Though you may not relish the idea of your teen leaving behind his youth and becoming a real-life adult male, the transformation is inevitable. Instead of thinking wistfully about his childhood and hanging onto him as long as you can, work to actively turn him into the kind of man you want him to be. By using the time you have remaining with him to shape who he is as an adult, you can make your lasting legacy a positive one.
Provide him a good male role model. Celia Lashlie, author of “He’ll Be OK: Helping Adolescent Boys Become Good Men,” states that the value of positive male role models can’t be overlooked. Because many men teens see on TV and in movies are violent and gruff, making sure that your teen knows a man who embodies the characteristics you want him to develop is vital -- particularly if your teen boy doesn’t have a father in his life. If a friend or family member will serve effectively as this role model, enlist this man’s help. If not, reach out to organizations such as Big Brothers, Big Sisters, for help.
Model regulation of emotions. Teen boys learn how to regulate their emotions -- and avoid aggression -- by watching adults, says Steven Stosny, Ph.D., for Psychology Today. Allow your teen to see you handling your emotions productively. If you want him to be a gentleman who isn't prone to anger, avoid allowing yourself to erupt in frustration, as, if you do, he will see this as a model to copy. Instead, present a positive and controlled front to your impressionable teen.
Give your teen your time. Child psychologist Steve Biddulph suggests that parents seeking to create responsible adults dedicate as much time and attention to their kids as their busy schedules will allow. Throwing $20 at your teen and trusting him to busy himself at the mall won’t do the trick, Biddulph warns. Instead, eke out time to spend with your teen. By dedicating this time to him, you can exert your positive influence and effectively shape who he becomes.
Guide your teen towards responsible decisions. Your teen boy is predisposed to making bad decisions because his frontal cortex -- the part of the brain that allows you to reason -- isn't fully developed, reminds the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology. While you should understand this, you shouldn't allow your knowledge of this developmental limitation to stop you from punishing bad decision making. When your son faces a difficult decision, help him by talking him through the reasoning process and guiding him to a positive choice.