Boys go through a number of changes during their teenage years, which can make them behave in unusual ways. Whether you're a parent or a teen yourself, you may want to better understand teenage boys. Educate yourself about the changes boys are going through and try to be understanding. You can manage conflict through open conversation, assert yourself, and set boundaries as needed.

Method 1
Method 1 of 3:

Understanding Teen Boys as a Teenage Girl

  1. Just as you're going through changes as a teenager, boys in your grade are also experiencing changes. Ask your health teacher where to find reading information. You can also ask your parents or an older male relative you trust, such as a brother or male cousin.
    • You may notice some physical changes in the boys in your class. Their voices may get deeper and they may begin to grow hair on their faces and underarms.
    • Boys also undergo sexual changes. They will start to release testosterone and begin to experience erections. Understand that they may be embarrassed by this, just like you may be initially embarrassed by your period.
  2. While puberty is a normal part of growing up, it is normal to have some insecurity about puberty. Teenage boys in your grade may be embarrassed by physical and other changes they're undergoing, so be understanding of this.[1]
    • Teenage boys may experience erections without cause, or their voices may squeak when they talk. They may get embarrassed by this.
    • Don't tease the boys in your grade about puberty, no matter how tempting it may be. After all, you wouldn't want to be teased by the changes you're going through.
  3. While you may feel your experiences couldn't be more different than the experiences of teenage boys, there is actually a lot of common ground. You can better understand teenage boys if you identify areas where you're going through similar changes.[2]
    • Like you, boys are beginning to grow hair on the underarms and pubic region.
    • Boys also experience mood swings and feelings of anger and frustration due to changing hormones. Hormones can also cause quick changes in energy levels.
    • You may notice people respond to you differently as you grow. People see you more as an adult and may treat you differently. This happens to boys during puberty as well.
  4. Boys sometimes treat you differently around their friends. Teenage boys are often embarrassed to be interested in girls for the first time. He may act standoffish towards you because he feels insecure. He may also want to make it clear to his friends they are his priority. Try to be understanding of this. If you are dating a teenage boy, allow him to have some friend time.[3]
    • Do not put up with disrespect. If he is mean to you in front of his friends, you say something like, "I understand you want to act cool around your friends, but it's not okay for you to make fun of me."
  5. Often, the best way to understand someone is simply to talk to them. While talking to boys can be scary, it is often helpful to understand them better. Learn to be brave and engage teenage boys in conversation.[4]
    • Ask specific questions, like hobbies, family, and his favorite subjects in school. For example, "Are you close to your siblings?"
    • If you're unsure how to strike up a conversation, ask about something around you or something that's recently happened. For example, "What did you think of yesterday's assembly?"
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Method 2
Method 2 of 3:

Understanding Teen Boys as a Parent

  1. Remember, teens are very insecure and self-conscious. They're also striving to carve out an identity, which may explain bouts of rebellion or acting out. On top of all that, your teen's brain is still developing, and he doesn't yet have an adult-sized capacity for things like impulse control and decision-making. Try to remember your own teenage years.[5]
    • For example, if he wants to stop an activity he once enjoyed, put yourself in his shoes. If he was forced to play hockey during middle school, he may want to try something different so that he can gain a sense of individuality.
  2. It's important to understand the changes your teen is going through as a parent. One of the best things you can do to understand teenage boys is to educate yourself about your teen.[6]
    • Read articles about teenagers, especially ones about the hormonal and mood changes they undergo. Young adult fiction books can also help you remember the emotions teens undergo.
    • Keep in mind that this research may not describe your teen exactly. It's important to get to know your teenage boy, not just the boys described in literature. Take an interest in the things your teen is passionate about to connect and get to know him better.
  3. While it's important to know what your teen is doing and who he is with, remember teenage years are part of the transition into adulthood. It's important your teen feels he has some privacy in your home, so be respectful of his need for space and occasional alone time.[7]
    • While it's reasonable to want to know where your teen is going and with whom, you should give him some privacy.
    • Your teen may feel he needs a certain amount of privacy to establish his identity. Things like text messages and phone calls should be private.
    • Consider lessening some rules as your teenager ages. If he is unreliable or violates your trust, however, you may need to keep stricter rules in place for longer.
  4. The teenage brain is not fully developed. As a parent, it's vital you understand teenage boys often have a limited understanding of consequences. This can result in engaging in risky behavior, so be sure to be vigilant. You should make sure your teen is not taking major risks, such as using drugs or alcohol.[8]
    • A teen's developing brain does not give them a free pass for reckless behavior. Consequences are how he learns to make good choices.
    • You should still have expectations and boundaries. Things like bedtimes and curfews should still be enforced, and you should know where he is at all times.[9]
  5. Teenagers undergo a lot of hormonal changes. This can lead to things like mood swings. Try to be patient if your teen seems aggravated or is easily angered. You should make sure your teen faces consequences for inappropriate or rude behavior, but try to be understanding. It will take a few years for your teen to adjust to hormonal changes.[10]
    • Have patience. Many parents feel the teenage years will never end, but your son should eventually grow out of mood swings and anger problems caused by puberty.
    • Once he has calmed down, discuss his behavior. Don't lecture. Instead, focus on what he can do differently in the future.
  6. Odds are, your son will start thinking about sex during his teenage years and may even explore pornography. Recent research says the majority of adolescent males explore pornography websites.[11] While this is a normal part of growing up, it's important you talk to your son about sex and porn.
    • Talk to your son about sex and sexuality and let him ask questions. If he's uncomfortable discussing the subject with you, find a trusted third party, like an uncle, to help.[12]
    • Don't panic if he asks about sex; it doesn't mean that he's having sex or considering doing so. He may just be curious, which is normal.
    • Leave any conversation you have about sex open-ended. Say something to your teen like, "If you have any questions, it's always okay to come to me with them."
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Method 3
Method 3 of 3:

Managing Differences and Conflicts

  1. If you need to communicate with your teenager, look for the right time. Pay attention to when your teen seems relaxed and receptive. Make a habit of talking regularly during those times to keep communication in your home open.[13]
    • It may take some trial and error to figure out when he is most talkative. He may be more quiet when you pick him up from soccer practice, but get chattier after dinner.
  2. Whether you're a parent or a teen yourself, remember teenage boys may be private about certain things. They may also be sensitive about some topics. Instead of asking questions directly, learn to ask open-ended questions. This will allow a teenage boy to share information at his own discretion.[14]
    • Instead of asking, "Are you excited about the school dance?" try "How are you feeling about the dance? Do you think you feel comfortable going?"
    • If he gives short responses, this may not be a subject he wishes to discuss. Try to find what he does enjoy talking about, like his hobbies and interests.
  3. Assert yourself when necessary. If you are a teenage girl, it's important you stand up for yourself when necessary. If a teenage boy is frequently teasing you to the point you feel uncomfortable, it is within your right to let him know his behavior is not acceptable.[15]
    • It is okay to express your emotions to boys. If a boy is making you feel uncomfortable, say so clearly.
    • Say something if a boy is bothering you, such as, "I don't like it when you comment on my body. It makes me feel uncomfortable." If teasing doesn't stop, ask an adult for help.
  4. Teenagers may suffer from things like depression, anxiety, and other emotional issues. While a certain amount of mood swings are normal, if a teenager seems very unhappy or angry, you should seek the help of a therapist.[16] Warning signs of a mental health issue include:[17]
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • A sudden drop in grades
    • Weight loss or gain
    • Lack of motivation
    • Difficulty sleeping
    • Fatigue
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Expert Q&A

  • Question
    What are some warning signs that a teenage boy is really struggling?
    Wits End Parenting
    Wits End Parenting
    Parenting Specialists
    Wits End Parenting is a parent-coaching practice based in Berkeley, California specializing in strong-willed, “spirited” children with impulsivity, emotional volatility, difficulty “listening,” defiance, and aggression. Wits End Parenting's counselors incorporate positive discipline that is tailored to each child’s temperament while also providing long-term results, freeing parents from the need to continually re-invent their discipline strategies.
    Wits End Parenting
    Parenting Specialists
    Expert Answer
    They may be extremely withdrawn. There may be a sudden change in their behavior. They may suddenly stop taking care of their hygiene. Often if there's a sudden change, something has happened and they don't want to talk about it. And of course, if they're talking about suicide or obsessed with their own death, that's the time when you want to intervene.

About This Article

Wits End Parenting
Co-authored by:
Parenting Specialists
This article was co-authored by Wits End Parenting. Wits End Parenting is a parent-coaching practice based in Berkeley, California specializing in strong-willed, “spirited” children with impulsivity, emotional volatility, difficulty “listening,” defiance, and aggression. Wits End Parenting's counselors incorporate positive discipline that is tailored to each child’s temperament while also providing long-term results, freeing parents from the need to continually re-invent their discipline strategies. This article has been viewed 588,002 times.
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Co-authors: 49
Updated: November 4, 2022
Views: 588,002
Article SummaryX

From the outside, teen boys can seem like a bit of a mystery, but if you understand their perspective, you should be able to resolve conflicts more easily. Teenage boys have to deal with a flood of hormones at a time when their brain is still developing. They have to find their place and identity in a confusing world. As a result, they might have mood swings and be more willing to engage in risky behavior like extreme sports, partying, and fighting. They’ll probably start being interested in sex and relationships too, which can be tricky to navigate. On the other hand, you shouldn’t discredit their feelings and behaviors just because they’re going through puberty. Try to be patient and compassionate and treat teen boys like rational adults even if they don’t always act that way. For more tips from our co-author, including how to stop your teen getting involved in negative behaviors, read on.

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