14 Tips for Parenting Tween Boys

The Breakdown: 14 Tips for Parenting Tween Boys

Parenting tween boys is an entirely different ballgame when compared to their grade school counterpart. This article was actually inspired by a moment I had playing catch with my 12-year-old bonus tween son the other day. He’s currently in that awkward transitional phase before adolescence. And this can be quite challenging for parents, especially if you are not prepared or entirely sure how to parent them effectively. Don’t worry though, you’re going to do great! Hopefully this blog post will give you an easy-to-read guide with 14 helpful tips for parenting tween boys that will help ease the stress a bit and create stronger parent-child bonds.

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Be Very Patient with Your Tween

So, maybe you’re reading this for some first-time insight to parenting boys, as they’re heading into adolescence. Or maybe you’re experiencing and looking for much needed answers. Regardless, tweens can be moody, impulsive, and difficult to handle at times. Being patient is the antidote to these behaviors. Try not to get annoyed, even when it feels like your tween is testing your limits, because, oh yes, they will try your limits! Instead, respond in a cool, calm manner and help him figure out what’s truly bothering them. Have you ever heard the adage, “Don’t let em’ see you sweat.”? This is where it applies and will ultimately serve the both of you.

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Stay Active and In Shape

As I mentioned previously, this article was inspired by an activity I was doing with my “bonus son”, as he calls it. (I’m the bonus dad) We were playing catch in the muggy, muggy southern air and running for fly balls. Man, that boy has energy! Your tween boy may have endless energy like mine, so be sure that you stay in shape to keep up with him. Also, being fit and healthy sends a good message to your tween on the importance of taking good care of yourself. The younger you stay, the more memories you’ll be able to make with your special guy.

Don’t Take Things Personal

It seems like we live in a pretty thinned skinned society nowadays. Unfortunately, that’s no way to be if you plan on parenting a tween, because they can be pretty brutal. But more than likely, he’s not trying to hurt your feelings when he says or does something inappropriate. He’s simply trying to find his identity, which can be challenging. Your tween boy is just looking for his place in life. As I mentioned previously, don’t take it personally; rather, focus on teaching them positive values, behaviors, and actions through your role modeling. How you respond can have a profound effect on his behaviors later in life, believe it or not.

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Be a Good Listener to Your Tween Boy

The whole world is changing before your tween’s eyes, and at a rapid rate, which can be quite stressful. So, try to put yourself in your boy’s shoes. Maybe you can put yourself in his shoes. When you were a kid, did you enjoy being talked at and down to constantly? As a grown man of 45, I’ve finally realized EVERYONE-including myself-simply wants to be heard in any circumstance. Be sure you listen actively to your tween and give him a space to express his feelings, thoughts, opinions, and ideas. Also, show them that their views matter.

Be Aware of What Media and Information He Consumes

Everyone seems to have an electronic device in their hand, and that’s not just adults. So, it goes without saying, a parent needs to be sure that you are aware of the type of media your tween is consuming. Those of us who came on the scene prior to the tech movement, weren’t bombarded like nowadays. These can have a profound impact on your tween’s development and shape their behavior and perceptions. And you should be the one shaping your tween boy’s development. Not some influencer pushing the latest fad or secular idea, that will surely come and go. Ensure that the media they’re consuming aligns with wholesome values.

Be Ready to Have “the Talk” with Your Tween

In the previous section I talked about the informational era your boy is living. Couple this with the conversations he’s having at school, and you can be certain that your tween knows a lot. Depending on his age, your boy may already display signs of puberty, which is a significant time in your child’s life. So, chances are “the talk” and everything it encompasses are already on his mind. However, like the media he consumes, be sure that you’re the one to have “the talk” if possible. This can be an awkward topic, so just be cool with the conversation and calmly come at your tween boy like an adult. Don’t be like my mom, who was always T.M.I. on every topic, including “the talk”.

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Be Cool and Calm – Don’t Overreact

Whether he’s your first or fourth boy, Tweens will experience some ups and downs, such as suddenly slumping their grades or becoming rebellious. Try to put yourself in his shoes and go back to your pre-adolescent time in life. It was a pretty difficult time, right? Instead of getting angry or shouting, first, figure out what drove the behavior. Working in behavioral health has taught me there’s always a reason behind every behavior. You’ll just need to do some subtle investigative work. Come at your tween like an adult. It could be an underlying issue or a need for attention and maybe he’s not entirely aware, but you can definitely refine your skills at parenting tween boys here.

Encourage Openness and Expressing Emotions at Home

Ensure that your home provides an open space for your boy to express his feelings and emotions without fear of judgment, punishment or shame. If you’re like me growing up, maybe you had a dad who wasn’t okay with expressed feelings or showing emotions. Crying was absolutely tolerated in our household. Like anything in life, anything to extreme is bad. Tween boys should feel safe with opening up about what’s going on their developing minds and bodies. Guiding them through controlling these ups and downs will benefit his future. Teach him that it’s okay to show emotion in balance and how to handle them in appropriate ways.

Establish Boundaries with Your Boy

At this age, tweens are pushing the limits regularly. This is becoming evident in real time with my “bonus son” so laying a foundation for expectations will help him in the future. Your boy wanting to become more independent and try things other than what’s important-like homework and chores-is most likely driving any defiance. He’s got too much going on to focus on responsibilities. Maybe it’s the latest video game or his knew hobby that keeps him from coming to dinner because he’s laser focused on the moment. Simply focus on establishing boundaries and rules so that he knows the limits. Remember, your kid may not always like you and that’s okay. My dad always said, “If you don’t discipline your kid, the world will and that won’t go so well”. Now I understand what he was talking about.

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Focus on Being a Good Role Model

Tweens are notorious for mirroring parents’ behaviors, and those they see online and in social media, both positive and negative. Who would you like your tween boy to model his behavior after? This can be a pivotal moment in his development, that could send him in a positive or negative trajectory in life. Take this time reflect on your own upbringing and the role models you were around as a tween. Try to be the model that you want to see in your tween. This includes being respectful, truthful, positive, and responsible to name a few positive attributes. Your boy will be an adult someday and this will have a ripple effect in the world and the future of as whole. Set him up for success, not failure my friends.

Give Your Tween Space

As much as you love your tween boy, they need space and time to figure out who they are. Just look at him as a mini adult. What things are important to you, as an adult? Give your evolving young man space to work out as much as possible because you know the world and all the changes are coming a million miles an hour. This can be instrumental in using his independence to work out his own problems and development. Don’t be a helicopter parent and cripple your kid. Ensure that you give him space while still being available whenever they need you.

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Allow Him to Make Mistakes

This concept is essentially downstream from being overbearing or the “helicopter parent” I previously mentioned. Sometimes we have to allow people to make mistakes in order for that person to learn and grow. And a tween boy is no different. Making mistakes is an essential developmental marker in life and you get to be there when he falls, without overly chastising. “How’d that work out for you?” is a great question in the moment. The contrast will allow him to make better choices in the future. Instead of forbidding them from trying new things, allow them to try and fail, then encourage them to keep trying.

Give Him Praise and Compliments

As previously mentioned, whether you’re a new or seasoned parent, you undoubtedly find yourself criticizing your boy often. Especially because we’re not perfect and at the top of our game all the time. Tweens are at an age when they need reassurance and validation to help build confidence when they achieve wins. Don’t forget to give praise and compliments when he does something good. Focus on the effort and not just the outcome. Otherwise, you may find you’ve raised a perfectionist who’s always trying to please everyone when he becomes an adult.

Spend Quality Time and Take an Interest in His Hobbies

I once read a spiritual talk that mentioned love is spelled “T-I-M-E”. At the time it didn’t make sense but has become a very personal concept. When parenting tween boys, don’t forget to offer your time, in whatever form that may be. Maybe you’re just sitting down to hear about his latest hobby of the week or just posting up on the couch to watch a mindless anime cartoon. Make an effort to spend quality time with your tween boy and show interest in the things he loves. When he’s a man he will remember these moments and will share these experiences with his boy and family. In the words of Maya Angelou, “people will never forget how you made them feel”.

The Wrap Up: 14 Tips for Parenting Tween Boys

So, to wrap it up, my recent experience playing catch with my stepson, aka “bonus son”, inspired this article and I’m grateful for it. Parenting tween boys is a very challenging time in life, but it’s also providing an opportunity to build a stronger bond with your son and contribute to the next generation. If you watch the news, our society is in decay. Many men are who they are because of their parents, sadly. But you can be the positive change in our youth-young boys in particular. Take these 14 tips to help navigate this challenging but beautiful phase of parenting. Remember always to be patient, open, and honest with your tween, and you’ll both come out the other side even stronger.

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About the author and some extras

If you haven’t read a little about my story, please follow this link to the home page for a brief breakdown. I’m a registered nurse, recovered alcoholic of 15 years-16 in October-and know a little about human development, as a father. Whether you’re here as a beginner parent or just to brush up on personal growth, I appreciate you being here. The information in this article, and all the content here, is meant to be informational and is not exhaustive. If you have any pressing medical or psychological matters with yourself, tween boy or anyone important to you, I encourage you to seek out the necessary professional help and do your own personal research. God bless and thank you again for stopping by the site. Have questions? Send me an email. And with school starting maybe you’re looking for a new style for your tween or teen boy? Click here.

Thank You for Your Support!

If you ‘ve landed on this site by accident or intentionally, I really appreciate you. Every sentence that goes into this site is from the heart. Moreover, it’s my desire that it can benefit someone, somewhere for the better. If you’d like more inspirational content for the family man, please read 9 Teen Boy Haircut Ideas and Cool Accessories for Teen Boys. And for your personal development, I recommend The Best Leadership Books of 2023, Why You Should Stop Playing the Victim and Push Through the Pain! If you’re inspired, please share, focus on what you can control, and fight on my friends. God Bless!