Stop, Drop & Roll Is My #1 Tip For Parenting A Teenage Boy

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Since my son is now 17, I feel like I’ve been in this teenage boy stage for long enough to look back and to share my #1 tip when it comes to parenting a teenage boy.  I share this with 100% conviction that this advice has made a difference in some of the decisions that our boy has made when he is out there on his own. Has he made the right choice every time? Of course not.  But he has made enough of the right ones (so far, knocking on wood right now) to convince me that this is absolutely the best advice that I can share with my friends who are or will be parenting a teenage boy.  And since my girl just turned 13, I will get back to you on that one in a few years.  But here it is and it is such simple advice….

Stop, Drop & Roll…

when he wants to talk!

listen mom
Yep, just like the fire advice, these three words are essential.  If your son asks to talk or just starts sharing with you, believe me….take the time to Stop to really listen to him, Drop what you are doing and Roll with what he wants to tell you, especially if you want him to really open up to you.

This happened just last week when my son arrived home early before the rest of the family.  I was a busy bee, as always and he started following me around telling me about a fitness test at school that left his stomach queasy.  At some point, my motherly instinct told me to stop, turn around and face him so that I was really listening.  It is a rare occurrence these days when my teenage son really wants to have a chat with his Mama.  That is in part due to a very busy schedule with his sports, studies, job, girlfriend and buddies and part that it’s just not that cool to converse with Mom at this point in his life.

And just when I thought he was done conversing with me, the unthinkable happened!  He followed me into the kitchen and said that he would like to visit a little more.  So that is when I realized just how cool this day would be because my son and I were spending some quality time together and I for once was the listener. Not the nagger, the rule enforcer, the cook, the nurse, but the listening parent and friend.  I do believe that one can strike a balance of mostly parent, but a friend, too.

So I stopped what I was doing again, and this time I dropped everything for a bit and I rolled with whatever he wanted to talk about.  And when you try this with your own teenager, be ready for a few shares that begin with a request to not be mad or to “freak out” with a topic that he wants to share or ask about….hence the roll with it part of this advice.

We ended up talking about a lot of different subjects, some I could predict and some that took me by surprise.  I was eager to discuss these topics with him as he chatted and I listened.  But I stayed quiet and reserved my comments, thoughts and advice until he was finished sharing.  And we also shared a few laughs and that was nice.

But first I had to listen, really listen….stop, drop and roll 🙂

You can also create opportunities for a good discussion by going on a hike together hiking with my boyme and jack at dbacks gameor taking in a ball game, both things that we did the last couple of years.  When he got his driving permit, I turned down the radio when he started to talk because that learning to drive time can be hectic but can also provide some good talking time as well.

So if you try this with your son, don’t be disappointed if the very next day he returns to his usual quick “hey” with not a lot of chatter.  Believe me, he will remember that you had a chat and that you really listened to him.

Me and my teenaged boy.  Over a year ago I snuck in a rare kiss during our holiday photo shoot.

Me and my teenager. Over a year ago I snuck in a rare kiss during our holiday photo shoot.


  1. I loved every word of this! Thank you! And the hike is a great idea that hadn’t occurred to me. Even little ones need to talk. I stop, dropped and rolled with my 5 year old son the other day and after we got talking we got to what was really on his mind- can a person “steal” another person and what to do if that ever happened to him. Can’t think of any more important discussion that needs to be had with a tyke than that!! Yikes. Thanks, Rachel!

    • says:

      Thanks Amy. I can tell that you are a great Mom from the discussions that we have had about your sweet little boy and I know that you will be close to him and will remain great at stopping, dropping and rolling when he is a teenager someday, too…..and you won’t believe how fast that gets here!