25 Things Your Teen Son Probably Isn’t Telling You

From silly and sassy to sappy and serious, here are things your boy might be keeping to himself

by Nancy Reynolds

This Post: 25 Things Your Teen Son Isn’t Telling You

Written by: Morgan Hill

I’ve been surrounded by teen boys for years. Between my own teen boys and all their friends, I’ve quietly listened in on their conversations in the backseat of my car, I’ve heard them talking on the phone, and I’ve shared more than a few candid conversations with them. What I’ve come to realize is that there are plenty of things our boys aren’t telling us. 

Of course, every teen boy is different. Chances are your teen son isn’t sharing at least a few of these “honest truths” with you. From silly and sassy to sappy and serious, here are a few things your teen son isn’t telling you. 

25 Things Your Teen Son Isn’t Telling You (Probably)


1. He’s out of toilet paper

He might steal toilet paper from other bathrooms, but he’d rather die than get his own.

2. He does have homework

On the car ride home, you asked if he had homework today. “Nah.” But he does. And he’s probably not going to do it. He’s tired from school, being “on” all day and after-school stuff, and the last thing he wants to do is sit down and do three more hours of homework. Seriously though… who can blame him? (He just doesn’t realize that making up all that work will kill him more than doing the actual homework.)

3. Some days he hates the world, but he doesn’t know why

It might seem like he hates you. It might seem like everything you do annoys him. But it’s hormones. “Why are you asking me so many questions? Ugh, you’re chewing so loudly!” Just back away slowly – it may take a few hours or a few days, but he’ll come around eventually. Just remember, it’s not you.

4. He has no plans to bring the dishes he’s been hoarding to the kitchen

Nope, not going to happen. Even though you’re running out of forks, spoons and bowls, he couldn’t care less. Moldy dishes and a stack of empty bowls on his nightstand don’t bother him a bit. He only cares about finishing a competitive game of Fortnite.

5. He’s going to hate his favorite food this week, next week

The minute you buy the mega box of his favorite food from Costco he’ll decide he hates it. “Why did you buy fish sticks? I hate fish sticks! Why didn’t you buy chicken nuggets? I only like chicken nuggets with ketchup.”

6. He loves all the little ways you silently say, “I love you”

Like when you surprise him by making his lunch, making his favorite snack or doing his laundry – he might not show genuine appreciation, but he feels loved when you do it. 

7. “Leave me alone!” doesn’t always mean he wants to be alone

He doesn’t always know what he wants. Sometimes he says he wants to be alone, but what he needs is you. Don’t take it personally. And don’t be surprised if after he slams his bedroom door, he comes wandering out to see you (and maybe even apologize). 

8. He didn’t shower when he said he did

It might be time for a sniff test.

9. He’s pulling clothes out of the hamper

He stayed up way too late studying (oh… I mean scrolling) and so he overslept… again. He doesn’t have time to figure out which clothes are clean or which ones go together, so he whips a sweatshirt and a pair of jeans he wore three days in a row out of his hamper and throws them on. (Just to be safe, he adds a few extra squirts of cologne to cover up any lingering smell.)

10. Freedom feels good

Boundaries are important, but he loves that you’re loosening your grip. He needs to be able to make choices about his style, his friendships, and his future. 

11. He still loves family traditions

You know that annual camping trip your family takes every year that he seems to dread? Or, how about those silly family game nights you have. He may never admit it, but he secretly loves all those family traditions that remind him of his childhood (yep… even the corny ones).

12. He’s worried you don’t love him when he acts unlovable

He knows he can be tough to live with, at times. And, so… he worries. What he doesn’t know is that you’ll always love him anyway. Tell him often (even when he acts like he doesn’t care) because, at the end of the (possibly frustrating, exhausting) day, you do and always will.

13. You’re not cool

Oh, I know you try to be with your trendy clothes and hip taste in music, but no matter what you do, there’s a good chance your mere presence embarrasses him. (Don’t worry, he doesn’t need you to be cool. He just needs you to be there.)

15. He’s cheating in school

He doesn’t want to disappoint you; he knows it’s wrong, but the pressure to hold his GPA so he can get into a “decent” college is so intense that there’s a possibility he’s “cutting a few corners” every now and then. Remind your boy that you’d rather he fails with honor than passes by cheating. Plus, the long-term price of cheating isn’t worth the risk.

16. He bombed that big test

He studied hard and thought he’d pull at least a “B.” But he bombed. Now he’s worried. Will you be angry? Blame him for not doing enough? Yell? (What he doesn’t realize is that in your eyes, his grades will never define him. Instead, you give him a big hug so he knows nothing can shake your love for him.)

17. He needs boundaries

He might fight back. He might get annoyed. He might even yell and pitch a fit. But deep down inside he knows he needs them. The fact that you’re willing to fight so hard to keep him safe and on the right track in life brings him comfort and the reassurance that you’ll always have his back and that your love is steadfast. 

18. Stuffed animals are still comforting

You know that pile of stuffed animals in the corner of his bedroom that he pretends he hates? Sometimes, late at night, he grabs his favorite raggedy stuffed teddy bear and sleeps with it. It reminds him of the days when life wasn’t so complicated. 

19. He needs you to let him make his own mistakes

Since the time he was a toddler, you’ve held his hand eager to jump in and catch him every time he fell. But he’s not little anymore. He needs you to back off a bit and let him figure some things out on his own. He needs to be given the freedom to fail… a lot. It’s how he’ll learn. 

20. He needs privacy

He might be hanging out behind a closed bedroom door, but he needs you to know that it’s what he needs. When school, homework, friends, drama, girlfriends/boyfriends, family obligations, and the pressure of “teenagering” becomes too much, he needs a safe place to land – his bedroom. Don’t take it personally. Check up on him from time to time. But give him space to be alone with his thoughts. 

21. “Teenager-ish” things are happening to his body

His voice is getting lower, his feet are getting bigger, there’s hair where there never was and his hormones are raging. Chances are he won’t keep you in the loop when puberty kicks in (even though there are some telltale signs), but he needs you to know that there’s a whole lot going on in his body right now. (Now is a good time to cut your boy a little slack – growing up is HARD.)

22. He’s sneaking around with his significant other

He thinks you won’t approve or maybe you said he’s not ready. But he thinks he is. So, there’s a chance he’s doing it behind your back – sneaking around after school, crawling out of windows, saying he’s going to a “friend’s house.” (He’s not trying to be defiant, it’s just that he’s willing to risk getting into trouble to be with someone he likes… a  lot.)

 23. His self-esteem is fragile

He cares whether he fits in. He cares how he looks. He cares if he’s invited. He wants to be accepted. And, he really worries about that pimple on his face that showed up out of nowhere. He may act all cool and pretend stuff doesn’t bother him, but it does

 24. He’d tell you more…if you listened

He wants to tell you there was alcohol at that party or that his best friend tried weed. He wants to share his life with you – the good and the bad. He just doesn’t want you to pound him with questions, freak out when you disapprove, or think he’s a bad kid. As tempting as it is, quiet down and let him fill the silence. It’s his turn. 

 25. He loves you and really does want to spend time with you

He may not say it enough. Heck, he may not say it at all. But make no mistake about it, of all the things your teen son isn’t telling you, he does love you and he does want to hang out with you. Be strong and look past the eye-rolls, heavy sighs, and slamming doors. He’s a teenager – a big ball of hormones. One day, when you least expect it, he’ll realize how amazing you are – just give your boy time to grow up. In the meantime, laugh with him, be silly with him, go on adventures with him, enjoy him – soon enough these days will be over. 

About Morgan Hill:

Morgan Hill is an essayist and humorist. She has written for many online and print publications including Insider, Your Teen Magazine, Revel and MASK Magazine. She is the mother of freshman and senior sons in high school. When not writing, she can be found at flea markets, in her garden, photographing architecture, taking cooking classes or eating the stinkiest cheese she can find. You can also find her on Twitter @MorganHWrites or Instagram @MorganHillWriter

If you enjoyed reading, “25 Things Your Teen Son Probably Isn’t Telling You,” here are a few other posts you might like!

10 Ultimate Truths About Parenting Teen Boys

12 Best Books for Teen Boys: Tips to Navigate the Twists and Turns of Life as a Teenager

We’d love to hear from you! What are some things your teen son isn’t telling you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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