15 Ways to Show Your Teen Son Your Love

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I’m a mom of three boys and three girls. It’s easy to show my girls that I love them. I sit and ask them questions. I listen to them talk, and talk, and talk. I buy them pink nail polish with sparkles. I “get” girls.

It was harder to figure out my boys. When I asked them questions about their day, I could feel their frustration. Once, when I was asking my young adult son about his first day of college, my husband turned to me and said, “Why are you grilling him?”

What? I was just trying to show I was interested. My daughter would have loved to share every detail!

If you’re a mom of older sons it can sometimes be hard to show your love. Here are 15 ideas to do just that!

15 Ways to Show Your Teen Son Your Love

  1. Go on a long drive and just sit side-by-side. Don’t ask any questions; just enjoy the view and wait for him to talk. (It will feel awkward, but I guarantee your son will love the side-by-side time.)
  2. Ask your son about his most recent video game . . . and then just listen.
  3. Make your son’s favorite dinner and let him know you were thinking of him.
  4. Tell your son how proud you are of a good character trait you see in him.
  5. Visit him at his work. Don’t make it a big deal, but just smile and wave.
  6. Invite him to lunch, your treat, at his favorite restaurant.
  7. When you’re at the grocery store, text your son and ask if there’s anything he needs.
  8. Offer to play his favorite board game with him . . . even if you know there’s no chance of you winning, even if you try.
  9. Do his laundry without making a big deal about it.
  10. Stop what you’re doing and really listen the next time he wants to tell you something.
  11. Let your son overhear you talking to someone else and praising one of his accomplishments.
  12. Make snacks for your son and his friends when they’re hanging out at your house.
  13. Buy a book he’s interested in and leave it on his bed with a note.
  14. Show up next time he invites you to do something with him.
  15. Take his problems seriously even when they don’t seem like a big deal to you.

These seem like simple things but you know you’re making a difference when you see your son’s SMILE!

Now, how about you? What are ways you show your teen son that you love him?


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  1. As a mom of 5 boys, now ages 13-23, I will tell you these 15 tips are SPOT ON! I have done nearly all of them and my boys know they are loved. :-) We are getting ready to adopt 3 more new sons from Ukraine (in addition to our first 5 biological sons). We have contact via Facebook. Any ideas on showing love to long-distance sons and not messing things up with translation? :-)

  2. Thanks for these tips! I’m just starting to learn how the teen years are different. I’ll keep these ideas in mind.

  3. Love these ideas! I have used them all! They work. I’d add a 16th- give him a shoulder massage. (He may balk at a hug, but a shoulder massage he’ll accept!) I have shared your blog over at my Facebook ministry page for parents http://www.facebook.com/1Corinthians13Parenting . Thanks Tricia!

  4. Wonderful list. Especially the parts about listening. That’s what they really want from you. My relationship with my 18 year old and now out-of-the-house son improved so much when I really began to do that. It can be done with text messaging, too. And I ask his advice on things. He likes that.

  5. Great list. Pretty much covers my son and myself. He likes to just chat about his favorite video games and podcasts (and can do it for hours!). :) When I feel knee deep in other things, I always remind myself that there will be decades to come where I will wish I could spend that kind of time with him.

  6. I do all that is on that list already. I also sit together for breakfast.and just talk about the upcoming day. We’re the early birds in the house. I always bless his head on his way out in the morning, it’s a small thing but all my kids bend their heads so I can pray for protection over them.

  7. As a mom of two teenage boys, your suggestions are right on target. My older son can leave campus so I cook for him and his friends once a week. My younger son plays video games and I watch and ask questions. They like me to add them to my blog posts since the younger sisters get so much more attention in my career. I find ways to include their activities and make them a part of the bigger picture.http://www.laurakellydesigns.com/laurakellydesignsblog/index.php/2013/02/21/crescent-roll-pizza-party/

  8. I need help showing love and affection to my older kids ,

  9. Wonderful! Just wonderful! I have 1 son and 4 girls and like you said, I totally get girls but my son?!!? This blessed me beyond my words can express! I will be sharing this one with others! Thank you! Love your site!

  10. Wanda P says:

    I washed my 19 year olds car for him the other day and you would have thought I gave him a bar of gold. He was deeply appreciative.

  11. These tips are wonderful! You are right about the difference between sons and daughters. My daughter would walk in the door from high school and within 20 minutes, I knew everything about her day :) I’d ask my son how his day was and I’d get the one word reply of “Okay” as he headed to his room. However, I thoroughly enjoyed our times in the car on the way to and from sports practice. There were no interruptions while we chatted. I should add that we don’t have cell service in our area and I love it!!

    I would like to add a tip. When I’m out shopping, I’ll pick up his favorite candy bar or some other small token just to let him know I was thinking of him. He’s in college now and loves to come home to these little treats.

  12. Struggling with my 14 year old. He is my 3rd son. He does not want anything to do with me. Makes me so sad.

  13. Great ideas. How about letting him know how much you appreciate and need his help? His muscles to move something I cannot for example, always brings a smile.
    Listening to that which I have zip, zero, zilch interest is huge, and I try my best to understand.

  14. My wife shared this article on Facebook and I clicked through and thought I would give my two cents. I don’t know if this will run counter to what this blog usually expresses, but please know that no offense is intended.

    From a Dad’s (and former boy) perspective, go blow something up/shoot something to smithereens together. Yes; use caution, but allowing a certain amount of playful destruction ebb forth is great source for a teen boy. Better still, let him pick some intended targets. Old toys, action figures, fruit, soda cans with the soda still in them (shaken up just prior for added effect), etc.

    And Mom’s…. there is the potential that you will be the coolest Mom on the block for not just capitulating to this wanton destruction, but being an active indulgent ordinance expert and enjoy destroying something along with him. This has the potential for creating a lifetime memory/story for him.

    • I love that!!! We just had the conversation of getting some bows and arrows and hay bales for the backyard. Okay, it’s not shooting something, but my son is excited!!

      This really made me smile!!

  15. Great list! Spot on. Number one is hands down the best tip I had to figure out the hard way when my son was 13!!! He was so different and we were not communicating well. He had become so defensive about everything, it seemed like overnight! I heard this tip on KLOVE and started paying attention to when I spoke to my son to utilize this nonthreatening side by side approach. It totally worked! We could discuss everyday things, important things, etc and he was comfortable and even verbose with his thoughts and opinions. This saved me through a rough hormonal time with him. He is now 18 and he has had various friends that he has brought to me to talk about family problems, girlfriend questions, etc. I cherish the moments.

    The other tips are also excellent! And the additional by your readers, too. I use most, but will implement others, especially now that he will be off to college this Fall. Sincerest thanks! My son loves it when I include his best buddies in our older “childhood” traditions like Valentine’s, Easter, St Patrick’s when I always make sure he has something to mark the day….even if it is just a card, goodie basket, fun pin, etc. Especially since a couple of his friends have never had someone do these little thingsbfor them.

  16. Melodie says:

    These are awesome tips!! I have 3 teenage sons and sometimes really struggle in my attempts to connect…they are joined at the hip with their dad/my husband, which I LOVE, but I still want to be connected too. Thank you!!!

  17. Great tips! I especially love #10 (stop what you’re doing and really listen) and #11 (praising them to others and letting them hear.) Men/boys crave our respect and these two tips alone will go far to show them that we not only love them – but we respect them.

    Thanks so much for sharing these with us!

  18. Tricia, thank you for sharing these great tips. When my son was a teen, my husband told me one of the most important thing for boys is to know they are capable, especially in the current culture where men are mocked and made to look like imbeciles. Whenever my son told me he was going to do something (apply for a job, try out for a sport, etc.), I made sure that my response was, “You can do it!” My son is now 28, married, has a great job, and is about to become a dad. He recently told me that my encouragement and belief in him gave him great strength and confidence when he had to do something hard. Such a simple thing to do, but so powerful!

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