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Raising Independent Teenage Sons

     Providing our teenage sons with ownership and responsibility is the first step in providing them with the tools to become independent men.  Boys, on the cusp on manhood, need to feel in control of the direction their lives are heading.  They need to be in charge of their own brand and self-worth. 

Some ideas for encouraging these characteristics are: 

1.  Have them be responsible for their room or space as well as their belongings. This can include their clothes, games, and other items that they use in their everyday lives. 

2.  Have them choosing a day of the week to wash, dry, and iron their own clothes.  

3.  Have them come up with their own system to create and maintain an organized room or space.  

Provide them with supplies and materials that will accommodate this project. 

4.  Be sure to consistently encourage and support their decisions since the goal is to have them begin to develop a sense of pride  and maturity.

     Subsequently, provide them with academic support and counseling if needed for their continued success in school.  Contact your child’s guidance counselor or do your own Google search for tutoring services. My son, who is now 30 years old, recently thanked me for doing this for him when he was in school.  He told me that reading tutoring he received made  him become a lifelong reader and learner.  I still pat myself on the back for providing him with this resource.  Another of my sons needed counseling services when he became anxious about finishing high school.  The counselor helped decrease his anxiety and he graduated on time with a plan for his future.  Just remember, preparing them for the future with these tools is a recipe for success that pays off in the future.   

     In addition to academic support, keep them busy with after school activities they find interesting.  If they want to stop participating in an activity,  try to accommodate them when possible.  We must encourage and support their gifts, talents, and aspirations.

    Also be sure to sprinkle in some fun.  Such as, taking educational trips to museums, parks and libraries. These experiences will provide them with memories of times together later on in life as well as enhance their knowledge of the world. My family still talks about our visit one year to the New York Public Library.  We loved having a guided tour of a place that felt more like a museum. We bonded over books, history and togetherness.  

     Lastly, don’t shy away from tough love. Give them constructive criticism and consequences for any actions that compromise their health and well-being.  They need to know that some behaviors (like smoking, drinking and stealing for example) will jeopardize their plans for independence.  The goal is to raise teenage sons who are well adjusted and ready for the future. 

     This is material is for information purposes only.  If you need a professional please seek the help a licensed professional counselor or therapist.  Call today if you need help finding one in your area. (919) 283-6083