This month, our oldest son graduates from 8th grade which means he’s headed to high school lickety-split. The transition from middle school to high school is a game changer.
While he certainly has bigger challenges ahead of him, right now our teenager is increasingly aware of his appearance. He went from couldn’t care less to self-conscious almost overnight. His awareness of girls and the desire to play high school football motivate this new emphasis on grooming and physical stature.

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Boys hit puberty at different rates. As they head into high school, many boys outweigh their mamas and some are taller than their fathers. Voices are dropping right and left and chubby, youthful faces are morphing into more mature visages.

In our house, physical appearance challenges can be narrowed down to the teenage boy triple whammy—shaving, braces, and muscles.

Tips for Teenagers on Shaving, Braces, and Muscles


Shaving is a rite of passage. However, talking about facial hair, shaving, and basic grooming can be awkward for your teenage son.

  • Don’t turn a “first shave” into a “first baby steps” moment. We failed at this. Making a video of your son’s first shave for future rehearsal dinner material will not go over well with your teenager. Trust me on this one.
  • Help keep his medicine cabinet and gym bag stocked. Make sure all your son’s grooming needs are in full supply and accessible. If it’s not in plain sight, my son won’t use it so, I help by making sure items like shaving cream, a clean razor, hair gel, deodorant, and, yes, toothpaste are all within arms reach.


Despite the fact that most teens spend time in braces, they feel as if they are the only brace-face that ever lived. Closed-mouth smiles, larger mouth guards for sports, and the annoying broken bracket syndrome are all side effects of wearing braces. Our biggest challenge is keeping a growing teenage boy with braces fed. We’ve upped our game by getting creative in the kitchen and adding a variety of whole food snacks that are soft and healthy.

Our favorite “Braces Friendly” recipes:


For teenage boys who still haven’t had the inevitable growth spurt, telling them it’s coming will fall on deaf ears. While I would love to have the problem of being too skinny, for a teenage boy it’s an epic discouragement. We encourage healthy ways to beef up his muscles by providing balanced snacks and meals with lots of good protein.

Our son’s favorite protein packed meals:

What advice do you have to offer on guiding our sons through these teenage years?