It’s not easy raising boys 11-13 and 14-16 years old. However young men in the 17-19 age group are unique and I’ll tell you why. They are (or should be) young adults at this point. That doesn’t mean you stop parenting but more importantly, he needs your help “preparing for” critical next steps. The most critical is his “exit plan.”
It Feels Like a Tug-of-War
1.) Why do I have to be home by midnight-“I’m an adult, you can’t tell me what to do.” I’m pretty sure you’re hearing that at least every weekend!
- My advice: Set a curfew-it’s a perfect example of boundaries and limits. Not to mention, you need to be able to relax and fall asleep knowing he’s home and safe. In order to learn in life not everything is “free will” it’s vital he learn strong boundaries and limits.
2.) I don’t know what I want to do, “I’ll figure it out-don’t worry about it.” So when will that happen you ask, after he’s done playing video games!
- My advice: This is when he must have a mentor (parent, guardian or relative). He needs to be setting goals, planning, moving forward and growing. I see young men in various situations at this age. Some must work if they want to go to college, have gas money or buy a car. Some don’t. I promote young men having a job of some kind, but that’s something you can decide on together. Volunteering or joining a club is also highly recommended. It teaches giving, helping, empathy and community.
3.) What’s the big deal, everybody is doing it-“I only tried/did it once.” Sure, and I was born yesterday!
- My advice: Sex, drugs, and alcohol are in some cases a part of his life at this age. If you’ve been open and honest with him about the risks, continue to do so; if you haven’t, do that now. Based on my experience, he has had exposure to one or more of these. He still needs a parent’s guidance and experience to help him with the many enticements our society provides.
4.) I’m fine just living here at home for a while, “I’m tired of school and I don’t like my job.” Glad you like it here, but all good things come to an end!
- My advice: His Exit Plan! This conversation is best coming from dad to son (if dad is absent, mom can fill in); in my experience, it resonates better from dad but most important is that it gets done! Dad-acknowledge his achievement and his transition to manhood. Lay the groundwork and foundation for him to “make his own way.” Share examples of how you did it, how you “struck out on your own.” Staying at home with you without responsibilities is not what he needs. Again, as you’ve heard me say before, teaching responsibility and independence is what helps us succeed in life. Instill that now so that he has the best possible chance of success as an adult. This is a topic that deserves its own blog- “The Exit Plan.”
You’re Almost There
Don’t give up or let your guard down now, you’re almost there! You can find additional information in my books available HERE on Amazon.
Have a quick question? Send me an email HERE!
Seek counseling if: he seems depressed, signs of drug or alcohol abuse or any addiction.