Advice for Teenage Boys

Gabrielle Applebury
Teenage boys with skateboards

Good advice for teenage boys often comes from fathers, teachers, mentors and role models. These are the people you look up as an example of the person you aspire to be in your own life. Whether you're seeking advice about girls, school, sports or everyday wisdom, there are answers out there.

How to Treat Girlfriends or Boyfriends

boy serenading girl

When you aren't sure how to be a good boyfriend, you may be tempted to look to the media as an example. However, men are often portrayed inaccurately, which can cause a lot of confusion. There are a few simple things to keep in mind when you begin dating that can help you keep your girlfriend (or boyfriend) happy.

Feeling Safe

Connecting with your girlfriend or boyfriend can be tricky in the beginning of a new relationship. To create a good, fun relationship, make sure you both feel comfortable around each other. This means physically and emotionally you both totally trust each other. To do so, spend time getting to know each other and asking questions about likes and dislikes. Check in with each other if you are unsure about anything, especially when it comes to anything sexual. Even though it can feel awkward to chat about hooking up before doing so, it ensures that you both are comfortable doing so and aren't feeling pressured.

Communication is Key

Finding ways to talk to each other is a huge part of being in a more mature relationship. When your girlfriend (or boyfriend) is talking to you, really listen. Sometimes we are too busy thinking about our response to actually hear what they are trying to say. Don't worry this happens to everyone at some point. To show your girlfriend that you are listening make good eye contact, and give her some cues that you hear her by nodding, and asking topic related questions. Other people tend to like these listening cues too. (Hint parents and teachers).

Separate Lust from Love

Be as upfront as you can be about what type of relationship you'd like to have. Doing so sets you up to have the relationship you're looking for, without being misleading. Sounds good, right? To figure out if the person you're dating is interested in keeping it casual or being official, ask them what they expect for the relationship and share what you want. If you are both on the same page, that's great! If not, you must decide if this is the right relationship for you. You can say something like, "I really like dating you, but want to keep things casual." or "I really like dating you and want to know if you'll be my girlfriend." Remember, being in lust creates a different relationship than being in love does. Either way, just make sure whoever you're dating knows what's going on in your head.

Cheating

If you feel tempted to cheat, remember that people tend to do so when they feel like they aren't getting what they want out of their current relationship. Before hooking up with someone else, think about whether you want to keep dating your current girlfriend (boyfriend). Repairing the damage that cheating brings is really challenging and not fun at all. To end a relationship you can say, "I've really like dating you, but I think it would be best if we ended our relationship."

Work Ethic

boy doing homework

Establishing a good work ethic now can help you once you are out of school and in the workforce. Doing so early on can help ease the intensity that a real full-time job can have so you have more time to do the stuff you'd rather be doing.

Becoming Efficient

Time management and efficiency are important skills that come in handy as you get older. Learn how to budget your time efficiently by paying attention to how long certain activities take so you can plan your tasks accordingly. You can do so by tracking the amount of time homework or projects take you by timing it on your phone, or downloading a time tracking app. If you struggle to manage time, set your phone sleep screen to a clock and make sure you always have access to a clock. This can help your internal clock become more accurate over time. Doing this can help you accomplish necessary tasks (aka the more boring ones) while leaving more room for the fun activities you'd rather be doing.

Finding Your Passion

If you feel lost or bored at school, spend some time getting into things that interest you. Doing so can help you figure out what makes you feel good. You can also try volunteering for a few programs to see if anything fits your skill set and interests you. Doing activities that you care about can make you feel more confident in yourself which is always a win.

Earning Respect

Father and son

Learning how to give and earn respect from your peers and the adults in your life can take you pretty far. Although hormones and brain development can make self-control a bit more challenging during this time, practice making thoughtful decisions. It makes getting along with people much easier and saves you a ton of energy.

Emotional Control

Being respectful means thinking about other people's feelings and treating them with kindness. Even though it's hard to do, try to take a deep breath and pause before you respond to others, instead of reacting to their statements. Imagine a friend or arch nemesis said something that bothered you. Pause, take a breath and then respond. Sometimes when we respond immediately we let our emotions get the best of us. Plus it's always best not to let rude people see you sweat.

Trustworthiness

Show others that you can be trusted by sticking to your word and following through. This means that if you aren't able to do what you said you were going to that you let people know beforehand. You can say, "I'm sorry I won't be able to pick you up later." "I completely forgot I have an appointment to go to after school." People who are flaky tend to be viewed as less trustworthy-not something you want people to associate your name with. In relationships, being dependable can bring you closer together whether you're with friends or the person you're dating.

Setting Goals

experiment in chemical laboratory

Creating concrete goals can help keep you motivated as well as prepare you for more difficult tasks in the future. To keep yourself focused, stay organized.

Following Through

To work on following through, create a list of tasks in order of importance. You can do so on your phone or a calendar. Next, break your goals up into manageable tasks. This will make it feel less daunting. Give yourself well-deserved breaks after working hard and come up with some small rewards for yourself. Think about mishaps or mistakes as learning experiences, instead of being hard on yourself.

Healthy Interactions

Mother helping son with homework

Learning how to interact with people who you may disagree with can help you get your point across without causing unnecessary arguments. When you are able to communicate in a direct and understanding way, relationships can become a lot more fun and way easier to manage.

It's Okay to Ask for Help

Sometimes it's hard to ask for help. If you are struggling you can say, "I'm wondering if you can help me out with (insert problem)." When someone you trust gives you advice, work on being a good listener. That means you fully understand what the other person is saying before you respond and you ask questions to clarify confusing subjects or language.

Handling School Interactions

At school, you may encounter teachers or administrative staff who you have a difficult time getting along with. To avoid causing more friction, try to remain calm and be thoughtful about how you choose to speak to them. Remember you can't control their behavior, only your own. If you are dealing with a difficult person at school, keep your interactions short and polite. That way you are less likely to have to deal with an angry person. Follow school policy, try to avoid engaging with them often, and speak with your family or a trusted staff member if interactions become hostile.

Family Troubles

There can be a lot of tension between you and your family members as you get older. During this time, you are slowly breaking away and becoming an independent adult. This normal process can be challenging for parents to cope with, and you may experience more arguments at home. To help diffuse issues, be patient and know this phase will pass.

During more heated moments when you feel intense emotions coming up, spend some time thinking about how you can calmly share your thoughts with your family. It's way more difficult to try to argue with someone who is calm instead of someone who is super angry. If an argument gets out of hand and you're feeling overwhelmed, let them know you need to take a break for a bit but would like to continue speaking when you are feeling less overwhelmed.

Connecting With Peers

Your peers may feel like the most important aspect of your life right now and that's completely normal. It's great practice for adulthood to begin looking at your relationships with your friends and identifying the ones that are the most important to you. Spend time with the friends that are supportive, kind and understanding. These tend to be the friends that stick around even if you all go your separate ways after graduation.

Understanding Your Emotions

boy sitting in hallway

Emotions give you key information about what's going on in your brain and body. When you learn to identify your emotions, you will have an easier time dealing with the ones that make you feel badly.

Dealing With Anger

For many teenage guys, anger can be a difficult emotion to deal with. To help work through angry feelings, try going for a run or doing something active to work the emotions out of your body. You can also listen to calming music. Be sure you are getting enough sleep at night, as you may need a bit more sleep than adults do, and a lack of sleep can cause mood swings and intense crankiness. Spend some time figuring out what triggered you to feel angry in the first place and think about solutions that you can use in case this situation comes up again. It's always a good to be prepared!

Working Through Anxiety

During adolescence, a lot of physical and mental changes are occurring. You may experience anxiety around social situations, your physical appearance and your future. To decrease symptoms of anxiety, identify what causes the anxiety spikes. Practice deep breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation to help keep you grounded. Be sure to acknowledge your successes, even the ones that feel small, instead of harping on your perceived failures. This can help boost your confidence and decrease your overall anxiety.

Where Else to Find Advice

It's important to have a trusted person to speak to when you are looking for advice. This can help you in the moments you feel angry, anxious, sad or frustrated. You can seek advice from doctors, family members, teachers, coaches and mental health professionals.

Good Advice for Teenage Boys

Your adolescents is an exciting time to learn about yourself and better understand your thought process. Take this time to set goals, work on improving your relationships and finding healthy ways to take care of yourself.

Advice for Teenage Boys