HELP! What Happened to My Sweet Baby Boy?
He turned 13.
I catch a glimpse of that sweet little boy. And I remember when:
He looked up at me, knowing I had all the answers.
Now he rolls his eyes.
We put our noses, together, in a book.
Now his nose is in his phone.
He thought I was as cool as they come.
Now the coolest thing in our house is the freezer.
I’m reading a great book — an insightful book that puts these things in perspective.
It’s called The Blessing of a B Minus, written by Wendy Mogel, Ph.D. She also wrote The Blessing of a Skinned Knee. I get the blessing of the skinned knee. The kids have to fall, skin their knee, and know that we are not too far away. But a B Minus? Really? Same goes, she asserts, with the B Minus. We need to let them “earn” the B Minus, fall a little, and know that we are not too far away. Not as easy as the skinned knee. There’s a little more at stake, isn’t there? Or maybe there isn’t, she challenges us, in the grand scheme of preparing these kids for “life.”
She also leads us to see that these surly, barely tolerable behaviors of our teens are normal and a sign of their growth as they begin to experience some independence, albeit in their own clumsy, inexperienced manner. She’s not suggesting that we tolerate the rolling of the eyes, the mumbling under the breath, the rudeness, but we acknowledge it as developmentally normal and set our own guidelines for what we shall tolerate and what we shall not. And, of course, continue to role model those behaviors we desire to see in our kids.
Our teens are still watching us –- and taking it all in.
As we see these newly developing behaviors in our teens, we may wonder: Where did that come from? And what happened to my sweet little boy? He’s still in there. He’s just navigating his way through that rocky path of adolescence. Be there. Don’t tolerate. Set the path for the desired behavior. But understand it is normal. Normal, schnormal for those growing teens.
Speaking of normal schnormal, if your pre-pubescent boy is wondering what is normal for him as he grows, check out my book, Bork Reveals the Real Deal About the Facts of Life. He’ll find that lots of funky growing-up stuff is normal for him too.