Your Teenage Son Needs These 7 Things From You

by | Mar 11, 2019 | Positive Parenting, Tweens & Teens | 1 comment

The onset of puberty can be a surprise for parents – we all know its coming, but it still the teenage years arrive far earlier than we would have liked.  We start out with a sweet innocent little boy, and by the end of the transformation, there stands a taller and more temperamental young man.

The journey is not easy – neither for the parents nor the son. But it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Though he won’t always show it, your son still needs you. RasulAllah (pbuh) informed us that this stage of parenting involves being a friend as well as a mentor and educator to our teenage children.

1. BE EMOTIONALLY AVAILABLE.

Teenage boys typically become quieter than their younger selves and they aren’t as chatty as they used to be. But when they do want to talk to you, make yourself available. Put the phone down, stop whatever you are doing and give him your full attention.

Just let him talk and wait till he’s said whatever was on his mind before you respond.

It’s interesting to note that by the time your son reaches his teen years, he already has a pretty good idea of where you stand on various issues.

What he needs from you now is not a lecture but rather guidance on what direction he should take to resolve his problem. Share your own go-to strategies when you are facing a similar problem.

 

 

2. A SAFE PLACE TO DECOMPRESS

Many studies have shown that boys have social and language developmental delays when compared to girls. This means that they have fewer tools to understand, regulate and negotiate their emotions and relationships.

Culturally, boys are often told to be tough and not to cry. Because they don’t know what to do with their pent up feelings, oftentimes anger and frustration burst out.

Equal Empowerment

In recent years, there has been a movement to empower girls and emphasize strength and confidence – which is amazing and long overdue. However, we assume that boys can look after themselves emotionally and therefore don’t pay enough attention to their mental and emotional health.

This is unfair to our sons and we do them a great disservice by not treating them with the kind of empathy that will help them become emotionally strong men and fathers.

Nurture your son

You are their safe place. When they come home from school or after a long day with others, it’s only with you that they feel safe enough to openly feel what they have been bottling up inside.

Understand that and it will become easier insh’Allah to let them have that release. You can then begin to show them the empathy and emotional support that they deserve and need.

By nurturing the sensitivity and emotional needs of your son, you are preparing him to be strong enough to face the inevitable cruelties and unfairness of this world.

 

 

3. AFFECTION

It’s not an easy feat to hug your teenage son. They’re often embarrassed, and a kiss is out of the question! Expect less physical affection from him.

If your son has always showered you with hugs and kisses, anticipate at best a slowdown, or at worse for that to come to a screeching halt.

It’s not wise to force affection from him – don’t take it to mean that he doesn’t want to feel loved by you.

Your son still needs to know that he is loved and valued by his parents. You can still keep that physical connection with a hand on the shoulder, or ruffling his hair.

By respecting and understanding that your son needs a little distance as a sign of his growing maturity and need for independence, it can make it easier for you to handle this change.

 

 

4. HELP THEM UNDERSTAND THEIR ISLAMIC OBLIGATIONS

Once puberty starts, children become fully accountable for their deeds. That is, they become baaligh, or mature. Teach him how to perform ghusl and how to keep himself clean. Talk about ways to help others in the community and support his efforts.

Ensure that he is praying correctly and on time and give him extra support during Ramadan.  Our children should be proud of their identity and that only comes when they have a good understanding of what it means to be a Muslim.

Jum’aa prayers

Carve out time and figure out a way to take your sons to Jum’aa prayers every Friday. In the United States, depending on your public school district, there is some flexibility in scheduling classes, so it is quite possible to keep a Friday afternoon free. Arrange to pick them up and take them to the nearest masjid for Jum’aa prayers.

They need you to show them that this is an important obligation. They will see that even though it is not required for women to attend Friday prayers, you are willing and prepared to jump through hoops to ensure they fulfill this obligation.

Prioritize his akhira

Such sacrifice shows him just how important his success in the Akhirah is to you, and in turn, it will become important to him.

It will be a while until he’s ready and able to go and attend prayers, gatherings, and events that are beneficial for strengthening his Deen on his own. In the meantime, you have to navigate, guide and do whatever it takes to prioritize it for him.

 

 

5. BE CONSISTENT IN YOUR MESSAGING


Consistency is everything in parenting. Be clear with your son and ensure he understands how he is to handle being around girls.

At school (and in the future, the workplace), it is inevitable that he may need to work in close proximity to them.

Explain what is permissible and what is not, and keep your message the same. It’s helpful if parents talk to their sons about sex, and dealing with girls.

It is essential that parents become the source of information for them so they don’t go looking for answers from other sources with more relaxed standards.  

Rather, it is important to convey that intimacy is not something shameful but an important part of a loving relationship between husband and wife, and it is a gift and mercy from Allah swt.

There should be no doubt in his mind what is right versus what is wrong and he will insh’Allah take care to avoid being in compromising situations.

 

 

6. GIVE HIM RESPONSIBILITY

Teaching your sons life skills is absolutely vital. They need to know how to look after themselves, their space, their equipment, so they are prepared to take care of their families some day, Insh’Allah.

Similar to how parents today assign chores, the prophet (pbuh) would trust children with an important job to build their sense of purpose and responsibility.

Giving kids responsibility makes them feel valued and respected. The more they do, the better they feel about themselves, and the more they learn.

The focus need not be on completing each chore perfectly, more than they have done it, giving your son a sense of satisfaction and growing confidence.

 

 

7. TAKE HIS IDEAS SERIOUSLY

Cringeworthy declarations such as “it’s my way or the highway” are not going to fly with your teenage son. Sorry to break it to you.

How can we expect our sons to be leaders and thinkers and problem-solvers if we don’t give them the opportunity to try out their ideas at home?

You will be surprised at how imaginative your kids can be at problem-solving. Often times their ideas are more modern and more efficient. Listen to them!

Respect

A key factor in building and strengthening your relationship with your son is showing him respect.

The tone of authority that we have used up till this point with our son needs to be put aside so we can begin to look at him as a friend whose ideas will be valued not undermined.

All the teaching and training that we have given our kids up to this point needs to be exercised. They are adults in training and this is the time to tweak and gently guide them.

KEEP IT IN PERSPECTIVE

Each Friday we recite Surat-al-Kahf and are reminded that:

الْمَالُ وَالْبَنُونَ زِينَةُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَالْبَاقِيَاتُ الصَّالِحَاتُ خَيْرٌ عِندَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ أَمَلًا

Al Kahf- 18:46

Wealth and children are [but] adornment of the worldly life. But the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for [one’s] hope.

Our children are a trust given to us by the Almighty. Our job is to teach and guide them. Only through the mercy of Allah swt can they be rightly guided. Do the best you can and say lots of dua’ for your children. Leave the rest to Allah swt.

 

Gulnaz Ahsan

Founder, Editor, Certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator

 

Gulnaz Ahsan focuses her energy on raising her four children who are all in the tweens and teens stage of childhood. She is the Founder and Editor of Halal Parenting Magazine and has made it her mission to revive the Sunnah of parenting that encourages mutual respect and brings calm into our homes. She runs Positive Discipline Workshops for Muslim parents from all over the world.