attractive young teenage couple happily taking selfie, suggesting healthy relationships

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Spoiler Alert: As the mom of both a tween boy and a teen boy, I know that it’s my responsibility to teach my boys about healthy relationships. This includes friendships, crushes, as well as potential romantic or sexual relationships. In today’s world, humans don’t learn how to have healthy relationships with one another without intentionally making an effort to do so. I seize every opportunity to talk about these things with my boys – but Valentine’s Day gives me a special opportunity.

two images of a young teenage couple - one they are taking a selfie and in the other they are holding hands across a table at an outdoor cafe - suggesting the concept of healthy relationships

The mother and son relationship can be tough terrain to navigate during the young teen years. But given the current state of things, we have to teach all of our kids about healthy relationships. 

Boys. They are the best and I love being a boy mom – but with that great privilege comes the responsibility of raising boys who grow up to become gentlemen. While they are still young, we have to model happy, respectful, and healthy relationships.

Valentine’s Day provides a perfect opportunity to teach your tween and teen boys about healthy relationships and love!

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young teen couple walking through a city with their arms around one another - suggesting the concept of healthy relationships for teens

Valentine’s With My Sons – The Basket

Each year, I put together a beautiful Valentine’s basket for each of my sons. I hope the boys see that the baskets literally overflow with my love; fun things to eat; lots to play with; and always a special gift of my time. I try hard to put it together beautifully (think Pinterest mom…) so that the boys each have something special and beautiful to look forward to.

“Boy Baskets” I’ve Used In Past Years

Why To Teach Your Young Teen About Healthy Relationships

This is so hard for me to write. But, the truth is, we must teach our sons as much as we possibly can so that they are prepared for and deeply understand, respect, and protect all women as they grow into men.

The opposite is true as well, we must show them their worth and help them begin to put in place boundries to make sure that they are treated well and only maintain healthy relationships.

This became so clear to me with the conviction of a young man, Brock Turner, for felony sexual assault. It is simply no longer enough to raise “good kids.” We must affirmatively and intentionally raise boys and girls who fully understand what behavior is and is not healthy in a relationship.

This video is a great place to start!

How To Teach Your Young Teen About Healthy Relationships

Researchers know that sons need to develop strong attachments to their mothers. And the term “mama’s boy?” Well. Let’s stop using that toxic term as a pejorative.

[C]onsider what a wonderful gift you gave your son by making him a “mama’s boy.” From his infancy, your close bonding informed him about the world, encouraging his emotional IQ, and by creating and modeling intimacy, you taught him how to recognize and articulate his feelings, while attuning to those of others. By making your son emotionally strong, you gave him the capacity to avoid risky adolescent behavior and the influence of peer pressure. And, your strong-mother son relationship, helped him to resist tough masculine stereotypes. As a result, instead of fighting and acting macho to prove his masculinity, your son kept the door opened for skilled communication and connection with others… in all situations, whether social or work. And because of you, he has better friendships and more intimate relationships, guaranteeing which can help lead him towards a happy and healthy life.

All young teens learn how to be in a romantic relationship, what to expect from a future partner, and how to respect women from watching their moms. So you need to show your sons (and daughters!) what you want them to emulate from your adult relationship as well.

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Healthy Relationships Are Also About Knowing Your Worth

Little boys love to feel special – especially in their mama’s eyes. Being their “Valentine” is a perfectly sweet and fun way to show them how special they are to you. And there are so many ways that you can do this. As I mentioned, I prepare a basket with silly toys, candy treats, and a gift of my time.

It’s really important that the basket also always includes some sort of special gift of time with me. Maybe a “gift certificate” or a “coupon book.” The time with me is always their favorite – although the candy probably runs a close second wins 🙂

Teaching young teens about healthy relationships means that each Valentine gets his own special time with just me. When  you have more than one child it’s really important to give each his own time. So each will get their own Valentine’s date.

an attractive young teenage couple walking through town hand in hand, suggesting the concept of healthy relationships

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And not only do little boys love to feel special, I confess that I do love Valentine’s Day for giving me an excuse to shower them with many extra “I love you-s!” You can do whatever you want to show your son that you feel he’s special: take him out to lunch, to a special park or indoor play facility, check out Pinterest and make a card for him, do an art project with him, make something special for dinner, put a special note in his lunchbox – the possibilities are endless!

In addition to giving your time, here are some great ideas of goodies to include in a gift basket if that sounds like a good fit for you! (I always make sure that the basket itself is something they can use later as well.)

Fun Valentine’s Basket Items

It doesn’t have to cost anything at all – a gift of time with your son or something special that shows them how important it was to you to create something beautiful for them.

You Can Write a Valentine to Your Son

I see so many beautifully written love letters from mothers to sons – and I feel like I could copy and give each one of them to my boys. But I’m horrible at writing them! I’m great at telling them how I feel – but somehow when I try to distill those emotions into words and then down onto paper – and it all just feels like it falls flat!

Help With Love Letters

One of the blogs that I love to read is Wonderoak. My friend Jess is a mother of four – two boys and two girls. She writes so beautifully and deeply from  her heart about her wonder in the face of these amazing humans that she’s privileged to call her children.

Her love letter, Dear Son, You’ll Always Be My Little Boy. will bring tears – yep, go grab those tissues! Her entire site feels like a beautifully written, reality-filled love letter to life itself!

Don’t neglect your significant other this Valentine’s Day – but moms make your sons feel like they are your special Valentine too. It’s worth it!

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