Parenting a teenager is not easy. Teen boys suffer from problems and display behaviours that are similar to those of teenage girls, but they also often have issues particular to their gender. Youth today are under tremendous pressure and exposed to a wide variety of influences and information that can compound the stress of the changes young men are going through in adolescence.
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Adolescent boys are looking for independence, but it is often difficult for them to assert much of their independence when they live at home under the rules of the parents. This can be very frustrating for teenage boys and cause them to act out in an effort to show that they are in control. The struggle for independence includes privacy in both what they share and what they consider their space. Parents are advised to note that the primary thing a youth is struggling with is growing into a man. Would a "man" have a curfew? Would a man's mother call him when he is on a date with a girl? This is how the teenage boy sees the world. Parents can help their son by supporting responsible independence and respecting his space. When a teenager is withdrawn, he is exerting his independence and choosing not to engage with parents he sees as obstacles to freedom.
Teenage sons face pressure from all sides: from parents, to behave and succeed; from friends, to be cool and accepted; from the opposite sex, to fit in and discover their sexual identity; from teachers, to do well; from coaches, to win; and, possibly, from a boss at a part time job. This is the first time most teens must deal with the many pressures adults take for granted. As a child, your teen did not face these issues, and they can be overwhelming. Advice and support from parents is helpful as long as it does seem like a lecture.
The primary cause of most problematic teenage symptoms is one of identity. Teenager boys long to become the man they envision themselves to be. As adults, we know that wanting something and making it happen are not always easy. Teens are still figuring out what they want, not only for themselves but for others. They are still forming their identity, and the growth process can be frustrating. Changes are rapid, and the person your son was a month ago may not be who he is now. This causes frustration that can manifest itself as poor academic performance, a tendency to hang out with the wrong crowd or to rebel, and other anti-social behaviours.
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