50 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Teen Boys

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: 50 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Teen Boys

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus… at least that’s what the motto was when I was growing up. As a young teen girl, my friends and I would get together and talk for hours about how we just “didn’t get” boys and how the boys definitely didn’t “get” us. 

Looking back, even a few tips from someone who had walked in our shoes could have helped my friends and me better understand and navigate the boy world, guy friendships, and the whole dating world which was, at the time, a total mystery to all of us.

Fast forward a few years and here we are… my teen daughter is now hanging out with boys, learning how to form (and keep) guy friendships and starting to date. And, just like I was at her age, she’s a little, well… clueless.

Rather than letting her flounder (like I did), I thought I’d pass along a few “truisms” about teen boys. Truisms I picked up not only during my early dating years, (it’s funny how much you remember about those days), but also a few things I’ve picked up by listening intently to my teen son and all his friends.  

If you have a daughter who’s becoming more interested in boys, who’s looking to form meaningful friendships with boys, and who could use a few insider tips about dating, pass along our “50 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Teen Boys.” While every point listed may not hold true with every boy, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find a lot of these ring true. (Some of these apply to the “girl world,” too.) Here are things I want my daughter to know about teen boys…

50 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Teen Boys


#1 If you see a boy standing alone at a dance, a party or in school, don’t be afraid to walk up and start talking to him. Chances are he’s just shy and would secretly love it if you broke the ice.

#2 If a boy seems a little awkward around you, don’t pass judgment too early. He might just need a little practice being around girls. Give him some time.

#3 Having guy friends can teach you a lot about boys. Plus, when you start dating, your guy friends can help you navigate the dating world.

#4 It’s really hard for some guys to make the first move. It’s okay to make the first move providing you’re not too forward or pushy. Drop him a casual text, ask him to lunch or ask if he wants to hang out. Yes… it’s really okay!

#5 Just a heads up… most teen boys really like playing video games… A LOT.

#6 Guys need “bro time.” If you’re dating, cut him some slack and don’t make him feel guilty about spending time with his friends.

#7 Just because a boy looks at another girl doesn’t mean he’s interested in her. Don’t be the jealous type – that’s exhausting for guys.

#8 Teen boys typically don’t have a lot of money. Don’t expect a boy to pay every time you go out on a date (if you’re actually dating). Offer to go dutch or pick up the tab every now and then. You’ll win his respect and show him you don’t need a guy to take care of you.

#9 Boys are way more sensitive than you realize (they just don’t show it). Try not to hurt their feelings by blowing them off or tossing out snarky remarks about how they dress or wear their hair. They’ll carry it with them for a long time.

#10 Don’t believe stereotypes about guys – all guys are different.

#11 Teen boys typically aren’t great communicators – especially about their feelings. You might have to pull things out of him – just be patient. When he earns your trust, he’ll open his heart.

#12 Get to know his parents. You can learn a lot about a boy by the way he treats his mother and father.

#13 Don’t try to be something you’re not just to make a boy like you. He’ll eventually figure out that you’re a fake. It’s better to just be you.

#14 Guys like girls they can talk to. Don’t worry about the topic, just jump in. Ask him questions about school, sports, his hobbies or what his plans are moving forward. It will make him feel special knowing you’re interested in his life.

#15 Boys want to feel respected just as much as girls do. Treat him the way you’d like to be treated.

#16 Your looks might draw him in, but your personality, sense of humor and character will keep a boy coming back. 

#17 If you really want to get a guy’s attention, make him laugh.

#18 Some teen boys (not all) don’t have a ton of experience being around girls who cry a lot or are overly sensitive. Just be patient with him. He’s learning how to handle girls’ emotions and he may not always say the right thing. He’ll get there eventually. 

#19 Sometimes, it’s okay to be silent. Every moment doesn’t need to be filled with conversation.

#20 It’s okay to get goofy and silly. Stop trying to be so serious and perfect. Just be real

#21 Don’t be flirtatious and lead a boy on if you’re not interested. No boy likes that.

#22 You know that boy you’re dating? He isn’t a mind reader. Instead of making him figure out what you’re thinking or beating around the bush trying to figure out what he’s thinking or feeling, tell him or just ask. Practice open communication. It will do your relationship a whole lot of good!

#23 If you’re dating, ask him what he likes to do, or where he’d like to go. Don’t let the relationship be one-sided. (On the flip side, if he wants to take the lead… be sure to let him from time to time.)

#24 Give the shy boy a chance… please.

#25 Teen boys are going through a lot of hormonal changes (just like you). When he’s moody or having a rough day, cut him some slack. Being a guy is hard, too.

#26 Instead of looking at boys as potential boyfriends, focus instead on being friends first. In the best relationships, the couple typically started out as friends.

#27 Most teen boys’ #1 fear is rejection. If you have to let a boy down, let him down easily and respectfully.

#28 Tell your guy friends (or boyfriend) you like his shirt, his new haircut or that he smells nice – boys don’t get many compliments. Trust me, they love it. 

#29 Spoiler alert… he’s going to mess up. Expect it. He’s learning how to act around girls, how to date, and how to be a gentleman. Instead of criticizing him (outwardly or gossiping about him to your friends) – be patient and help him learn.

#30 Even though they act all tough on the outside, guys’ hearts are just as fragile as yours… remember that.

#31 Most (confident) boys appreciate and admire smart, confident girls. Don’t hold back. 

#32 I know it’s easy to assume that just because a guy is nice to you, he wants sex. But, that’s not always the case. Please don’t assume. Some guys were raised to be gentlemen.

#33 Teen boys want to be treated like the man they’re becoming, not the boy they’re leaving behind.

#34 Guys and girls absolutely can be friends. And, quite often, guys make the best friends.

#35 You can’t force a guy to like you. If you sense a boy isn’t into you, move on. There are plenty of other fish in the sea.

#36 “No” means the same for guys as it does for you. Never push a boy into doing anything he’s not ready, willing, or interested in doing. “No” always means “no” regardless of the circumstances.

#37 Listening to you go on and on and on about everything under the sun can wear a guy out. Don’t overwhelm him with long, drawn-out details. Guys (a lot, anyway) appreciated the abbreviated story.

#38 Most teen boys have a word limit. When they reach it, they’ll probably need some time alone to chill out. Don’t take it personally. 

#39 Never make fun of a guy who asks you out and don’t gossip to your friends about how you rejected him. If it gets back to him, his ego can really take a hit. Plus, it’s just plain mean.

#40 If a guy is interested in you, he’ll make time for you. If you’re constantly getting mixed signals or the cold shoulder, he’s probably not that into you. It’s okay. Just move on.

#41 Never try to make a guy jealous. It’s more of a reflection on you and your insecurity. Plus, not only is it mean, other guys are watching.

#42 There’s little a guy likes less than a girl who tries to control or manipulate him. So, don’t. 

#43 Don’t let their tough-guy exterior fool you. Some boys are actually hopeless romantics. 

#44 If a boy asks you, “What’s wrong?” and you say “Nothing,” he’ll believe you. Speak up.

#45 Never play games with a boy. He may take it for a while, but he’ll eventually move on.

#46 Boys care what their friends think about you – even if they don’t admit it. 

#47 Sometimes, a guy’s idea of a good time is doing absolutely nothing. 

#48 If a boy shares a personal secret with you, never tell your friends. It took a lot for him to tell you. Don’t betray his trust. 

#49 Guys are just as insecure as you are about zits and acne. 

#50 Most boys are pretty mushy on the inside. If they watch a chick flick with you, they’ll probably love it even if they pretend to hate it. 

“Of all the things I want my daughter to know about teen boys, it’s that any relationship ~ romantic or friendships ~ should be viewed as a marathon, not a sprint. Take your time. Don’t rush things. Resist the urge to jump in too quickly. Above all, enjoy the journey.”

Tell us what we missed! “Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Teen Boys.” Share your thoughts in the comments section below! 

Here are a few others you might enjoy:

8 Proven Tips to Soften Mother-Daughter Conflict

Bond with Your Teenage Daughter: 50 Ways to Connect


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Neillee May 12, 2021 - 7:59 am

As the mother of a 16 year old boy, I love that you took the time to write this. These are very true, my son has a big heart and wants to give a lot but needs his alone time, doesn’t want to be overwhelmed by a lot of emotion yet but at the same time understands how to be supportive and loves to be a romantic (yes, at 16). And the part about not using anything they tell you against them. That is so important at this age. They’re more fragile than they let on. My kiddo, he has some really strong female friendships and they do a great job of learning from each other when they’re healthy friendships, so I’m really happy you put this out there!

Nancy Reynolds May 18, 2021 - 9:32 am

It makes me so happy to hear that this post resonated with you! I’ve received so many comments from other parents saying the same thing… our boys are, in fact, sensitive and sweet and, more importantly, they are trying to be a good friend to girls and a caring boyfriend. But, just like anything else in life, these things take time! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

lydia park March 1, 2022 - 3:42 pm

Great article Nancy! My brother is the youngest of three children, with two older sisters, and I just thought I’d pass along something you might find amusing regarding his dating adventures with empowered women. My brother, who has always been a mild-mannered, handsome, nice guy, messed up in a big way when he was younger with two women who handled it in a very retro, sassy-lady way, i.e. a well placed slap on the cheek 😉 When he was a senior in high school, a sophomore girl asked him to the prom. She was very cute, petite (gymnast) and quite smart. He told her he would need to think about it. A few weeks later, he asked another girl to the prom, who was pretty, popular, and well, a bit buxom. She accepted his offer so he then told the first girl he would have to decline her offer but didnt say why. She of course figures out that she got dumped for the other girl, so one day she approaches him at the cafeteria lunch table and says something like, “So, you were just stringing me along until you heard back from Miss Big Boobs? I’m not your plan B!” Whap! She slapped his face and stormed off. Hopefully that was a good lesson for the other guys at his table. Interesting footnote, the feisty sophomore gal would go on to an Ivy league school and become very successful (and semi-famous). My sister and I always teased him about making the wrong prom choice 😉 I do admire that gal’s chutzpah! The other incident happened when he was in college. He was dating a young woman who had an identical twin sister. One day, he saw his girlfriend sitting on a bench in the middle of campus, so he thought he would surprise her by planting a kiss on her……except it wasnt her, it was her identical twin. She was of course taken aback and quite annoyed and told him he got the wrong twin and stormed off. Apparently she told her sister about it because when he went to visit her at her dorm room later that day, instead of being greeted with the usual kiss, she gave him a stinging slap across the face instead, and said something like, “After all of this time that we’ve been together you can’t tell the difference between me and my sister?!”. Then she slammed the door. Would love to have been a fly on the wall to see that. I told him he should be grateful that he got only one slap, since the twin sister whom he kissed would have been well within her rights to slap him as well. He claimed she didnt do so because deep down she enjoyed his kiss. LOL!

Nancy Reynolds March 4, 2022 - 7:08 am

BOTH of those stories are SO funny! Thank you so much for sharing! Ahhh… the perils of dating and what our kids have to go through to figure a few things out along the way! I’m sure your son never “strung another girl along” AND, after that, bet he never dated a twin again. Lol. My son is just getting his feet wet in the dating world, so I’m curious to see what kind of stories (and blunders) he’ll have to share in a few years. 🙂

lydia park March 26, 2022 - 1:54 am

And just a few funny footnotes. He did say the one way to tell the twins apart was that his girlfriend’s sister was somewhat thicker/heavier than she was. Since many women are weight conscious, maybe she interpreted him mistaking her for her twin as another way of saying she put weight on, and that aggravated her further. lol! Regarding the gal who asked him to the prom, I’m thinking boob envy may have factored into her rage 😉

I do admire those gals, but perhaps I’m a terrible sister for enjoying it too much? Poor guy took it on the chin, twice! On second thought, we women need to stick together, so no sympathy from this sister and I think I speak for his other sister and his Mom. hahaha! Those ladies taught him valuable lessons and he’s a better man for it 🙂 I

Karen Song April 12, 2022 - 3:23 pm

Oh Goodness!! Poor guy has a target on his cheek. hahaha! We women can be a handful. I once slapped a guy I had just broken up with because he was not the least bit disappointed or emotional about the break-up. I know….I was a serious drama queen. lol!

Kaelyn Harwell September 20, 2022 - 6:39 pm

Always like there personality don’t go on the looks


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