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Being a mother is one of the most rewarding experiences in the world. Yes, there are times when it is nerve-wracking and even a bit terrifying, but when it comes down to it- the benefits truly outweigh all of the stress.

As a mother of a teen son, I firmly believe that boy moms are much different than girl moms, and that is because our experience is different. Raising a boy from a tiny little munchkin into a squeaky-voiced, stubby-chinned teenager can be daunting at times. To be honest, when I first had my son, I was terrified. I had come from a family of women, so raising a boy was an entirely new experience. Along the way, from toddler to teenager, I have learned a lot. Here are 8 truths I would like to share with you.

1. You need to keep it short and sweet.

If you want them to listen to you, don’t give too much information. If you are a momma reading this, you already likely know that when you inundate a man with information, they tend to lose focus. No offense, that’s just the truth. It’s the same with teen males too. So, keep it short and simple.

2. They are much more sensitive than they will ever admit.

Despite their rough exterior, teen boys are more sensitive than they would ever admit. When you say things to them, they take them to heart. So, be gentle with them.

3. They NEED their mama.

Boys need their mamas. There again, they may not admit to it. But, they do.

4. They won’t ask for affection, but need it.

Your son may not be begging for hugs and affection, but I assure you, he needs it. Don’t make a huge deal out of it, though. Just make sure you show them attention and give them love.

5. They listen better when they are in action.

If you want them to listen, do it when they are busy. For example, if they are helping you to put dinner together, strike up a conversation with them. Or if you are driving them somewhere, engage them then.

6. They are competitive.

Teenage males are competitive. They want to be the best of the best in all fields. Sometimes, though, that competitive side of them can cause them to compare themselves to others, which can lead to negative self-talk. When you notice this, remind them of their greatness and encourage and support them.

7. They need time to process.

Teen boys take more time to process big information. So, if you throw a lot on them at once, don’t expect them to take it all in at once. They likely need some time to process it all.

8. They need boundaries.

It may be hard to establish boundaries with your son, because you may find it hard to tell them no. But, it’s really important to be able to give them structure and authority. Through those boundaries, they will learn discipline and responsibility, and deep down they crave that.