Top 10 Reasons Preteen Boys Rock

As we all know, there are many stages of childhood. With each comes some wonderful things and some…well…not so wonderful things.  The pros and cons let’s say. As the mother of a 12 ½ year old son, Bobby, who is *this* close to teenhood (teendom? teenagery?), I feel qualified to spread the word about this stage for boys.

The downsides of having a preteen aged son are well documented—the smells, the messiness, the sheer volume of Axe Body Spray that must be purchased—yes, but those are things I’ll save for another day. Today I’d like to tell you about the good things, the GREAT things actually, about having a preteen son. These don’t get quite as much airtime as they should, and I’m not sure why.  It’s a really well kept secret that this stage is LOADS of fun.


The preteen male absolutely revels in the fact that he is getting stronger, starting to fill out, and becoming manly (yes, I can ALMOST see that wisp of hair you are calling a mustache, honey). What fun are manly muscles if they are not showing off? None at all it turns out! Everywhere we go, Bobby immediately starts gathering bags or boxes to carry like he is part oxen. I don’t even have to ask. I swear I have not carried a bag out of Target for over a year. He is very proud to heft those bags right out to the car without even putting them in the cart, thank you very much. It is awesome!


Now, if you are very tall some of you might have to wait a bit for this one, but if you are short like me (I measure in at a shrimpy 5’3” on a good day), this rocks.  Bobby has been taller than me for about a year now with a better reach to match. If my husband is not around or is otherwise occupied, guess who is more than happy to reach up to the high shelf for me?  You got it. You can practically see him beat his chest like a cave man every time he performs this task. It’s a win-win for us both.


You know when a younger child tells you a joke and you laugh and laugh, not because it’s actually hysterical but because they made it up themselves and it’s your parental duty to chuckle? Or maybe you laugh despite the fact that it’s that’s been around so long even your parents are tired of it? Well, those days are over, my friend!  Right about now, they start knowing real jokes that are actually funny.  Now, these are jokes aren’t always “appropriate” for all types of company, mind you, but they know real honest to goodness ways to make you laugh *on purpose*.  Aside from jokes, they totally grasp sarcasm, irony, puns, and can also deliver a deadpan line without cracking a smile.  It all begins here!



I’ve always been a big reader (find me on GoodReads!), and it turns out that Bobby is as well.  When I was little, once you finished children’s books like Little House on the Prairie or Nancy Drew, you were out of luck if you were a reader. You had Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret, then…zilch. There was no Young Adult category like today. I started reading grown up books around 6th grade which was sometimes fine, but more often was not. (Let’s just say I read more Sidney Sheldon  than was probably wise.) Now, however, there are fabulous books for young adults—books you will *love*. It was Bobby who told me I should read The Hunger Games trilogy long before any other grown up I knew had heard of it. He also turned me on to The Graveyard Book which introduced me to Neil Gaiman, who is now one of my favorite authors. I, then, told him about the Chaos Walking trilogy, and he returned the favor by having me read the Fablehaven books and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I know this will only get better and better, and I love it!


I truly love all kinds of music. You’ll find classical, pop, rock, country, folk, and everything in between on my iPod. I have nothing against Justin Bieber or One Direction.  They are absolute staples to my 9 year old daughter, Lucy. But music is important to the preteen boy, and the stuff they listen to is actual music that doesn’t feature a single artist who would be caught dead in Tiger Beat. Bonus points for you if your child plays an instrument (Bobby plays the guitar) because you can get them to learn songs you like.  They can finally play well enough that you can even recognize the song.  Because of Bobby, my iPod now also has rap and dubstep—yes, I do play them even when I’m alone without a child in sight. This might be counted as a negative for some people, but not for me. If you love music, your preteen will make sure you are up to date on what is good and current right now. Look who’s the coolest mom in carpool!


I stop the “always letting the kids win” thing with games when kids turn 8 or 9.  Now, I’m not saying that I purposefully go all out to stomp them in the ground, but I do quit letting them take multiple turns or changing the rules to suit them. Still, it’s not very competitive, and you can always win if you wish. You are playing games to spend time with them and that’s wonderful, but you can’t play up to your *actual* ability. Right about this stage, though, the preteen boy starts getting good at games and has the ability to go with his burgeoning male confidence. Whether you are talking about board games like Blokus, digital games like Hanging With Friends, or outside fun like shooting hoops, preteens will know what they’re doing. You may still win most of the time, but more and more it takes some actual *doing* and it’s not always a foregone conclusion. If you are somewhat competitive like me, this is fantastic!!


If you have a child, you will spend more than a few hours of your life in the movie theater watching children’s movies. Some are fantastic and destined to become classics, but some are so awful you deserve a reward (and a cocktail) just for making it to the end. Either way, you will be spending some of your time and money in this way. When boys hit the preteen years, the things they want to see are suddenly things that sound actually enjoyable to you as well.  Now, the movies they select will have a definite male bent to them, but they are movies you might actually select for yourself, and there will not be an animated animal in any of them. You’ll happily attend the newest Batman movie, Mission Impossible, or Sherlock Holmes and—get this—you will actually be parenting at the same time. It doesn’t get any better than this!


When your children are younger there is a fair amount of home work that you, as a parent,  are required to spend hours doing. You are expected to turn lowly shoe boxes into adorable Valentine’s Day mailboxes, you have to help create posters and dioramas at the drop of a hat, and you probably have to make sure that all homework tasks are done by the time bed rolls around. You are mostly in charge of the whole deal really. Guess what, that is NOT TRUE of the preteen.  A wonderful thing takes place right around middle school.  You don’t have to do a damn thing. They start organizing themselves, they know what has been assigned, they are old enough to do any project thrown at them completely independently, and they frankly don’t want your help because they are just beginning to think they know everything. (Score!)  Sure they might ask you to quiz them to make sure they know their stuff for the Social Studies test they’ve studied for, but sometimes you can’t even do that. (Hello Spanish! My husband took French, and I took Latin. We are no help at all!) Yes, you will still want to spot check to make sure that they are being neat with assignments (they are still boys, of course), and you will still make sure they are keeping up with all of their subjects. But overall, you don’t have assignments nor are you the one who has to keep track of what needs to be done and when. You will not believe the hours of your life this will allow you to reclaim, and the joy this will afford you. They are truly becoming very capable and self sufficient!

Of course sometimes they are too busy texting to actually talk to you.


Sure, they still spend a decent amount of time in the back seat. (When it’s your turn for carpool duty they want to sit next to their friends so they can talk, of course). But, when it’s just the two of you, he can sit right next to you. It’s much easier and more fun to talk this way. Now, you might have to lay down a few laws about who is allowed to touch the radio and air conditioning buttons, but other that that, it’s more fun to travel with another passenger this way. (And you feel less like a chauffeur when you are not the only person up front, let me tell you.)


I know if your son is small now, you can’t imagine what it’s like when his feet will be bigger than yours, and he needs deodorant. Just thinking about it might make you sad because he won’t be the same sweet little guy who wants to cuddle with you anymore. Even if this list hasn’t convinced you that the best is yet to come, do not fear.  When you look in his eyes or see him smile, believe me, he is still every bit your little guy. You will still see the same boy who loved Thomas the Tank Engine and didn’t get the hang of potty training until you used M&Ms for rewards. The great thing is, now in his profile, in the way he carries himself, and in the way he treats others, you can start to get little glimpses of the man he is becoming, too. It’s amazing.

So, let’s celebrate the preteen boy! All the benefits of a real teenager… minus the attitude and ability to drive!




Top 10 Reasons Preteen Boys Rock — 70 Comments

    • That would be nice help to have, Nikki! I wish my son would do that! 🙂 He did teach my daughter how to tie her shoes several years ago when she was having trouble. We tried everything, and he taught her in about 5 minutes. Go figure! Yay for sons! 😉

  1. What a great tribute to your son!!! Very encouraging to know as my little guy is still small, but I always think I won’t have my little bugger for too long!! Your post makes me look forward to him growing up now!!! 🙂

    • Aw! You’ve got a lot to look forward to as he grows, Chris! Sons are great! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! 🙂

  2. Lisa, I felt like I was writing this post! (once again!) – we are very much alike in our way of thinking and how we feel about our boys!! And those feelings you describe will only continue to grow and deepen as he gets older. Austin is 23 and greater than ever…..sure, they have their moments, but then again, so do I! 🙂 Great article and great to hear a parent writing about the positive things about their teen/pre-teen – too much of the other these days!

    • We’re simpatico, Debbie! That doesn’t surprise me at all! 😉 I love, love, LOVE hearing that it just gets better and better. I happen to know how awesome Austin is from Ashley! Like mother, like son! I might have to hit you up for some wise advice in the future when I’m dealing with driving or other things that make my palms sweat already.

  3. This is a great post…I mean besides making me feel so very sad by calling yourself short at 5’3″ while I’m just 4’11” (Sssshhh…). But seriously, great post 🙂 Also, I have a few eBooks I’d love to share if you want 😀

    • Oh, Xae! I didn’t mean it!!. I *meant* to say that I am certainly average height (or slightly above) and only the very statuesque are taller than I am. 😉

      Did I hear you say “book recommendations”?…SCORE. Yes, please! You send any rec’s my way whenever you like! I am rarely more than an arm’s length away from my Kindle…EVER.

  4. Thanks for the hope for homework down the road. After tonight’s battle, I needed to know there is light at the end of this tunnel. Of course, by the time I get to that light with Jared, we’ll be starting down the tunnel again with Josh.

    • Ha! Just when you get through one stage, you have to turn around and start all over with the next one! 🙂

      Seriously though, the homework thing gets so much better as they get older. You’re not even shirking your duty as a parent either because they need to learn how to be organized and conquer things before high school. In order to be a good parent, you MUST step back. (then they step right up and do well all by themselves). How great is that?!

    • Bwahahaha! At my house the kids seem to have a schedule of who will be tolerable and who will try to push me over the edge each day. They flip flop back and forth to keep me on my toes.

  5. My first thought was what my dad said about us, he was glad when we could carry suitcases, funny that was the first thing you mentioned too.

  6. Oh, yes! Yes! Yes! I have two boys. One is 14 and one is going to be 11 in a month. Every single one of these is right on. I almost fell off my chair laughing at the AXE comment. My house smells like about 20 cans exploded every single morning.

    • There will be many things that will change, Alison! Unfortunately, the toilets with pee all over/around/on them isn’t one of them! 😉

  7. {Melinda} Love my preteen boy — for all those reasons and more! Mine is almost exactly yours age — he’ll be 13 in February. He is sweet and protective, but more and more manly every day. Love your list. The preteen/teen years ARE challenging and stressful, but I also love getting a glimpse of who they will be as adults and how our relationship will mature.

    • That’s it exactly, Melinda! Our boys are just about the same age. It’s a really interesting time! Just when you think you might serve them an eviction notice for the messiness and smells emanating from their room, they will turn around and carry in groceries and keeping them seems like a much better idea! 🙂

  8. Wha?! This blog is amazing…I’m so sad I didn’t find you earlier, just think of all the random weekday mornings I could have been guffawing over the laptop instead of wandering near the front door trying to determine the source of the recent unpleasant odor!! Seriously, I’m subscribing!

    • I feel the same way about your blog, Angi! I need something called “Growing Tween” in my life…obviously! Synchronicity!

  9. This is such a well thought out list. As a mom of a six year old son – who knew??? He will be so proud when you share this with him.
    I love the one about reading good books I never would have thought about that.

  10. So sweet. Your points about a preteen boy are awesome and true, but take some credit, you have clearly done a great job raising him. Some of those things, like thinking to carry the bag, being off the video games long enough to go tell you jokes, and getting his own homework done–those are the results of great mothering. And he is good looking…in ten years, I’m sure my oldest won’t be too young =)

    • Why, thanks so much, Laura! I do think he actually carries bags to flaunt his manliness…but I’ll be happy to take credit! 😉 Thank you so much for stopping by!

  11. My guy is 8 right now, so #10 teared me up a little, thinking about him growing so much. But sometimes I see glimpses of the things you mention (he is already showing a love for carrying things!) Thank you for showing me that there is much to look forward to!

    Happy SITS Day!

    • Hi, Kim! Yes, it’s so weird. One day you turn your head and they are giants with hairy underarms and you think, “How did that happen??!!” (The good news is that they are still your same little boy underneath it all! 🙂

    • Thanks, Jennifer (I love your blog’s name!)
      Although they have their moments, there is a lot of fun to look forward to!

  12. It’s taking every ounce of my restraint to stop myself from blasting out of work and running home to hug the berries out of my nine year old boy. I am enjoying many of the things you mentioned here already (numbers 3, 4 and 8 are particularly resonant.) Bring on “The Hobbit”…

  13. Thanks for the post. I teach high school and boys are definitely different. We had three girls so personal experience was low. I did teach middle school for 15 years and ran into few boys who sound as organized as your son. Thanks for raising a wonderful child. Enjoy your SITS Day.

    • Aw! Thanks, Sheila! I have to say, math is a favorite subject for my son so he’ll be so thrilled for your nice compliment! It will mean a lot coming from a veteran math teacher! (Which always trumps anything I say!)

  14. My son is 16 now. I am 5’4″ and he’s 5’11”. I often call him into whatever room I’m in like this, “Come here and be tall for me” or “Come here and be strong for me.” It’s truly awesome. His thrill at being tall and strong isn’t as intense as it once was. There’s a little more grumbling if I stop him from a video game to come get something from the top shelf now. But he still does it, and it makes a world of difference for me.

    Plus, I’m trying to groom him to be a good husband. Isn’t that my job?

    • Yes, it is your job and you are doing it well!! 🙂

      Oh, and I’m TOTALLY stealing that wording! “Come here and be tall for me” and “Come here and be strong for me” He will EAT THAT UP! I absolutely *love* it!

  15. Happy SITS Day! When I saw the title, I HAD to read this post – I need me some encouragement!

    WHAT a GREAT post!!!!!!!!!!!!! True on all counts. I especially love #1 and #8, oh yeah, baby. It’s like getting a reward for all those “acid-poop” diaper days.

    Have a great day!

    • Don’t we *deserve* a few perks after all of those diaper changed and for all of the teenagery to come? Yes, yes we do!!
      (Oh, and I LOVE your avatar! So funny!!)

  16. Gosh I miss my boys! They’ve both grown up and moved out, an not so very long ago. This has brought back some good memories. Though I’m 5’3″, my boys were slow growers, they didn’t really surpass their mother’s height until about age 16 at which point they had well passed up preteen and moved full on into teen.

    • Rats for missing the preteen height excitement…but I bet you were able to make good use of their awesome strength and all the others! Plus, you can even tell us about the top things about teenage boys…there are some, right? 😉

  17. I have an almost 11 year old stepson and he’s still very far from the preteen stage…He’s still such a little kid. At times, I would like him to grow up but then I think, let him be. I have a teenager daughter and she’s just so much attitude…and I have a baby boy , one year old. They are all at different stages in their lives. It’s nice to be a part of all the stages.

    • You’re so right! All the stages have their ups and downs, but I’m so glad we get to be a part of every single one! (remind me of that when mine are actual teens, please!)

    • Yes, Kristin! Several of these will totally be the same with a girl! Plus she will be able to tell you fashion trends and let you know if your clothes are old fashioned! (wait, maybe that is more of a “con” than a “pro”)

    • Aw, thanks, Mo! Yes, I have to say, it’s AWESOME when they start liking real music. Car rides just get that much better!! 🙂

  18. It’s so easy to dwell on the negative. It’s so nice to have the positive put right out there in my face. Thank you! My oldest son is 18 (been there, done that, wanted to kill him often), and my younger son is 12. I so agree with you on much of what you said. Thanks! And happy SITS day, BTW.

    • Thanks so much! Oh, man…you are really in the thick of it with a full fledged teenager and a preteen about to teenage out on you. I’m hoping I can find some positive things about the teen years too…I will be able to do that, right?! 😉

  19. Can I add to your list? First,, it’s nice to see some positive things about boys around this age. It certainly feels like we do not live in a boy positive society.

    1: Boys are smart! Remember the genius boy? The brilliant musician or the 12 year old college male? You know, the smart boy! Whatever happened to those? Nobody ever seems to acknowledge them anymore.
    I was reading close to college level by the time I stepped foot into high-school.

    2: Preteen boys are gorgeous! There, I said it. It is the moment of transition from cute little lad into handsome young man but with a healthy blend of the two. They’re slap me in the face attractive.

    3: The spark and love of life and fascination with any and everything, carried over from young boyhood still exists during this stage and is now accompanied by a seemingly infinite source of energy that is just a joy to behold and be a part of.

    If I may add some advice for dealing with smells. Try introducing him to different products to influence him off of the AXE. I hate that stuff, never cared too. Heck I don’t even bother with colognes. Males don’t need to add it on when everything from soaps to deodorants, shaving creams are all scented.

    Introduce him to Dove Clean comfort for men. And Degree dry protection clean for when he hits the puberty monster 😉 They have very subtle soft smells, pleasant and attractive.

    Whether your boys admit it or not, as manly and independent they may want to be(and they will flaunt their independence), you can never replace a good old fashioned hug. They wont admit it but the affection is much appreciated.

    Be well and admire them. Preserve and see their good traits into adulthood

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