My son is in his early teens and it has been a challenge much like every other stage in his growth. No more infant sleepless nights, no more toddler tantrums or potty training or tween rage, but now this. Now he’s at an age where he’s starting to be more mature but yet he’s still a kid mostly. I miss the cute little kid he used to be but am enjoying this new young man. Now, we can talk about so many things. He knows what’s going on in the world and is more aware of people’s feelings too. We can watch more than just cartoons together and bond over our love for superheroes. He can help his little brother with homework or stick up for him at school. He can open a tight jar for me and reach the higher shelves. I watch him hang out with his buddies as they joke around and roast each other. He’s happy and it makes me smile.
There are times it isn’t so much fun or as easy to connect too. He still just wants fun and is not happy about chores and responsibilities. He gets angry and irrational and we have big arguments. He fights with his brother and wants everything his way. He’s also at an age where school is getting harder and more stressful and social interactions are more complex. I don’t always know what is going on in his head.
I keep trying though… not to be his friend, but a parent he can talk to and learn from. He still needs structure and guidance and most of all love. Some days that is not easy at all and I get worried that I’m losing the closeness we’ve always had. Other days, he cuddles with me on the sofa and shares stories of school or jokes from social media. It’s not always easy to get a boy to talk and share and even harder with a teen but I keep trying. I guess trying and being available is key. I’ve also realized that I need to show interest in the things he likes. Sharing fun activities with him leads to conversation or just good memories. I’m not athletic at all but I still go shoot hoops or play ping-pong for this reason. He teases me for my skills but still keeps asking me to play so I guess it’s a good sign. One day I will master the art of raising a teen boy and when that day comes…he will have moved on to young adulthood!