I was doing my best to sleep on a thin mattress on the floor of a messy and very smelly cabin. It was six in the morning on the last day of a middle school camp trip I led and I wasn’t feeling well. Several of the boys in the cabin woke up at five and asked if they could leave the cabin. I gave them permission and they left, but not before I gave them a warning to be quiet because the entire camp was still asleep. As they left, they turned the lights on several times, spoke loudly, and even stepped on my mattress. Now, an hour later, I could hear them all the way across the camp, coming back to the cabin. They were loud, obnoxious, and inconsiderate. When they burst into the room, I lost it, gave them a loud lecture, and then kicked open the bathroom door on the way to the shower as an exclamation.
Tween boys are not easy and they have pushed me to the limit more times than at camp. And I know I’m not alone. Parenting a tween boy can be filled with frustration. I’ve seen more adults lose it on tween boys than on any other group of kids. So often, they leave us wondering, “What were you thinking?” But if we take a look at the world through their eyes, it may help us understand and empathize with them. Life is a lot harder for them than we realize and they need our patience and support. Here are 5 reasons tween boys need your empathy.