Attending parties plays a large part in the social development of many teenagers. From birthdays to graduations, whatever the celebration, parties are an important right of passage that bring teens closer. It can, however, be a time of concern for parents who fear for their teens’ safety. Adolescence is a period full of new pressures, experiences and lessons in life.
It is natural for boys to test boundaries and they do so across all developmental stages. When they are young, they don’t always understand the potential for negative outcomes or consequences, especially when they get swept up in the moment, driven by adrenaline and encouraged by their friends.
Discussing risks and consequences with your son is something you will need to do on a regular basis – from the early years when he may test his physical capabilities – to the teenage years when he will explore his independence. Unmanaged risk-taking can lead to dangerous behaviours including binge drinking, smoking, drug taking, aggressive driving and aggressive behaviour.
Being a teenage boy is hard work. It is a time of learning and discovery and not just the type of learning you do at school. The ever present want for popularity or at the very least, to fit in and be accepted looms over their heads. The social pressures surrounding teenage boys are huge and coming at them from every direction. The pressure to be cool around the guys, the pressures from the media to look and act in a certain way and we haven’t even mentioned the added confusion about teenage girls!
Here are four areas to consider when trying to understand how teenage boys make decisions:
‘Good fathering’ matters to boys. Boys learn their first lessons of manhood from their fathers. This is why early primary-aged boys in particular, usually want to spend a great deal of time with their dads.
It is vitally important for fathers to spend as much time with their sons as possible, to allow them to learn how to be male. Fathers play a critical role in modelling male behaviour and help boys grow into good men.
As parents, we can become anxious about how to relate to our sons, especially as they transition through adolescence. We have developed our top 7 fathering techniques that will help fathers along this important journey:
Risk-taking is natural for boys and is part of growing up. Boys should be encouraged to take risks in so far as to challenge themselves and reach their potential. However, dangerous risk-taking behaviours can have serious negative consequences and boys need to be educated about this.
Many parents are anxious about how to relate to their son as he grows through the primary years, especially as he approaches adolescence. Some fathers question their role; dad or mate? Many mothers are daunted by the challenges of relating to their son as he grows in strength of will and body, especially if they are a single parent or doing the bulk of the parenting.
So what can a parent do to develop and maintain a great relationship with their son in the primary years that will set a terrific trajectory for the adolescent years?
Boys are generally more impulsive than girls. Risk-taking is natural for boys and forms a normal part of their growing up. However, dangerous risk-taking behaviours can have serious negative consequences. Adolescence is an especially important period for boys as the brain is far from mature and undergoes extensive structural changes well past puberty.
Many boys have well-developed cognitive capacity, but are still developing their emotional maturity. As a result, this period is sometimes referred to as ‘high horsepower, poor steering’.
Some neurological aspects to consider during boys’ adolescence include: