my oldest asked me to ride with him to vacuum out my husband’s car (he had been driving it while my husband was away on a mission trip.)

I of course said yes, and sat in the passenger seat in awe as my boy grabbed the floor mats and inserted them into a machine that cleans them. Until that moment, I didn’t even know such a machine existed. An older gentlemen even came up to him and said, “Son, you just taught me something I didn’t know!”

It’s an amazing thing to look at your son, who you’ve spent your whole motherhood teaching, and realize that now it’s his turn to share some know-how with you.

04| They help make you a better wife.

I knew from the beginning that my boys would learn how to become men from watching my husband.

But, it also eventually hit me that they’re watching the way a wife should (and honestly, sometimes shouldn’t) treat her husband by watching me.

There have been many times where I’ve felt convicted and had to start over in the way I was about to approach or respond to my husband just by asking myself, “Do I hope my future daughters in law will talk to my sons this way?”

I have tried to become more kind and loving for my husband’s sake, but also for my sons’ sake.

05| They’re easier to relate to than you think.

At first, it may seem like you don’t have a lot of common ground with your teen sons. They’re wired differently and are working with completely different parts. But they’re not totally mysterious creatures.

At the heart of it, all people want to feel known, welcomed, loved, and purposeful. To love and be loved, right?

We all have experiences where we can relate to our teen boys.

What no one tells you about raising teen boys: They're easier to relate to than you think. (Mom and two sons smiling together)

Whether it’s questioning our faith, not making a team, feeling left out, an embarrassing faux pas, having a crush, cramming for a test, feeling overwhelmed, adjusting to our changing bodies… we’ve all been there in similar situations and can help guide them through it.

06| They’ll dismantle what you thought about boys growing up.

This one makes me laugh out loud.

Basically, I think I gave guys wayyyyyy too much credit when I was growing up. Now that I’m raising ‘em, it’s making me adjust my entire rearview mirror as I recall boys from my past.

07| You’ll want to hang out with them.

I bet that’s not something you hear often! Most people I know LOVE to talk about what horrible buttheads teenagers are. And to be fair, that can be true sometimes (for all of us)!

But I really love spending time with my teen boys, and I’m not just talking about the big stuff like holidays, family vacations, and intentional memory-making. I mean the day to day, just hanging around at home kind of stuff.

What no one tells you about raising teen sons: You'll want to hang out with them. (Mom and three sons hanging out on the couch.)

Now that they’ve gotten older, I can introduce them to shows that we’ve waited to be age-appropriate. A couple weeks ago, I was at a friend’s gathering and rather than stay late, I found myself ducking out by 9:15 so I could catch my boys before bed and watch a couple episodes together.

They love when I play video games with them, mostly because I’m terrible and provide humorous commentary at my own expense. Sometimes I pull out a “W” and they are SO elated for me!

We play cards and games, show each other funny videos, and laugh A LOT.

>>> Get more ideas for Mother and Teenage Son Activities

08| It’s incredible to watch them evolve into young men.

Man. Getting a front-row seat to their growth is something special.

What no one tells you about raising teen boys: It's incredible to watch them evolve into young men. (Dad helping teen son shave for the first time.)

From their changing physicality, to their intellectual insights, and especially seeing them come into their own as they find things that really light them up… it’s incredible to see them growing into the men they’ll one day become.

09| They are the same boys they were 10 years ago.

What no one tells you about raising teen boys: They are the same boys they were 10 years ago. (Side by side pic-- first is of Mom on the couch with her four young sons. The second is of the same mom and sons 10-12 years later.)

An old video popped up in my Facebook memories of a time we were cutting down our Christmas tree during a snowfall. As I watched, I giggled as I realized how much they were still the same little boys from the video:

#1 threw a snowball at #2 and was surprised and delighted when #2 returned the favor with a massive snowball and exciting chase.

#4 misplaced one of his mittens, but selfless #3 let him borrow one of his. #3 eventually wanted his mitten back, but #4 was stalling with questions about snowmen and carrots.

The way they each responded to each other in the video is exactly how they interact today.

I found it amusing and extremely comforting to know that the world has not changed who they are at their core, and that the way God designed them has carried with them all these years– being refined and molded along the way, of course.

10| They appreciate your input, but don’t want long-winded answers.

In my experience, teen boys recognize that we as their mamas have valuable insight to share. They may ask for advice or need help with a variety of challenges, from homework to fundraising to stubborn laundry stains.

One thing I’ve realized though, is to say less.

Don’t give ‘em an essay when what they’re looking for is a text.

What no one tells you about raising teen boys: They appreciate your input, but don't want long-winded answers. (Mom and teen son at an awards banquet.)

11| They’re sensitive and sweet, often in unexpected ways.

Teen boys will surprise you with the things that break their hearts, or the things that move them.

It might be something going on in the world. It might be a joke they regret saying at a friend’s expense.

It might be the old man struggling to get out of his car at the McDonalds. It might be the baby that took a liking to them at your friend’s barbecue.

It might be (spoiler alert) the death of Spiderman in whichever Avengers movie.

It might be the family getting baptized together at church, or the sincere worship of their peers in youth group.

Teen boys are often “typecast” as aloof, insensitive brutes, but I think this is a huge mischaracterization of their breed. 

12| They’re bulls in china shops, but they appreciate beautiful things.

Listen, boys break things. They’re messy, heavy-footed, and rough. We know this.

But what I didn’t know, is how much they would notice and appreciate beauty.

When I switch out my seasonal decor or put fresh flowers on the dining table, they notice. They perk up. They comment on it.

They say things like, “These are my favorite pillow covers!”, “Wow, that looks good there!”, and “The fridge looks better, thanks for cleaning it.”

They admit that they were wrong, and in fact, the new light bulbs and curtains DO make a big difference in the room.

Teen boys are not just gross buffoons who grunt and fart. They’ll linger at the window a minute longer when they notice a bunny in the yard, or they might ask you to show them how you wrapped that present so nicely.

They look at the sky dreamily on the way to school when the sunrise makes everything look orange and pink and purple. They love to see a lit Christmas tree, a good campfire, and yes, pretty girls.

Read Next:

An Open Letter to My Teenage Son

Printable Teenager Devotional for a Fresh Start

What no one tells you about raising teen boys

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4 thoughts on “What no one tells you about raising teen boys: Secrets Unlocked”

  1. Thank you so much for this! As a mom to 3 teen boys myself I laughed, teared up, and found myself saying “exactly!” the entire time! Love it!

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  2. Love this! My oldest son is 12 so I’m almost to the teen boy phase. Thanks for the encouragement to see my boys as more than what most people assume they are…special, valuable children of God <3

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