How to raise a teenage boy


I am the proud mother of a 14 year old boy. He is 6 inches taller than me, adorable, funny, smart and for the most part, a joy. There are moments, however, when I wonder what the hell I did to deserve this. I’d like to share some of those moments, and how I choose to deal with them. Yes, alcohol is sometimes involved.

1) Laundry. First, it turns out that if you are a 14 year old boy, and you wear an item of clothing for 15 minutes, it is then dirty. Also, when said item of clothing is cleaned and placed in your room to be put away, it seems to be SOP to simply drape it elegantly over a chair or leave it folded on your dresser, less than 4 inches away from a drawer. I deal with this by simply not caring.

2) Bed time. Oh my frigging LORD. During the week, it’s a disaster. He has to get up at 6:25 AM in order to make it to school on time, and I try to get him to bed by 9:30. Inevitably he wants to tell me jokes about elephants and farting, or discuss theoretical algebra (ow) or chat about his favorite You Tube video. I’m lucky if lights out occurs by 10:00. I deal with this by simply walking out of the room as he sings something by Green Day.

3) Cleaning. Yeah, I actually care about this, because his bathroom looks like 46 frat boys used it during a kegger. How does someone get toothpaste THAT high up on a mirror? (He sings while he brushes his teeth with an electric toothbrush-this is our theory.) Every weekend, the teenager must clean his room and his bathroom. He wanted his own bathroom, and the deal was if he owns it, he cleans it. Now of course when I remind him of this, you would honestly think I had just asked him to drive a nail into his own eye. I deal with this by yelling, threatening to ground him and bribery.

4) Grades. We’re actually really lucky in this regard. The teenager makes the honor roll, sometimes by the skin of his teeth, but he makes it. We do have issues with organization; the teenager will suddenly wail in deep despair while digging through his backpack, “I left my notes for the science test somewhere! I put them in my backpack, and now they’re GONE!” This is a “bite your tongue, Erin” moment. Telling him that he has a folder for this, so why not use that rather than just shoving things into his backpack, that would be a great idea, is not helpful at this moment. I deal with this by commiserating, showing honest empathy, telling him he’ll be fine, and subtly pulling out his folder then sneaking out of the room.

5) Hygiene. Right, here we go. Teenage boys smell like feet, death and onions. My friend, Melisa, had a teenage son who would shower himself with Axe fragrance to the point where she developed an allergy to it. I’d walk into their house and immediately be able to tell you where her eldest child was just by following the odor of Manly Mint. (Not a real scent, I just have no idea what the actual ones are called.) Our child does not necessarily have an aversion to bathing, he just gets distracted. His sweet singing voice echoes out of the bathroom, and my husband will look at me, and I at him, and we will smile sadly. We know the teenager will not be out of the bathroom for quite some time, as he likes getting through the entire song. Twice. A few years ago, the then pre-teen would forget to use soap or shampoo, believing that just standing under the water for half an hour was enough. We’ve moved beyond that, thank God, and we now just get to listen to “Wings of a Butterfly” by HIM wafting out of the loo. The teenager also hates to wash his face, then expresses frustration at his few pimples. THIS I deal with by drinking. Only in the morning, though. Sherry tastes really good on Special K. The cereal, not the drug. We’re not there yet.

Are you raising a teenage boy? Are you sane enough to let Mad Mike’s in on your parenting secrets? If not, please just post the name of a good, dry sherry.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2012 MadMikesAmerica
Did you like this? Share it:
Posted by on February 4, 2012. Filed under Advice,CRITTER TALK. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Back to Main Page

4 Responses to How to raise a teenage boy

  1. Julie Driscoll

    February 4, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Well, Erin, been there/done that . . . three boys, and one girl. So hey, shall I write the one about raising a 14-year-old girl and the flounce and the attitude and the “I’m surrounded by idiots” routine lol? But yeah, you nailed it . . . and then they hit 16 and girls start coming around and you can’t get ’em OUT of the shower! Oy, you sound fortunate and you obviously have a great kid – why wouldn’t he be, with a mom like you?!?

    • Erin N.

      February 4, 2012 at 12:24 pm

      My dad believes that teenage girls should be locked in a tower from age 13-18. We are truly horrible, for the most part. We have great kids, ma’am!

  2. Bill Formby

    February 4, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Erin, My son is now 38 and at 14 I thought he would be lucky to be at street bum at this point but he is doing fine a few years from having to deal with the father’s ( or mother’s) curse; his own teenagers. My tip may not be relevant these days. Many years earlier I had been given a book entitled “Children the Challenge” by Rudolf Drykus that a big help with the kids. A major thesis is that children need tot learn that there are natural consequences to their behavior. If their room becomes a disaster area carpeted with both dirty and clean clothes that is a problem they can fix and it is their responsibility to initiate that change without you trying force it on them. If they want to have nice neat and clean clothes then pick up and put up. If their science notes are missing it is their problem. The old axiom, “your failure to plan does not create a crisis for me” fits very well. When the crisis hits your response of I don’t know, that was your responsibility soon begins to sink in. This of course has to go along with a conversation that, from this point forward you are responsible for getting your stuff done and taking care of XYZ. If they don’t, don’t fix it for them, and don’t panic with them. Keep in mind that in just four years they will go to college and you won’t be in their dorm room to follow after them. Better that they learn now when you can cover an life altering mistakes than later. When some pretty girl tells him that he needs a real shower he will get one. When the health department condemns his bathroom, or when it gets to the point HE can’t stand it, he will get the message. you just have to have the courage to not do these for him and let him learn for himself. Of course the other alternative is to wait until he is 18 and turn him over to the Marine Corps and they will teach him in twelve weeks what he should have learned.

    • Erin N.

      February 4, 2012 at 7:45 pm

      Bill, you’d like my son, I think. He says “please” and “thank you”, is extremely intelligent and as I wrote, 99% of the time, he’s a joy. He’s an only child, precocious to a fault and I pretty much gave birth to myself in male form. I remembered this afternoon a photo of my own room when I was 16. Wow. At least my son makes his bed. 😉