First of all, let me say I get where you are. I’m there too. 12 year old boys are hard, aren’t they? But truly a gift from God. And oh so much fun!

I want to share some things I’ve learned in the past 8 months of having a 12 year old boy. This is as much as a reminder for myself as it is to encourage you.

12 year old boys are caught between boyhood and manhood {or at least, teen-hood}. One moment they are sweet, innocent little boys. Playing toys and cuddling with their moms. But when you start to treat them like a little boy, they push back. They want to be treated like a man. They want greater privileges, responsibilities and respect.

The problem is, they are only 12. They are careless and distracted. They don’t mess up on purpose, but they are going to mess up. So give them grace. Treat them like they are growing up, but let them still be little occasionally. Expect enough out of them, but not too much. They aren’t men, yet.

12 year old boys have hollow legs. They eat and eat. Then eat some more. It feels like they never stop. And when hunger strikes, watch out! They go from happy to ‘hangry’ {hungry + angry} in the blink of an eye. The only remedy is to eat.

Remember those days when you needed to keep food in your purse to keep your toddler from a hunger meltdown? That time is back. Only a 12 year old boy meltdown can be so much worse. At least I could carry him when he was a toddler!

12 year old boys aren’t sure how to handle the new and different emotions they are feeling. Feelings of worthlessness, frustration, sadness. While not always new, they feel strange to the 12 year old boy. Many times the emotions come out as anger and defiance rather than tears and depression {although those do happen too}. When you pair it with being hungry {see above} you are entering the danger zone!
Recognizing that there might be more to the anger has proven to be key. Get to the source, provide support, and then back off. I usually need to give it some time for him to really figure out what is going on. A hug and a chat go a long way after a cool down period.

12 year old boys need their dads. They need to see what it’s like to be a man. There are both physical and emotional changes happening and mom just doesn’t get it. {Nor do I want to!} They need that support from Dad so much more now.

12 year old boys just need to know that unconditional love still exists.

From their moms and dads. And from their Heavenly Father. This time is filled with a lot of uncertainty in the mind of a 12 year old boy. They need to know that no matter what they say or do – you and He will always love him.

I know much of this is not unique to 12 year old boys. We were dealing with it at 10 and 11 and will probably continue dealing with it at 13 and 14. But this year it’s felt heavier. I just thought we could all use a little reminder.


Another Mom of a 12 Year Old Boy

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