When He’s a Teen Boy This Is What You’ll Need to Know

When he’s a teenager, you will find dirty socks in every room of the house and wonder how a party-sized bag of Doritos can disappear in twenty minutes.

When he’s a teenager, you’ll smell Axe in every corner of your home. 

When he’s a teenager, you will feel a pang when you pass Gymboree in the mall. 

When he’s a teenager, you will hear deep, guttural sighs when you ask him to wash a dish, run a vacuum, or look up from his iPhone. 

When he’s a teenager, his voice will sound like a marshmallow being dragged through gravel. 

When he’s a teenager, he will find public hugging revolting. He will be a few inches taller than you and walk a few steps ahead, not beside you. 

teen boy smiling
When he becomes a teen, he may act like he doesn’t need you. (Twenty20 @yvonneganphoto)

When he’s a teenager, he’ll realize that you’re not cool

When he’s a teenager, he will no longer think you are cool. He will be correct. 

When he’s a teenager, he will be hard to catch. Much like a toddler, he is hurrying to discover something new but doesn’t look back to check if you’re watching. 

When he’s a teenager, he will say he doesn’t need you. This will be true unless the WiFi isn’t working, he’s hungry, or he has a big problem. 

When he’s a teenager, he will prefer his phone over you. Ditto for his friends. 

When he’s a teenager, you will look for traces of babyhood in his face but find a prickly upper lip, strong jawline, and angular cheekbones. 

When he’s a teenager, he doesn’t smell like Dreft and baby powder. 

When he’s a teenager, he has shaggy hair, long colt-like legs, and a lot of armpit hair. His uniform is baggy hoodies and well-worn Vans. 

When he’s a teenager, he’ll ditch the winter coat

When he’s a teenager, he will not wear a coat in the winter. 

When he’s a teenager, your ears may bleed as he blasts Trippie Redd. Bite your tongue. Remember how you felt when your parents called Nirvana “those freaks.” Ditto for Pearl Jam. 

When he’s a teenager, you may fumble when he asks if you ever drank underage. Be honest, but not too honest. He needs to know you are human. He doesn’t need to know the details of your senior prom after-party. 

When he’s a teenager, you will find his vape pen stuffed in the left shoe of his high-top Nikes. He’s so confident you are clueless; he won’t even bother pushing it down into the toe. But mothers are better investigators than detectives. 

When he’s a teenager, make indirect communication your best friend. Remember this equation: males=motion. Talk in the car, and talk while you walk. Dare to look into his eyes, and you will be greeted with silence and exasperated facial expressions. 

When he’s a teenager, teach him to check for bald tires, flip an omelet, and write a good thank you note. Remind him to clean out the lint trap in the dryer. His future wife will thank you. 

When he is a teenager, don’t mistake his surliness for a lack of caring

When he’s a teenager, you may mistake his independence for indifference. He does care; it’s buried beneath all that testosterone, acne, and mood swings. Be patient. He needs a safe place to be a teenager. You are that safe place. 

When he’s a teenager, he will make you cry. He will push your hand away so abruptly it will break your heart. You will feel lost, trying to bond with this man-child whose preferred method of communication is texting “K” and “whatever.” 

When he’s a teenager, you will look at him with the same wonder you did when he was a sparrow small newborn. You will marvel at his growth, both physically and spiritually. You could never picture him as a teenager until, of course, he was one. It sneaks up on you. Weren’t you standing barefoot on the cool floor at 2 a.m., moons of milk staining your nightgown? It feels like yesterday you were peering over a gingham bassinet, thanking God, the universe, and your genes for this precious baby. 

When he’s a teenager, you will see that every word in Love You Forever is accurate. 

When he’s a teenager, his teenage firsts will blow away his baby firsts. It was amazing when he cut his first tooth, but seeing your child with shaving cream above his lip will leave you in awe, wondering when that cooing infant became a young man. 

When he is a teenager, you will be both happy and sad

When he’s a teenager, you will mourn and celebrate equally. 

You will feel blessed because you have the privilege of watching this child slowly becoming a man, but also terribly miss that adorable little boy who once carried a Princess Fiona doll in his chubby hands. 

When he’s a teenager, you will become painfully aware of the ‘un-needing’ stage your son must go through to ultimately become the self-sufficient, independent man he needs to be.

He is not yours to keep. He never was.

This will break your heart but in the most beautiful way. You make him feel okay to let go of your hand. 

When he’s a teenager, he will love you profoundly and unconditionally. 

But you will not know this until he is a man. 

More Great Reading:

7 Ways Teen Boys Show They’re Grateful to Their Parents

About Claudia Caramiello

Hailing from New Jersey, Claudia Caramiello is a certified pharmacy technician by day, freelance writer by night, and mother of teen boys both day and night. She survives single motherhood on coconut Redbull, humor, and listening to Twenty One Pilots. Her articles have been featured on Scarymommy, Her View From Home, Bluntmoms, Sammiches and psych meds, Elephant Journal, and Moms & Stories. Find her on Facebook at Espresso and Adderall or on Instagram.

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