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Posted by on Sep 20, 2016 in From Boy to Man, Parenting Tips, The Quest Project, Tips for Moms | 2 comments

Parenting Tips: 5 Quick Tips for Boys 11 to 13 Years Old

Parenting Tips


I get questions all the time from moms and/or dads looking for parenting tips about what’s happening with their son. After working with over 2,000 boys during the past 20 years, I’ve just about seen it all! I thought it would be good to share some insight into some of the most common situations I’m working with,  to answer some of the questions I hear the most and provide some quick parenting tips.

The Quest Project® groups are age appropriate, 11 to 13, 14 to 16, and 17 to 19 year-olds.  

5 Parenting Tips for Boys 11 to 13

His “journey” to manhood starts now!  At this age, he is full of awe and wonder. He is beginning to feel changes taking place, and yes it’s scary for him.  He doesn’t want to talk about it, he’d rather you leave him alone and mind your own business! 

  • My advice:  Be patient, set good boundaries and limits and respect the process. Give him space his behavior is going to change and he isn’t going to be the sweet little boy you’ve grown accustomed to.   
  • And most important, LISTEN for “the gift ” (his passion). 

He is innately watching dad – all the time!  That’s right dad, he’s watching your every move whether you realize it or not. He’s deciding if he’ll fashion himself to be like you or not.  He will be paying attention to how you handle a disagreement with someone.  How you change the oil in the car or fix the leaky faucet.

  • My advice:  LET HIM!  Please give him time; a minimum of 3-5 hours a week to just be with you.  It’s as simple as that.

Pulling away from mom!  This isn’t the end of the world mom; he just needs to be with males at this age. He doesn’t want to be babied-unless he wants to! Your role now is to step back and let him be with dad.  A good guide is 60% with dad-40% with mom.

  • My advice:  I struggle this one the most with moms.  Most of the moms I’m meeting with are very involved and in many cases are trying hard to be both mom and dad. My advice is consistent on this – a boy at this age needs a healthy male role model/example in his life.  Whether it’s dad, grandpa, uncle, coach, stepdad-he needs a man in his life.

He’s acting out – way too much!  He’s going to test his boundaries at this age; he’s saying things he doesn’t mean like “I hate you” or “I wish you would leave me alone” and so forth.  He is testing you on every level! 

  • My advice: Set very good boundaries and limits; validate his feelings. Work on extinguishing bad behavior and encouraging good behavior. As an example:  if you get your homework done, you can play video games for an hour.  If you want to go to your friend’s house, you have to clean your room up first.  It’s give and take, but more importantly, it’s sticking to the rules.

He is curious about sex (this is closer to 12 – yes I said 12)!  I know this is uncomfortable, but pull yourself together, he is beginning to think about sex and that is natural.  Sadly, most of the boys I see are getting their information from their peers.  That is not a good source! 

  • My advice:  Ask that healthy male example in his life to have “the talk” with him-it’s a “guy thing.”  Mom, coming from you, it’s just too embarrassing so please have dad take the lead on this one.

I hope this helps.  Next week you’ll get parenting tips for boys 14 to 16 years old. 

Most of the time when dealing with situations with your son, it takes stepping back and remembering how you felt and acted at the same age.  Have you ever done that and thought “it’s a miracle I made it?”

Learn more about how to prepare your boy for success!

Clayton Lessor
Clayton Lessor, PhD in education and counseling, is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice. He is author of "Generation of Men: How to raise your son to be a healthy man among men" and “Saving Our Sons: A Parent's Guide to Preparing Boys for Success." Dr. Clay has seen over 2000 boys since 2000 and facilitated over 300 The Quest Project groups. Boys attend a 10-week "boys to men program" where they and their parents will learn the tools needed to get through these turbulent teen years. Dr. Clay is a member of the Steering Committee for The Coalition to Create a White House Council for Boys and Men.
Clayton Lessor
Clayton Lessor

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  1. My husband is so obsessed with our son to the point of cutting up his food to buying him
    Every thing he asks for. He has even had the soccer coach ask him to back off his out bursts at games Our son has even asked me to tell Dad to stop smothering him He will
    Even make up our son’s bed.
    I feel like I am only around for cooking etc. If I am correcting our son he will come over and say. That he will handle it

    He is the original Mr Mom


    Marilee Manning

    • Unfortunately for your son by not teaching him independence he is doing him a disservice. It sets him up to “rely on someone else” which is unhealthy. Counseling?
      Best to you,
      Dr. Clay

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