Teenage years are hard for all kids, but teenage boys may feel extra pressures. Peer pressure to act in certain ways, raging hormones and anxiety about their future may all contribute to increased negative behaviors in teen boys. Getting these behaviors under control while still encouraging independence and growth can be a balancing act, but with consistency and understanding you can make it through these angst-filled years.
State clearly what your expectations of behavior are for the teen boy. Have a printed list of appropriate behaviors and consequences for negative behaviors posted in the house. Clearly posted house rules help children by laying out behavioral guidelines for all the children in the house. For example, a house rule for a teen boy may be, “No swearing” with a consequence of “Lose use of computer for one week.”
Follow up consistently with consequences for negative behavior. Refer to your posted rules and consequences sheet to address negative behaviors when they occur in a fair and consistent way with all the children in the home.
Discuss the actions and causes. Try to get to the root cause of problems between siblings or listen for clues to potential social issues at school that may be causing the teen to act out. Provide one-on-one time to talk and work through contributing causes.
Provide opportunities for positive interactions and activities to improve the teen boy's social skills or to burn off excess energy, which may contribute to negative behaviors.
Stay tuned in. If negative behavior is escalating, check for signs of drug use, poor influences in his friendships or even contributing medical conditions.
Give praise when things go right. Catch your teen boy doing positive things as often as you can to get him “addicted” to being good.
Tips & Warnings
- Catch negative behaviors early and be consistent with discipline. When you let negative behavior go without consequences, a teen will only suffer in the end. Teens need boundaries, so make your expectations clear and consistent.
- If you notice physical changes such as lethargy, change in complexion and a change in peer group, as well as increased negative behaviors, you may be dealing with drug or alcohol usage or other negative or medical issues. Consult a physician.
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