Right off the bat, we need to discuss a few things. I am a fairly new teen mom. As in, I am not one who is looking back wistfully at the success or failure of my kids and their lives. I am an “in it” mom, making messes (daily) mom, figuring it out as I go mom. So, there’s that.
And also, I’m sure someone is going to say that these things equally apply to girls. Fair enough. Girls are awesome and I have a teen girl as well. But I would say, whatever your beliefs, girls and boys are different. Many, most things in this post will apply to my daughter, but I do see subtle differences. So, anyway, you are free to disagree.
Now one last thing.
As a Christian, the most important things I think a boy-man needs, is the gospel, the Bible, and prayer (lots of prayer). But I’m going to assume that those are already on your list, so I’m going to add from there.
Just so we are clear.
So here is my list of 5 things your teen boy needs from you today and every single day:
Your son needs grace and lots of it. Give him grace for all of those funny smells, his developing personality, his awkward transition from boyhood to manhood. He needs grace when he makes a mess of things, and he needs you championing for him when he is unsure, encouraging him when he is down, and generally being that soft place for him to fall.
Food is the magic portal into your son’s soul. You want him to talk and share with you? Plop down on the couch with a big ol’ bowl of popcorn and just wait and see what happens. Food is balm, calming to the heart and soul, and the grease the wheels need to have a great conversation. Don’t underestimate the power of food.
Every boy needs to feel like he is living for something bigger than him. Really, every person has this need, and a teen boy who is struggling to figure out who he is needs it even more. Give him something that transcends normal every day. Give him a vision of Forever. Of heaven.
Serving others. Give him a reason to step outside himself and serve.
Living for something bigger than the next time he can get on his device.
From soup kitchens to scrubbing toilets, give him something to do that matters.
4. Freedom (within boundaries).
With freedom comes responsibility, but also proving yourself trustworthy earns freedom around our house. As your son proves himself to be trustworthy, give him more freedoms. Freedom also looks like adventure. Give him lots of time to be a bit wild especially in the wild outdoors. There is nothing quite like fresh air and God’s creation to feel really free.
Be the one who wants to hear about the Minecraft world, the girl he’s crushing on, or how the plays his basketball team is using this year. Hang out with him, show him you like to be around him and do stuff. (It should usually involve food. See #2) Go on adventures with him, climb to the top of the hill with him if that’s what he’s into. Just be there. That’s what friends do. (Proverbs 18:24)
And the bonus round:
6. A Classy Example.
Be the woman. Teach him how to treat a lady. Show him how to respect and honor you. Be the person you want him to become or marry one day. Feeling discouraged about this one? Go back to #1 and give yourself some grace. Because ain’t no one perfect, but we can pray and by God’s grace we can grow.
So there you have it. My prayerful list of things your teen boy needs from you. What would you add?
With Love From Uganda,