My son just turned 14 a few days ago. I was not sure he would reach this tender age in one piece, since teenitis & hormones, as well as some genetic traits, have turned my sweet pumpkin baby into a wild/furious/outrageous/smartass/compassionate/sweet mess.
It is like living with a version of Jekyll & Hyde. One minute, my son is articulate, sweet, intelligent, compassionate…..and the next…..a totally outrageous smartass. If you are shaking your head right now, saying “How can you call your son a smartass, you horrible mom??” I suggest you push the delete button and do not read on. It gets worse.
How can two children, raised by the same parents, in the same environment, be so phenomenally different? I do get the “boy” energy thing. I remember vividly being told: “You have a boy now, things are going to very different!”. Naive, unwise Heike thought she knew it all better. “I am going to raise him the same way, all will be well!”
First of all, who could have foretold that my angelic boy would inherit all my crazy traits? MY crazy traits. The things that drive me nuts about him the most are when the “Little Heike” steps forward. I did not realize this until my own mother pointed it out to me one day. “Who does that remind you of?” I really had to step back and realize that this was the truth. This realization helps me deal with the situation in much calmer & organized fashion. Plus, he can no longer push my buttons, because I sit there going “Isn’t that cute, I tried the EXACT SAME THING when I was 14!!”.
Please, if you are video game proponent, or fanantic, don’t email me about the next thought. I will not change my mind.
Video games are screwing with his cells.
Honestly, I can see & understand the lure of video games. I am an Atari child, and how many hours did we spend pinging the pong back & forth? Pac Man & Mario Brothers were the bomb in my day. Unfortunately, video games now are so much more realistic, and they are like crack for my boy. I feel they make him agitated & angry.
My remedy is a spontaneous romp in nature. I disconnect him, pack him and the dog in the car, and we drive to one of favorite “run wild” spots. Here, he and the dog, will run off leash & crazy. Or, we go the river, take the long way down, and sit and make rock towers. I see an immediate change in my son’s demeanor. His whole body changes, and I can just feel his spirit glow. The exhaustion from running with his dog and being outside just makes the world a better place.
What I have learned while being allowed to raise this beautiful, complicated human:
- Don’t fight an outburst with an outburst.
- A boy can turn anything into a gun, so go ahead and let him play with NERF guns, and take him with you shooting, since you can never be too safe about real gun handling. Especially since all his friends seem to have BB guns & Pellet rifles. He will shoot them, make sure he is the safest kid on the block.
- 14 yr olds still need their Mama.
- Alaska State Troopers is an excellent favorite show to have with your son. The troopers are fantastic, and a boy can look up to them. Plus, Alaska State Troopers have to have a clean record. Come at my boy with drugs or alcohol, and he might just call his Mama on you. Also, he has learned more about the law than I could have ever dreamed, and he will never let a friend ride in his car with drugs or alcohol “because the driver always gets in trouble”. Thank you, Super Trooper Cooper!
- 12 to 14 year olds are constantly switching between the world of “little boy” and “young man”. Don’t make them grow up to fast, honor the child when it needs to come out.
- Find the things that make their spirit dance, and make them happen. Sometimes, you have push someone into their happy zone. Once they are there, you can step away and let magic happen. I encourage cooking and baking, watercolors, building Lego things, felting. Pretty much anything that does not include a screen or guns.
- Praise the good things! Point out the bad. I don’t believe in sugar coating bad behaviour. If he acts like a butt, let him know that that behaviour disappoints you.
- Never go back on your word. Never. Even if it means you have to pull through on a punishment you blurted out in anger (this is why I have learned never to counter an outburst with an outburst.). Step away, get your brain together, and then talk consequences. Strong Mamas make good young men :).
- Love him!!
Most of all, enjoy your boy. The same goes for girls, of course, but my girl is her own story, and she gets her own post :).