Teenage Boys Are Bored

Teenage boys are bored . . .

This may surprise you. After all, he probably has all kinds of entertainment devices.

iPod’s, Game Boy’s, Play Stations, X-Box, television, computers, not to mention there are probably a few things he could around the house.

However, consider the evidence: have you ever heard a teenage boy say he’s bored? He’s telling you the truth. Boys are not designed to be entertained 24/7. No one is. The entertainment industry would like people to be entertained, but we are not biologically designed to be entertained all the time.

Boys are designed to grow, develop, learn, change: to become who they are. Entertainment simply occupies their attention.

So, I’m going to explain this further.

First of all, they’re bored with school. This is no indictment of school or criticism of my colleagues in education. I have true respect for teachers, I use to be one, my daughter is one. I love the profession dearly.

I am describing that by the time is 12 - 13 - certainly 14 years old, he’s been in school for a number of years and has the physical routine down. He’s got it! Since first grade, he’s been coming in, sitting at a desk, doing paperwork, doing assignments out of a book, raising his hand, being called on when he’s called on etc. Essentially, nothing has changed in that routine right into middle school. The fact is, he’s got it down, there is nothing new for him to develop and he’s bored with it.

Even though the academic work is more challenging, the fact is, developmentally his body/mind is ready for something different, but, physically, nothing different happens. So he’s bored.

The only time he’s not is when he finds the subject and/or the teacher genuinely interesting to him. Otherwise, he’s bored.

Next, teenage boys are bored with their families. Why? Basically for the same reason. By time he’s 12 -13 -14 he’s been around since birth and he’s figured out all the wherefores and whys, the personalities, the patterns, the way the family operates. He’s figured out the who, the what, the when, the where, the how of everyone’s thing: what you do. Since it happens regularly, he goes “this is kind of boring” and what he does with that is create various forms of chaos. Why? Partially because it is entertaining and mostly because he hates being bored.

I always ask grown ups when I’m presenting to them: “do you like to be bored?” Well, they don’t like being bored too. Just like the boys.

Finally, he’s bored in the community. No surprise. He’s bored for the same reasons. He’s 12 - 13 - 14 years old, for sure by that time, and he knows the streets, he knows the neighborhoods, he knows the shops, he knows the people, he knows the community. The routine is the same routine draining the interest & pleasure out of him leaving him bored. That is why you may find him not doing activities he always use to do and/or changing friends. You may hear him say, repeatedly, “there’s nothing to do.”

Also, more often than not, communities are not offering him the kinds of challenges and opportunities that fit his growth and development.

Same streets, same locations, same activities, same people all doing the same stuff, which for him . . . is boring.

©2012 Ted Braude

Related: Issues, Books

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Youth is wholly experimental. - Robert Louis Stevenson


Ted Braude is an expert on boys: known as “the dragon tamer” and the “boy whisperer.” A mentor, a martial artist, a musician, a writer and a counselor, he brings boys into young manhood. No small feat. He serves their interests, goals and desires, helping them become who they want to be. He’s kind of a “dream wizard.” As a mentor/counselor, he’s served boys in their quest for manhood for 30 years. As a martial artist, he is a second degree black belt in the Japanese martial art Aikido, training with the internationally known Ki master Katsumi Niikura Sensei. As a musician, he has been a professional and amateur multi-instrumentalist and singer since he was six years old. As a writer, he is a former columnist for The Detroit Free Press and The Daily Tribune newspapers and a host of journals & publications. He is the local point man for Boys to Men Mentoring Network in Michigan, a remarkable program that joins boys and men together in a community bringing the boys into young manhood and he is the Director of the BoysWork Project. Royal Oak, Michigan. Contact Ted at E-Mail or or 586-825-6483. An audio version of this column is available at

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