Lessons From Teenage Boys

Recently we talked with a youth group about dating and sex. They ranged in age from 13 to 19, with the boys as a whole younger than the girls. After a bit of discussion with the whole group, we broke by gender, along with the couple who lead the group.

Group of teenage boys © olly | dollarphotoclub.com

Among the things the boys said, two stood out to me.

Her Personality Makes Her Ugly

This was volunteered by a young man. We were discussing what makes a girl attractive, and someone talked about the good looking girl who messes it up when she starts to talk and reveals who she is on the inside. Several of the other boys agreed with him that personality could make an otherwise great looking girl seem ugly.

Please understand these were teenage boys deep in the grip of testosterone and a decade from having a fully developed frontal lobe. Even in this place, they understand what’s on the inside is far more important than how the package looks. 

In the same way personality can make a beautiful woman ugly, it can make the plainest looking woman beautiful. 

Girls Manipulate

In an attempt to spur some discussion, I mentioned my dislike for giggling when I was dating. None of the guys there minded giggling, but one of them commented on how much he hated crying. Most of them felt girls cry to get their way, and one fellow said, “Girls manipulate.” That brought the biggest round of agreement of anything said that night.

I know not all crying is manipulative, and I explained that to the guys. But I do recall how common it is for teenage girls to try to get their way by various forms of manipulation. I understand why this is so; aside from usually working, some girls feel it’s the only way to get what they want. 

Just as most boys mature as they become men, most girls mature as they become women. Unfortunately, there are exceptions for both genders, and manipulation is a common tool used by women who haven’t matured as much emotionally as they have physically.

If teenage boys recognise manipulation, you can bet adult men know it when they see it. You can also bet they dislike it even more than the boys. Some accept it as inevitable, others live with it because they’re unwilling to do what they would need to do to give their wife a reason to change. Regardless, no man likes it, and it limits the couple’s marriage significantly.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I am SO GLAD I’m not a teenage boy!

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15 Comments on “Lessons From Teenage Boys

  1. Teenage boys manipulate, too. They flirt, tell little lies to get in her pants or bra, pull the devoted boyfriend one day/I never saw you before the next.

    As for the crying, I had to stop crying in front of my husband. I had to harden up or hide because he saw crying as manipulation and it would infuriate him. Nothing hurts more than just needing a hug and understanding and getting a fit of rage instead. I even tried not to cry when the doctor called to confirm my unborn baby had died.

    Yes, some girls are manipulative that way, but I think most guys just don’t want to deal with the negative sides of relationships. I hear it all the time! (Hubby works with a lot of young men). They find a girl, flirt their way into her pants, play her along for a while, but as soon as she starts acting like it is a relationship and needs a shoulder, a rescue, an ear, a pms session, he’s on to the next girl. These guys praise other guys if they find a permissive/submissive who has sex, makes him.sandwiches, and does whatever he wants whenever and never talks with him, or bothers him for anything.

    One thing I have learned about manipulation is that the bible says let your yeas be yeas and your nays be nays. Whatever, I don’t know, I don’t care, maybe, do what you want, and other passive/manipulative vocabulary ought not to be in mature Christian conversations.

    • @Libl – Of course boys do it too. Humans do it, and in general, it’s worse when we’re younger.
      I did try to explain tears to the boys. Sometimes it is manipulation, but often it’s not.
      I’m sorry your husband can’t deal with tears. That’s about him, not you, but it certainly hurts you.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…“Gimmicks”My Profile

  2. My husband used to get defensive when I cried. He probably saw it as manipulation or at least blaming him for whatever I felt upset about. Mostly I wasn’t blaming anyone, I just needed to cry. Over time, I learned to keep my true feelings from him.

    I’m sure some girls do as you say, Paul. I don’t remember ever consciously turning on the water works to get my way about anything. I do remember adolescence as a roller coaster of emotions though. I wonder if my need for tears then was anything like a boy’s need for sexual release.

    • @IntimacySeeker – I do understand adolescents is an emotional roller coaster for girls. I had a number of female friends in high school, and I got to see plenty of this. Because of that, I got fairly good at discerning manipulative tears from honest one’s. And, while my high school gf manipulated in plenty of ways, crying was not one of them.
      If a guy had a gf who used tears for manipulation I can understand how he could decide all female crying was the same.
      Crying can be a form of release, and sometimes it’s a very necessary thing. In that way it’s a lot like the need for sexual release. And both are driven in part by hormones, so yeah, I see some common ground there.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…“Gimmicks”My Profile

  3. Ditto to the 2 comments above! I think it is very important to teach boys that some girls are just more emotional, and that’s okay. Men need to understand how much it hurts to belittle their wife’s feelings, even if they do it unintentionally. It sets up something dangerous – women then feel as though they can’t be their honest, true selves with their husbands. And that’s not good for intimacy.

  4. Both genders manipulate.
    Infants cry when they are hungry, uncomfortable, or tired.
    It’s an instinct to help get their needs met. Most Mothers comply lovingly.

    Then at around two, temper tantrums become the age appropriate manipulation tool.

    At some point, boys learn that showing emotions is sissy and girls use crying to manipulate to get what they want. (I don’t ever remember using tears to manipulate. I do know they would well up out of pure frustration at times). Is that manipulation? Maybe.
    Boys develop an emotion phobia and get uncomfortable around emoting girls.

    About that same time boys get really well versed at badgering and pestering to get their way.
    Later in life, some men acquire the art form of sulking….usually with a specific female regarding a specific subject matter and usually after badgering quits working.

    Women recognize manipulation just as easily as men do.
    I don’t know anyone who appreciates being manipulated.

    One thing for sure, manipulation will continue as long as it keeps getting results.

    • @Jolie “One thing for sure, manipulation will continue as long as it keeps getting results.”

      Yup, that’s the bottom line. And the longer it works, the harder it is to stop when it no longer works.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…“Gimmicks”My Profile

  5. Wow, Paul. Looks like you hit a nerve with this post.
    Being a woman, albeit the “backwards”, higher drive woman, I do not cry often. I do not like when a friend cried during an argument to try to manipulate me. Crying shows weakness, and yes, I associate it with manipulation. I do not cry to get my way. I try not to cry at all. As a child I was taught not to cry and not to “act like a baby.”
    Intelligent conversation gets me much further than crying ever could. I have trust issues, especially with women, and am always suspicious of crying.
    Maybe I’m wrong, but I’d have to agree with the teenage boys on this one. I find women FAR more manipulative and even sneaky than men. Could be a result of my life experiences. Who knows.

    • Crying is not a form of weakness.

      Jesus wept.

      Remember that. It is an emotion our Creator gave us.

      I find men just as manipulative as women, and often more aggressively.

      • Yes, Jesus wept.
        I should have been more clear.
        I feel it is okay to cry if you are feeling significant physical pain, if you have lost a loved one or a friend (or are empathizing with someone who has), or if you are weeping over a lost soul. Those times are understandable.
        However, crying because you aren’t getting your way, you feel entitled to something, or you see you are losing an argument – that is either weakness or manipulation. My mother-in-law cried often when she wanted to get her way regarding any of our wedding plans. Being young and stupid, I gave in. Being raised in a home where everyone gave in to their mom for her outbursts, my husband gave in. That was extremely manipulative on her part, and just one example. I could give you hundreds.
        I agree we were all raised differently, and our experiences shape our views. I come from a family of very manipulative women (both sides). Granted, they are unsaved and at this point in my life I pray for their salvation and have learned how to deal with the outbursts. However, I think they are all too old to cry over nothing. It’s basically an adult temper tantrum.
        I have not found myself in situations where men are as manipulative as women. I am sorry if you have. But that’s what I meant about our experiences color our point of view.

    • @Me – Manipulation isn’t necessary for those who have power; it’s usually a tool employed by someone who sees themselves on the low end of the power dynamic. In our society that is all to often the women in a relationship.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…“Gimmicks”My Profile

  6. I would tell husbands that teaching your wives to not cry honesty tears by a negative reaction or assuming manipulation is far, far worse. You are laying down every brick of a wall of isolationism and teaching her, “If you need help and comfort, don’t come to me.”

    She isn’t going to stop needing help and comfort. She will simply stop turning to you.

    Just who then will she turn to?

    Plenty of women have become involved with other men for no other reason. The old saying, “He was her shoulder to cry on.” exists for a reason. Many men have learned that it’s the best way to manipulate hurting women into bed with them. Some husbands almost send their wives into the arms of other men by refusing to protect them by being a true comforter, best friend and help.

  7. I Peter 3:7 says that husbands are to dwell with their wives “according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel . . . .” I would suggest two things: (1) give her the benefit of the doubt as often as possible; but ladies, men often do recognize manipulation. (2) know your wife as well as you can so that you avoid hard problems when tears are genuine. Hey man, women do cry, and you wanted a woman.

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