Listener Q & A: Punishment, Teenage Boys, & Letting Go

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How do you make space for a teenage boy to make his own mistakes?

Photo by olia danilevich via Pexels

Especially when said teenager is frustrating, annoying, and contributing to family chaos?

Sandra said:

Teenager years are frustrating — wanting to tell him what do, yet I know he needs to make his own mistakes. Throw in toddler boy hitting/screaming at his brother….

She is definitely not the only parent wondering how to deal with a teen boys & balance the needs of siblings! That’s we tackled her question first in this edition of ON BOYS Listener Q & A.

“It can be really hard to step back and let things unfold — let your teen be the one that has to navigate,” Janet says. She recommends talking about that with your teen. Say something like, “It is really hard to watch you make mistakes. I am here for you. I trust that you can figure this out on your own. And if need help, I am here.”

Other listener questions include:

My sons turned 18 yesterday and are in their last year of high school! I understand the natural and necessary pulling away from parents (especially moms) and establishing themselves as men. Is it possible to release them vs. them tearing away? If so, what does that look like?


How & what do you prioritize? I’m a single mom with 3 sons. I can’t do homework, home cooked meals, sports practice and read with them every night, so what to prioritize, who to prioritize and what to let go?


Should  I punish the boys by taking away screen time  if they get bad grades? Taking away screens is the only punishment that works.

In this episode, Jen & Janet discuss:
  • Parenting teen & toddler boys
  • Launching teenagers & young adult men
  • “Soiling the nest”
  • Asking for help
  • How to create a dinner co-op
  • Dealing with “bad grades”
  • Nurturing connection
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

Listener Q & A: Supporting Sibling Relationships, Finding Common Ground, & More — Jan. ’23 ON BOYS episode

Puberty, Perimenopause, & Midlife Parenting — ON BOYS episode

The Art of Roughhousing (w Dr. Lawrence Cohen) — ON BOYS episode

More Wisdom from Teacher Tom — ON BOYS episode

How to Build Your Village — ON BOYS episode

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