You may think high school boys don’t worry about many things but let me tell you a secret. They do, and what worries them may surprise you!
By Laura Richards
As a mom of four boys including twin 16-year-olds, I’m around a LOT of high schoolers. They are either hanging out at my house, or I’m shuttling them around in the car (although one son is about to get his driver’s license!)
Granted, there’s a fair share of noise and goofing, but there is also a depth to these young men that has surprised me. This is what high school boys are worried about:
5 High School Worries
1) They Care About Their Appearance…Especially Hair.
This was a shocker for me. As my boys crept through elementary and into middle and high school, I noticed a definite shift in the appearance department. Instead of throwing on any old thing, they took great care in their wardrobe choices. I expected them not to bother, but it turns out they worried about appearance even more than some of the girls I knew! As one mom put it, her high school daughter got her hair done maybe once a year, but her son had an ongoing obsession and worried about it looking just right. She said she thought her daughter would drive her crazy over clothes and hair, but her son was the culprit!
One of my sons went through a man bun stage, and even though they have a friend who cuts hair, it’s almost impossible to get an appointment due to all the high school boys he’s scheduling. A mom friend said her teen son once had her pull their car over so he could unbuckle his seat belt and check his hair in the rear-view mirror before he got out for school — and that his bathroom looks like a hair salon because of his hair products.
2) Politics and World Events.
Many people believe high school boys are oblivious to important issues or only care about sports. This is untrue, as many of these young men care greatly about what happens on the the political and world stage.I’ve noticed my high schoolers hanging out on the couch as my husband and I watch our nightly news shows. It was very important to them to preregister to vote and they can’t wait to officially participate in their first presidential election in a couple of years. I’ve heard them talking with their friends about political issues and their views and ideas and fears of what the future holds. They know what happens now impacts their futures, and it’s a definite concern.
3) Parental Communication with Teachers or (Gasp!) the Principal.
A mom friend recently told me that her high school son worries that if he shares anything that is going on at school or with his teachers that she’ll call and say something. He’s also mortified that she regularly speaks to the principal because they know each other socially. My boys also massively worry about me reaching out to their teachers to the point of panic.
High school guys are maturing and part of that process is not having mom or dad mingling too much into their affairs. Think of your boss emailing or chatting with your mom or dad. Sometimes communication is necessary but it’s something they do worry about.
4) Having Friends.
Fitting in and having a social life is still a real concern in high school. Being accepted is a frequent worry of high school boys especially when friends drop them for other friends or leave them out of a group. High school is often a time where friendships develop further over shared interests and activities, and many of these friendships last well into adulthood. But the fear of rejection and not fitting in persists with many high school boys even though it seems like girls might be more worried about the social aspect of friends and popularity. Boys care deeply and worry about this too.
5) Doing Well in School.
Passing classes and getting where they want to go in life is a big concern of young men. Even though they may have the outward attitude of it doesn’t matter, it really does.
Grades become more critical with every year of high school, and for many, achieving a certain GPA determines if they can stay on a team or participate in extracurricular activities.
There are also outward pressures from family and peers, so the worry is pronounced for our high school sons to succeed in grades and academics.
Laura Richards is a writer, journalist, and mother of four. She resides in the Boston area and has written for many outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe Magazine, Redbook, House Beautiful, Martha Stewart Living, and is a frequent Your Teen contributor.