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4 Moms Discuss Teen Boys and Girls Growing Up Too Soon


The 4 Moms of 35+ Kids are answering questions again.

Are any of you struggling or have struggled with the changes in personality of teenage boys? Specifically having a compassionate, obedient child taking on a confident, self-focused personality/behavior?

One of my most challenging parenting tasks has been to allow my little boy to turn into a man. This is a delicate transition because the child who may have once been a clingy, unsure little fella suddenly wants to become a confident, capable, decision maker.

Of course, as a parent, you want the boy to become these things, but the tricky part is, when left unattended, the boy, instead of confident, becomes cocky, and instead of capable, becomes arrogant.

And then there's the whole issue of a the boy wanting to be a man, which in his mind equals "leader". No man wants to be under the authority of his mommy.

It's not easy for a teen boy to become a man, mostly because he wants to already be a man.

A mother's job is to show the boy how he can discipline himself and practice making important decisions and leading others while still being under authority.

I try to give my son plenty of chances to make important decisions. I ask his advice on tough problems. I remind him that his strength and courage are invaluable. I give him more freedom each passing week to make his own choices.

At the same time, I make it clear that until he is self-sufficient and of legal age, he will continue to be under my authority. (And my husband's, but that seems to come more easily for him.)

This process would be a lot easier if boys woke up one day and had overnight become a complete man. As it is, this is a constant balancing act, because each day the boy is becoming closer to being a man, and sometimes it is a two steps forward, one step back event.

Keep affirming the boy's growing competence and independence, while reminding him that submitting to the proper authority is the right thing to do.

How do you handle things like make-up, heels, etc with your littler girls?

I have found that having older sisters makes my little girls want to wear and do grown up things earlier than my first daughter did.

Unfortunately for them, I am unswayed by entreaties such as, "It's not fairrrrrrrr! She gets to do it. Why can't IIIiiiii?" I remind them that with age comes privilege. This is universally true. 16 year olds can drive. 18 year olds can vote. 21 year olds can rent cars. No matter how much a 13 year old begs the lady at the DMV, he will not be issued a driver's license.

I have set certain age limits on certain activities, such as

My age limits may be different from yours, but if your children are aware of your  limits, and you are consistent with your enforcement of them, your children will know when to expect their new privileges.

Now, be sure to see what questions the rest of my 4 Moms team are answering today.