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#51 SparklyUnicorn

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 11:37 AM

Huh. My boys don't like to do anything physical. Maybe it'll kick in later. Right now if I try to suggest anything active, they groan and don't want to do it, no matter what it is.

Then again, both my dh and I have always been that way, too. We've never been particularly active, even as teens. I guess it's normal for our family.

 

Same here.

 

I go to a gym, but I hate every second of it and only do it because I'm old and feel forced.  :lol:



#52 HeWillSoar

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 11:46 AM

I have three!  They are all so different from each other.  One is neat and tidy, room is always clean and he's always showered and wants regular haircuts.  The other is the biggest mess, his room is a disaster (When I run out of dishes, I know where to look!!! I should have never started allowing food in their rooms!) and he hasn't had a haircut in a year.  The other is somewhere in the middle.  Two of them really don't like talking and they are very private.  I hate that!  I want them to tell me things!!!  The youngest sometimes won't stop talking!!  One is very moody--the other two are not. One is very academic(dislikes sports), one is into sports (dislikes academics), the other likes weight lifting and dislikes sports and academics.  They all love video games!  Yes to eating all day long!

 

I think the best advice was given above to just try to keep the relationship intact.  I'm starting to really see a change with my oldest son's attitude and he won't admit it but he actually likes spending time with us.  He came home from work and sat in the kitchen for an hour just talking to us.  That would never have happened a year ago! 


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#53 Pen

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 12:03 PM

Thank you, Nan. This was really helpful!

 

 

Mine I think does have trouble thinking before acting and thinking through likely consequences including how bad something is likely to be if goes wrong and how likely to go wrong.  And he is more likely to get into difficulties from thinking he knows how to do something he does not actually know, or from trying to show off for someone else, not so much anger or state of the world issues.  

 

How do you decide when teen is ready to handle a chainsaw etc.? Mine has already done that--did it on his own without my knowing. And thankfully nothing bad did happen.  How do you move something like chainsaw use out of the "super bad if it goes wrong" category? 

 

I think the parts about growing up and anxiety explains some things too. A few years ago ds could not wait to be driving. Now he is old enough to get learner permit, take driver-ed etc., but does not want to.  I thought it came from having had a little bump against a tree while practicing on driveway, but seen as anxiety about growing up, it makes even more sense. 

 

You wrote, "We found we had to break being a grownup into small parts and separate them out from each other in order to keep anxiety down.  Going to college does not equal moving out forever.  Graduating from college does not equal moving out forever.  Mine would have ensured that they never grew up if we hadn't.  As I said in an earlier post, this meant that we had to make being grown up seem like a more-fun-than-school, staying-in-your-clan, being-helped-by-your-clan, contributing-to-your-clan, clan-is-forever thing rather than a you-take-care-of-yourself-all-by-yourself, you-know-how-to-do-all-adult-tasks, see-you-around-some-time, don't-forget-to-call-me-on-mother's-day thing."

 

How did you go about breaking down those parts?  And conveying the continued clan membership idea?

 

 

 

The whole part about carrying groceries at 5 being special but as a teen it needing to be a man thing totally resonates.

 

 

We had a power outage during winter without prepared fire wood ready, and ds did excellently at supplying wood with an axe etc., which is a total fit with what you say about a "man job" and emergency real need.

 

The possibly breaking ribs with a hug issue has also been a big problem here that I am working on.

 

I had three.  Keeping mine alive was a challenge.  Their hearts were in the right place, and their morals, and they didn't have much trouble thinking straight or thinking before acting, but they were deeply angry about the state of the world, which produced some behavior which looked less than moral at times.

 

They didn't have much trouble thinking straight or thinking before acting, but they were overly optimistic about the outcome of some of the things they did. We talked a lot about risk management:

 

Super bad if it goes wrong + likely to go wrong = don't do it

Super bad if it goes wrong + very unlikely to go wrong = don't do it

Not too bad if it goes wrong + might very well go wrong = do it with caution if you are willing to live with the consequences

Not too bad if it goes wrong + unlikely to go wrong = do it

 

They had immature self discipline.  This meant that to carry out a long-term plan, like completing a class, they often needed to borrow mine.  This also meant that sometimes they were overcome by the temptation of doing something fun that they knew was a bad idea.

 

Mine needed vast amounts of hard excersize in order to focus on school work and keep themselves from crawling out of their skin (their words).  Like 4 hours of gymnastics most days.

 

They had a deep need to be trained how to do adult things, preferably the things men usually do in our family rather than women (we cross over fine, just find traditional roles convenient), preferably by other adult men, not their mother.  They also had a deep need for me and other members of the family (both male and female) to let them do those things for us. I am tiny and busy. This was very useful, as Dad got busier with his business and Grampa got older, but (big but) it required that they be trained to do things and this was the most tricky bit - I had to remember to call on them to do them rather than call on my husband or father to do them.  They couldn't be the little things, either.  Carrying in the groceries was a thrill when they were 5 but they know that I can do that myself, although it takes me longer.  They needed to do things like take the chainsaw and cut up the big branch that was blocking our way out of the driveway, or build me a shelf, or figure out why the toaster oven isn't working, or drive to the store to pick up much needed medicine.  They couldn't be made up things, either.  I had to really need them.  If some sort of emergency was involved, so much the better.

 

Mine were snuggly little boys.  I had to find an acceptably adult way to continue to provide the much needed body contact.  Quick hugs didn't quite do it.  Shoulder rubs and sitting shoulder to shoulder sharing a textbook on the sofa worked.  So did horsing around in the water or on a swing.

 

Although they were encouraged to do laundry and cook and clean, I told them that it was my job and I wasn't upset by having to pick up dead socks from the bathroom floor.  Somehow, this seemed to help them to get their dead socks into the laundry basket themselves.  I think maybe because moving the socks was something they were doing to help me, rather than something they were doing for themselves.  It seemed both more and less optional that way.

 

I tried really hard to respect them and to show respect for them, the way I would for any other adult member of our clan.  If I wouldn't say it to another adult, I tried not to say it to them.  (We aren't one of those blunt families.)  Saving face was really important.  Part of that respect was being tactful.  Part of that respect was being honest.  Part of it was taking their concerns seriously.  If they asked if I had windshield wiper fluid in the car before a long trip, I didn't say of course - I am not stupid - I have been doing this a long time.  Instead,  I said good thought - I will check.

 

We found we had to break being a grownup into small parts and separate them out from each other in order to keep anxiety down.  Going to college does not equal moving out forever.  Graduating from college does not equal moving out forever.  Mine would have ensured that they never grew up if we hadn't.  As I said in an earlier post, this meant that we had to make being grown up seem like a more-fun-than-school, staying-in-your-clan, being-helped-by-your-clan, contributing-to-your-clan, clan-is-forever thing rather than a you-take-care-of-yourself-all-by-yourself, you-know-how-to-do-all-adult-tasks, see-you-around-some-time, don't-forget-to-call-me-on-mother's-day thing.

 

Their bodies are theirs.  You can suggest sunscreen.  You can suggest that they be at a certain place at a certain time.  But the awful truth is that you can't make them.  You either have to bribe them to do what you want, or they have to do it because they realize that it is in their own best interest, or they have to do it out of love.  Love is by far the easiest way to go about doing that.  That means you have to be worthy of love.  Which means you can't lie.  You can't lie about your own actions and motivations.  You can't lie about other people.  You can't lie about the state of the world.  This is hard to do.  Really hard to do.  They are wired to spend these years testing your words and actions against their own experience.  They see inconsistencies.  They see them in other people, too, and you have to try to explain but not condone or excuse.  Or you have to agree that whatever it is is wrong.   And it isn't a mutual thing.  They can and almost certainly will lie.  You can't or you will start to lose them.

 

Family meetings are good.  Hard sometimes but good.

 

We tried to find things that we could do together for fun as an adult family.  That way, staying together as adults will be fun.  It hurts when they outgrow things that you thought were fun, but I think it is important to try to find new things, since this is a new person you have here.

 

There have to be good times as well as the bad.  I was reduced to trying to have two good or at least neutral encounters for every bad one, during the worst times.

 

Mine were great backseat drivers.  Eventually, I figured out that they were practising driving in a super safe way and I moved them to the front seat and let them direct me.  "Don't forget to put your turn signal on here."  What wonderful practice!  This applied to other things, too.  Most of those seemingly know-it-all comments were practice.  They have to do it out loud in order to get your input.  I tried to make corrections tactful and say thank you if they were right.

 

At some point, I had to explain that I was no longer indestructible.  In fact, I was very fragile and they could break my ribs hugging me.

 

I was super glad that I hadn't ever let them fight physically with each other or me, even in fun.  Teenage boy anger is an awesome thing to behold.  When mine were overcome by it, I was super glad that I could count on them not hurting me or each other.  Mine were high strung enough to be scary sometimes.

 

They also were high strung enough that we had to consciously and openly teach coping techniques for being scared about something.  And we had to talk about our own struggles with that.  The benefit of that was that they were really comforting when I was worried about something.  They always had tried, but as teenagers, they were really effective and it was marvelous.  The amount of support I got from them!

 

I liked Regentrude's list.

 

Nan

 



#54 Laura Corin

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 12:11 PM

Teenage boys are brilliant.  I find it incredibly touching watching them shrug off childhood only to don it again, then shrug it off more firmly.  

 

When I go to concerts at the school, I sometimes have tears in my eyes seeing these boys, whom I've know for years, stepping out as men.


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#55 Julie Smith

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 12:21 PM

Eldest turns 13 tomorrow.
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#56 Pen

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 12:37 PM

Mine is the super physical type--probably would be happy with 7 hours per day of hard running, hiking, skating, etc..  He is exhausting our quite athletic dog with long hikes.  I am concerned about having a dog that is too high energy for me, but a Weimeraner or Pointer or some such that is even more go-go-go may be better for ds for next dog. Ds always has been a physical type kid, but it has increased with teens.

 

He eats relatively little it seems to me, though, compared to most teen boys I've been aware of and particularly given his energy expenditure. 

 

 

Same here.

 

I go to a gym, but I hate every second of it and only do it because I'm old and feel forced.  :lol:

 

 

Huh. My boys don't like to do anything physical. Maybe it'll kick in later. Right now if I try to suggest anything active, they groan and don't want to do it, no matter what it is.

Then again, both my dh and I have always been that way, too. We've never been particularly active, even as teens. I guess it's normal for our family.



#57 Garga

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 01:14 PM

More specifics would be appreciated! Gentle jokes examples especially.

 

I've also noticed that very few words work better than more (sort of in a "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen" approach). And what feels terse in an unfriendly way to me, seems right to my ds teen. What to me seems like a reasonable explanation, to him sounds like a lecture.  Also the word "please" which to me sounds polite, to him seems like something else--though I've not figured out what exactly.

 

Examples of gentle jokes.  I've been trying to think of something.  Urgh.  It's hard to think of an example.  I guess...anytime you can make a silly comment instead of a serious comment, do so.  

 

I just thought of a way to explain it:  I've been watching Gilmore Girls lately.  I'd say to be like Rory.  Lorelai goes a bit too far in her jokes, but Rory has a nice balance of being lighthearted without going too far.  


Edited by Garga, 18 May 2017 - 01:14 PM.

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#58 CES2005

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 01:55 PM

I'm up to four teen boys. They drive me mad and make me laugh so hard (sometimes at the same time).

Remember, they're trying to be men. Show them respect, and try not​ to treat them like the squishy faced little boys that you might still see when you look at them. Talk to them, listen to them, and try not to blow a gasket when they do something boneheaded.

 

But I'm so good at that...   :D


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#59 Alice

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 03:06 PM

Can I just say how much I appreciate these sorts of threads? I have a 13 yr old boy. I find that so much of the advice I hear in real life is geared towards how horrible teens are or of the "boys can't be close to their mothers after a certain age" variety. It's always nice to hear from people who have BTDT with teens and enjoyed it even for the hard parts. I could have liked almost every post in this thread.

So far, my son and I have a pretty good relationship. I think it helps that we are very much alike. We have the same sense of humor and both like to read. We're also both introverts so we are happy to go out for coffee or breakfast and both sit and read our own books. I also have always been a Mom that enjoys older kids rather than the baby/toddler phase. So for me parenting has gotten more and more fun as they get older.

Two activities we have been really involved with over the past 5 years are Scouts and Odyssey of the Mind. Both have helped train me on how to take more of a coach/mentor role rather than a dictorial role. Both are supposed to have the kid making decisions and it's helped me transition into making suggestions but letting my oldest make his own choices and to let him make what I think are the wrong choices. Sometimes (actually often) he is right and the times when he was wrong he learns the lesson much better than if I had told him what to do.
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#60 SparklyUnicorn

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 03:09 PM

Can I just say how much I appreciate these sorts of threads? I have a 13 yr old boy. I find that so much of the advice I hear in real life is geared towards how horrible teens are or of the "boys can't be close to their mothers after a certain age" variety. I

 

Absolute bogus.... 


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#61 soror

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 03:14 PM

Mine has the attention span of a gnat and eats like an elephant, but hugs me every day and tells me how much he loves me. :001_wub: He was the WORST baby and toddler on the planet, but he is the most awesome teen. 

 

DD, on the other hand, was the sweetest, calmest, easiest kid ever until she hit puberty. Now she's 15 ....  :scared:  :willy_nilly:  :svengo:

That is mine, he is turning 13 soon and is more snuggly now than he has been the last few years. He doesn't want more time with friends he wants more family time, usually, we both end up in the back chatting together. He has bonehead and jerk moments but mostly he is a pretty good kid, caring and compassionate, encouraging to others. Mine is closer to me than dh but he's not a "Mama's boys", we just spend so much time together with schooling, luckily dh is involved with scouting with him so they get some good quality time with that.

 

 

 

The girls though, oh vey, I've got 3 and I wonder how I will survive.


Edited by soror, 18 May 2017 - 03:16 PM.

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#62 scrapbookbuzz

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 03:15 PM

Following this thread because my youngest, a boy, will hit the teens in July!!!  :huh:  :crying:  :scared:

I'm not ready. The copious amounts of food has already started. I swear he's hungry five minutes (or less) after he's

had two heaping servings of whatever was for lunch/dinner!



#63 Garga

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 07:04 PM

Can I just say how much I appreciate these sorts of threads? I have a 13 yr old boy. I find that so much of the advice I hear in real life is geared towards how horrible teens are or of the "boys can't be close to their mothers after a certain age" variety. It's always nice to hear from people who have BTDT with teens and enjoyed it even for the hard parts. I could have liked almost every post in this thread.
So far, my son and I have a pretty good relationship. I think it helps that we are very much alike. We have the same sense of humor and both like to read. We're also both introverts so we are happy to go out for coffee or breakfast and both sit and read our own books. I also have always been a Mom that enjoys older kids rather than the baby/toddler phase. So for me parenting has gotten more and more fun as they get older.


This is my story, too. When he turned about 12, I realized that instead of feeling like, "I need to get out of this house before I go crazy!", I wanted to stay home to be with the kids. I richly enjoy the time I have with them. When they were little, it was so hard. But now, I love being around them both.


  

That is mine, he is turning 13 soon and is more snuggly now than he has been the last few years. He doesn't want more time with friends he wants more family time, usually, we both end up in the back chatting together. He has bonehead and jerk moments but mostly he is a pretty good kid, caring and compassionate, encouraging to others. Mine is closer to me than dh but he's not a "Mama's boys", we just spend so much time together with schooling, luckily dh is involved with scouting with him so they get some good quality time with that.
 
 
 
The girls though, oh vey, I've got 3 and I wonder how I will survive.


I don't have girls, but the boys both tell me how much they love me a few times a day. The younger one is still the more snuggly one, but the older one likes a hug before bed, and a sideways hug throughout the day. He was never the snuggly one, but he still is affectionate and we all get along very well. We like each other!
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#64 frogger

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 07:53 PM

Heck, My husband is still trying to shrug off childhood. :) well, maybe he isn't trying that hard.

But he is responsible when it counts. So if my boys follow his example they will do fine.

#65 creekland

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 08:44 PM

Can I just say how much I appreciate these sorts of threads? I have a 13 yr old boy. I find that so much of the advice I hear in real life is geared towards how horrible teens are or of the "boys can't be close to their mothers after a certain age" variety. It's always nice to hear from people who have BTDT with teens and enjoyed it even for the hard parts. I could have liked almost every post in this thread.

So far, my son and I have a pretty good relationship. I think it helps that we are very much alike. We have the same sense of humor and both like to read. We're also both introverts so we are happy to go out for coffee or breakfast and both sit and read our own books. I also have always been a Mom that enjoys older kids rather than the baby/toddler phase. So for me parenting has gotten more and more fun as they get older.

Two activities we have been really involved with over the past 5 years are Scouts and Odyssey of the Mind. Both have helped train me on how to take more of a coach/mentor role rather than a dictorial role. Both are supposed to have the kid making decisions and it's helped me transition into making suggestions but letting my oldest make his own choices and to let him make what I think are the wrong choices. Sometimes (actually often) he is right and the times when he was wrong he learns the lesson much better than if I had told him what to do.

 

Did you see the Mother's Day video two of my boys made for me?

 

http://forums.welltr...-day-gift-ever/

 

They aren't teens now - youngest is 21 - but we've always been close, even some times when our minds clashed in their teens.  Horror stories most definitely aren't always true - and sometimes you get even "better" than "they turned out alright" when they let you know what they appreciate - like time invested in them.

 

Stereotypes don't have to be true, even if there are "those times" we all have that hopefully get forgotten later rather than dwelt upon.

 

Oldest son was close when he was here.  He changed after leaving home (sigh).  We still talk, so not all is lost.  I just miss the closeness we once had.  My other two (the two who made the video) still happily share the highs and lows of their lives as they come.  We just picked youngest up at the airport today - heading to middle son's graduation this weekend.  The trip home (1 1/2 hours) was quite short since it was filled with more "catching up" and "future" stories.  Our trip to and from Rochester (6 hours) will fly by too.


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#66 Alice

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 09:13 PM

Did you see the Mother's Day video two of my boys made for me?

 

http://forums.welltr...-day-gift-ever/

 

They aren't teens now - youngest is 21 - but we've always been close, even some times when our minds clashed in their teens.  Horror stories most definitely aren't always true - and sometimes you get even "better" than "they turned out alright" when they let you know what they appreciate - like time invested in them.

 

Stereotypes don't have to be true, even if there are "those times" we all have that hopefully get forgotten later rather than dwelt upon.

 

Oldest son was close when he was here.  He changed after leaving home (sigh).  We still talk, so not all is lost.  I just miss the closeness we once had.  My other two (the two who made the video) still happily share the highs and lows of their lives as they come.  We just picked youngest up at the airport today - heading to middle son's graduation this weekend.  The trip home (1 1/2 hours) was quite short since it was filled with more "catching up" and "future" stories.  Our trip to and from Rochester (6 hours) will fly by too.

 

Super sweet. Thanks. I don't really worry about being close to my boys as they get older anymore than I worry about being close to my daughter. I hope we have great relationships as they grow into adulthood but I also realize that sometimes doesn't always happen. But I don't buy the idea that gender is the sole determining factor. I just hear that idea a lot in real life from people I know and it's nice to hear from people here who also don't buy it. 


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#67 frogger

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 09:30 PM

I remember being frustrated as a teen because just because I happened to be a teen I was supposed to be an awful conceited know it all. That sounds like a self-fulfilling prophecy if there ever was one. I mean how exasperating.

My daughter had an emotional stage where she would get upset at everything I said but seemed to love only her Dad but it only lasted a year or two. She and I get along better and better. I just had to keep reminding myself , "I'm the adult here. I need to be the example" "I'm the grown up here, I can handle this." I can't say I always pulled through with great responses but I must have did it often enough to let her know I'm trustworthy and love her because now I can say she is my friend. My son doesn't ask for independence but I shove him out there and tell him to make his own decisions and ask for help at times when I need it so he gets honest responsibility. Usually, I need his muscle although he is 6'4" so reaching things for me is a plus.

Edited by frogger, 18 May 2017 - 09:56 PM.


#68 Arcadia

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 09:49 PM

My older kid is 15. Moody is the word that comes to mind

My 12 year old has been moody and intense since he was born, nothing to do with being a teen. He is having a "no good very bad day" because he ran out of books to read at the library.

ETA:
Now he is less moody in the car going home and having eaten his share of Taco Bell's chicken nuggets that he didn't want to eat earlier.

ETA:
Still moody after reaching home. The repair crew at my condo complex has been drilling from 8am everyday this week so he hasn't been getting enough sleep. He usually wakes up near noontime.

Edited by Arcadia, 18 May 2017 - 11:10 PM.


#69 scoutingmom

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 11:48 PM

I have a 13yo teen. I really miss my 12yo boy.

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#70 Isabella

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:15 AM

Can I recommend an awesomely sensible book?
Raising boys, by Steve Biddulph. I haven't had boys but my daughter now has one and we are trying to prepare for what we expect to be an amazing journey!
Her husband, himself misunderstood as a teen/young adult, rates this book to be very 'spot on'.
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#71 Garga

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:53 AM

More specifics would be appreciated! Gentle jokes examples especially.

I've also noticed that very few words work better than more (sort of in a "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen" approach). And what feels terse in an unfriendly way to me, seems right to my ds teen. What to me seems like a reasonable explanation, to him sounds like a lecture. Also the word "please" which to me sounds polite, to him seems like something else--though I've not figured out what exactly.


Ok--so this just happened.

I'm in the kitchen and Ds14 is in the adjoining living room and we're about to get started with our day. He says,

DS: I'm almost ready, I just have to clip my nails.
ME: Not in the living room! Clip them in the bathroom.
DS: (long suffering sigh.). I know, Mom. (With patient disdain.)

Now...which way to go? Ignore the disdain? Tell him to cut out the disdain? What? I chose to recognize that he is smart enough to know to clip his nails in the bathroom and it was probably irritating to him to have me treat him like a little kid who doesn't know where to clip his nails. He didn't actually start clipping them in the livingroom. He wasn't even doing anything wrong and I was hassling him for nothing. So I said,

ME: Wait...come to think of it, clip them here in the kitchen. ... I'll make a casserole while you clip. (Inferring that we'll have nail clippings casserole.)

The mood lightens. He gives me a little grin. We don't have a deep conversation, but he knows I know he's not an idiot. There is no correcting or lectures or whatever. The day isn't soured before we even start. We just move on with the relationship intact.
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#72 Nan in Mass

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 11:16 AM

Ok--so this just happened.

I'm in the kitchen and Ds14 is in the adjoining living room and we're about to get started with our day. He says,

DS: I'm almost ready, I just have to clip my nails.
ME: Not in the living room! Clip them in the bathroom.
DS: (long suffering sigh.). I know, Mom. (With patient disdain.)

Now...which way to go? Ignore the disdain? Tell him to cut out the disdain? What? I chose to recognize that he is smart enough to know to clip his nails in the bathroom and it was probably irritating to him to have me treat him like a little kid who doesn't know where to clip his nails. He didn't actually start clipping them in the livingroom. He wasn't even doing anything wrong and I was hassling him for nothing. So I said,

ME: Wait...come to think of it, clip them here in the kitchen. ... I'll make a casserole while you clip. (Inferring that we'll have nail clippings casserole.)

The mood lightens. He gives me a little grin. We don't have a deep conversation, but he knows I know he's not an idiot. There is no correcting or lectures or whatever. The day isn't soured before we even start. We just move on with the relationship intact.


Great example. If I did it too, I said sorry and confessed and we moved on. If I did but it was a stupid idea, I explained why and said sorry. If I didn't do it, I threw up my hands and said sorry. The distain told me I was being stupid, often rightly accused sometimes wrongly. We never discussed distain. We got plenty of it at times, sometimes, but we ignored it. It mostly went away. Mostly I either apologized or explained why I didn't need to. It still happens.

Me to 26yo packing to go on his summer coop: Did you pack sunscreen?
Him: I've done this before Mum. I know to pack sunscreen (waving bottle he just grabbed from counter).
Me: I know but that one is just about empty. There is a new one in the bathroom.
Him: Oh. Sorry.
(At 26, the sarcasm only shows up when packing, which mine find super stressful. Fun, but stressful. )

Nan
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#73 Where's Toto?

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 11:30 AM

Ok--so this just happened.

I'm in the kitchen and Ds14 is in the adjoining living room and we're about to get started with our day. He says,

DS: I'm almost ready, I just have to clip my nails.
ME: Not in the living room! Clip them in the bathroom.
DS: (long suffering sigh.). I know, Mom. (With patient disdain.)

Now...which way to go? Ignore the disdain? Tell him to cut out the disdain? What? I chose to recognize that he is smart enough to know to clip his nails in the bathroom and it was probably irritating to him to have me treat him like a little kid who doesn't know where to clip his nails. He didn't actually start clipping them in the livingroom. He wasn't even doing anything wrong and I was hassling him for nothing. So I said,

ME: Wait...come to think of it, clip them here in the kitchen. ... I'll make a casserole while you clip. (Inferring that we'll have nail clippings casserole.)

The mood lightens. He gives me a little grin. We don't have a deep conversation, but he knows I know he's not an idiot. There is no correcting or lectures or whatever. The day isn't soured before we even start. We just move on with the relationship intact.

 

Sounds like you handled it great.   I haven't done the teen boy thing yet, but with oldest dd, I would occasionally ignore (or just give a look) for disdain, but not make a big issue otherwise.

Her dad basically destroyed any chance of a strong honest relationship with her due to his long belittling lectures on every.single.little. thing.


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#74 Garga

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 11:37 AM

Nm

Edited by Garga, 19 May 2017 - 11:38 AM.


#75 Nan in Mass

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 01:56 PM

I feel a bit stupid using red, but it will make answering easier. : )

 

Thank you, Nan. This was really helpful!

 

 

Mine I think does have trouble thinking before acting and thinking through likely consequences including how bad something is likely to be if goes wrong and how likely to go wrong.  And he is more likely to get into difficulties from thinking he knows how to do something he does not actually know, or from trying to show off for someone else, not so much anger or state of the world issues.  

 

Mine did stupid things showing off or not thinking sometimes, too.  I think it is minimized (with a few absolutely spectacularly horrifying exceptions) because we did a lot of things where a wrong move could kill them, like going sailing.  A wrong move can kill you at home, too, but home feels safer than a small sailboat, so I think they are more likely not to think.  Mine are naturally cautious.  All that helps, I think.  But they have smashed cars, fallen off roofs, had encounters with the police, been struck by lightening, ...  Some of those were a reasonable risk but some were just plain stupid.  There is a reason why I said keeping them alive was hard.

 

How do you decide when teen is ready to handle a chainsaw etc.? Mine has already done that--did it on his own without my knowing. And thankfully nothing bad did happen.  How do you move something like chainsaw use out of the "super bad if it goes wrong" category?

 

Hmm... We talked a lot?  There are stages for teaching a task:.  Each of these things happen for awhile, ideally.

 

New user is in the area while knowledgeable person (call them old but sometimes the ages are reversed) does something repeatedly

Old starts calling new's attention to a few basic dangers but new isn't really watching

New watches while old explains basics

New does (or does some parts) while old watches and directs and helps

New does alone while old watches and occasionally corrects and explains details

Old reminds new of the tricky bits and then doesn't watch but is within earshot and glances over to check occasionally

Old and new work nearby

Old reminds new of tricky bits then new goes off and does it out of sight

New does alone out of sight, just asking questions later

New becomes old and teaches somebody else

 

There is also the issue of how something feels to new when they are doing it:  This sometimes has no bearing on whether they actually CAN do the task safely.  This is really more of a circle than a list because little ones sometimes start at the ask for help part.

 

Too scared (and too young) to try

Willing to try but only with lots of help

Feeling very grownup doing it alone

Old enough that they feel sure they can do it alone with no problems

Old enough to know when to ask for help if they can't do something

 

The trick for my boys was to catch them at the right age.  Being allowed to have a pocket knife at 7 was such a thrill that my boys were willing to go through all the stages of supervision.  If we had given them pocket knives at 15, they probably would have been secretly using one for years and when we did, had no patience what so ever for those stages of learning.  We would have missed our opportunity to teach them to learn to use a pocket knife.  We found that if we gave them enough scary grown up tasks, they were more willing to wait to do the ones we really wanted them not to do, like use the chainsaw.  Coordinating the timing requires a lot of cooperation between the adults in the boy's life. I could sort of tell when mine needed a new scary or super adult thing to begin doing by their behavior and conversation, but I can't really tell you how.  Your child is probably different, anyway.  Generally, that starting age is a lot younger than you want it to be.  I remember asking a friend with older children when it was ok for them to go swimming by themselves, with no supervision.  She answered never but in our town, the end of 8th grade seemed to be when they did.    Another friend answered way younger than she liked (and then her son broke his arm badly getting it caught in the crotch of a tree when her son and mine were swinging off a rope swing into a stream in their middle teens alone in the woods, and from then on she sent a cell phone with them.  Things happen.  Raising boys requires a certain amount of luck.)  Part of the reason this works is because if you give them tasks that they aren't quite old enough to do competently, they have accidents.  You want them to cut themselves with their pocket knife (or watch someone else do it) so that have respect for the chain saw.  Those small accidents and near misses when they do things alone are HOPEFULLY what keep them from being stupid with a chainsaw later.  My boys will tell you this if you ask them, now that they are adults.  They are sooo grateful that we took this approach because they say they can feel that experience stopping them from doing some things now.

 

It isn't a hundred percent and it is a risk, but I think it is an acceptable risk.

 

You can go to far the other way - not supervising enough.  My mother-in-law raised 4 boys (and no girls).  She says she always said she'd rather have 3 men in the end than 4 boys.  I always supervised more than she did (which is why I know what she told herself grin).  I was trying hard NOT to have mine do some of the things I had heard about.  My husband has some wild stories and his brothers still do some wild things that I would hope mine have more sense to do, so I think my more supervised approach is a better idea.

 

The awful part of all this is that you have to find the right balance for the right person.  It is tricky. 

 

I think the parts about growing up and anxiety explains some things too. A few years ago ds could not wait to be driving. Now he is old enough to get learner permit, take driver-ed etc., but does not want to.  I thought it came from having had a little bump against a tree while practicing on driveway, but seen as anxiety about growing up, it makes even more sense. 

 

You wrote, "We found we had to break being a grownup into small parts and separate them out from each other in order to keep anxiety down.  Going to college does not equal moving out forever.  Graduating from college does not equal moving out forever.  Mine would have ensured that they never grew up if we hadn't.  As I said in an earlier post, this meant that we had to make being grown up seem like a more-fun-than-school, staying-in-your-clan, being-helped-by-your-clan, contributing-to-your-clan, clan-is-forever thing rather than a you-take-care-of-yourself-all-by-yourself, you-know-how-to-do-all-adult-tasks, see-you-around-some-time, don't-forget-to-call-me-on-mother's-day thing."

 

How did you go about breaking down those parts?

 

Mostly by telling them that as long as they stuck around and/or stayed in touch, we could show them how to do everything when they needed to know, and we explained that that was how we learned to do things.  We labelled them late bloomers and said we were too and that they didn't need to figure it out all at once.  I think the label was important, but I don't think they would have liked it at 13.  That was more of a 16-and-I-am-not-sure-I-want-to-look-at-colleges thing.  Having a paying job, even if it was a short one with family, helped.  We had been telling them they could live at home forever from the time they were little.  We also (at other times) had said that they would probably want their own household when they were married.  We taught some things (like how to change a tire) and left some until later (like paying taxes).  We also openly talked about how it is scary to grow up, how it is easy "to shoot yourself in the foot", as youngest put it, and sabotage yourself subconsciously by flunking out senior year or whatever.

 

I think it might help to define "launched", both to yourself and to your son.  We told ours, from the time they were 2 or 3, that everyone who is well enough has to work full time.  Little children's job is to play to learn.  Bigger children's job is to go to school to learn.  Adults either go to school full time or work full time or do a mix of the two.  We said it over and over.  We talked about how work isn't always something you get paid for and used me as an example.  Eventually, we brought in the idea that some people have enough money to support themselves without working, but those people usually have worked really hard at some point in their lives.  We didn't attach living on one's own, without any help, with "launched".  We talked about different family patterns in different cultures to help with this idea.  We tried to attach the word adult with the concept of working full time and, if you want, being able to start a family.

 

And conveying the continued clan membership idea?

 

I talked about it.  I tried to keep the friction between siblings at a minimum because early on, I realized that your childhood relationship with your siblings lasts less than 20 years (usually) but your adult relationship lasts 60 or 80, with luck.  I pointed that out when they were old enough to understand.  We told ours that brothers are forever and that they had to stick together and look out for each other.  This was fairly easy for us because my husband and I are embedded in a clan which consists of my siblings and their immediate families, one of my sister's husband's siblings and their families, and my husband's brothers all get together and do things.  My brother-in-laws come to my clan's happenings, sometimes.  And even so, STILL my children had to have emphasized to them, as teens, that they had a clan who would help them "forever", that many, many adult tasks, adults don't do by themselves, that Grammy and Grampa were still telling us  (their parents) how to do things, especially when we did them for the first time.  We told them that when we were first grownup, we had to ask how to do everything, from making macaroni and cheese to paying taxes to buying a house.  Lots and lots of phone calls home grin.

 

If you aren't part of a close clan, you can think of some of the things that friends do for each other and talk about those things.  For example, people tend to get their friends to come help them when they move, drive them to the airport or hospital, babysit, share recipes, build garden sheds, go on vacation.

 

That's how we did it, anyway.  I should ask my boys what they thought worked.  They have all bought in, at this point.  They will probably have their own households when they are married or want to live someplace else, but they will (hopefully) stick together.

 

There was a time during their teens when each of them kicked against being part of a family and part of being a clan.  They disliked having to take the time and energy to go to clan events.  They disliked having to contribute to the family.  I cut those obligations down to the minimum, agreed that it was an impingement on their time and independence, told them point blank that it was a nuisance sometimes, this was the down side of being part of a family, told them they had no choice about that, talked (briefly) about the advantages, said family didn't work unless you did both, and then crossed my fingers and hoped that when they were old enough to chose not to be part of family and clan, they would change their mind.  This cropped up especially when they had to do something for a clan member that they weren't liking at the moment, or family events with cousins that weren't part of their in-town cousin pack.

 

The whole part about carrying groceries at 5 being special but as a teen it needing to be a man thing totally resonates.

 

 

We had a power outage during winter without prepared fire wood ready, and ds did excellently at supplying wood with an axe etc., which is a total fit with what you say about a "man job" and emergency real need.

 

The possibly breaking ribs with a hug issue has also been a big problem here that I am working on.

 

I guess the good news is that most of this stuff we did by talking honestly about being a grownup, paying attention, listening, keeping communication open, trying to be nonjudgmental and respectful, and trying to be good and consistent people ourselves. I'm making it sound like we are a really talky family, but we aren't.  Most of our conversation is weather, logistics, what we are looking at (look - a hummingbird), or telling stories.  We tackled all this stuff as it arose, mostly.  Things cropped up at different stages

 

I'm also making it sound like things were idyllic and wonderful and we planned all this out ahead of time.  It wasn't and we didn't.  In hindsight, I can tell you what we did, and some of what we did was a planned approach to parenting that my husband and I talked about before we even had children, but most of the specifics were either family traditions or spontaneous decisions made on the spot without enough data.  Prepare to make a lot of decisions blind, with not enough data.  I found that exhausting.

 

As our boys went through their early twenties, they compared how much help we were giving them with how much help their friends were being given, and they compared the outcomes.  Some of their friends were completely on their own from the time they were about 16.  They watched the mistakes they made because they had no one to help them avoid them.  For example, take buying a car.  You need one to get to work.  It has to be reliable because if you don't show up, there are many more people who would like your job.  it is hard to buy a good used car when you are an 18 yo and know nothing about cars, so you buy a new one.  And discover you can't afford the payments.  And ruin your credit.  And lose the car.  And you job.  And your housing.  And have to start over.  Or you buy a lemon.  It costs you a lot of money to fix and then something else breaks.  And you can't afford to fix it.  And you lose your job.  And your housing.  And have to start over.  If you watch your friends do that, you are really grateful when Dad says you can have his old car.  If the only people you know are people whose parents give them a brand new car for high school graduation, this doesn't work as well.  Which brings us back to letting them do REAL things as a teenager.  Because of the particular children we had and the area we live in, we had to go pretty extreme real for this to work.  Sigh.

 

I found that a lot of unhappy encounters could be avoided if I fed them enough and didn't let them overheat.  This was tricky because when they got too hungry, they weren't hungry any more.  I also found that everything was my fault, even when it wasn't.  I had to stick up for myself, be the soft answer that turneth away wrath, not take things too personally, and be really good at forgiving and forgetting because they forgot really fast.

 

Nan

 


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#76 Quill

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 04:50 PM

My opinion on my teenage son's room...Fabreeze.

#77 Pen

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 11:00 PM

Super sweet. Thanks. I don't really worry about being close to my boys as they get older anymore than I worry about being close to my daughter. I hope we have great relationships as they grow into adulthood but I also realize that sometimes doesn't always happen. But I don't buy the idea that gender is the sole determining factor. I just hear that idea a lot in real life from people I know and it's nice to hear from people here who also don't buy it. 

 

 

It is certainly not the only factor in anything, and there is a big range of boy types, but some things are more likely to happen with a particular gender than the other, IMO.  Like the hugging so tight that ribs might be in danger of being broken, or deciding to pick up mom and carry her around is much more likely to be a boy thing than a girl thing. Science experiments that go, "Bang," seem more likely to be a boy delight than a girl delight. Though I'm sure some girls like to do that and many boys don't. Daredevilishly pushing things to the edge seems to be more a boy thing.  I've not been so aware of girls wanting to use a chainsaw and sneaking doing that, though maybe they do that and I just don't know. I have the sense that it is boys more often than girls who decide to go on joy rides.

 

Mine has always been the sort of athletic, daredevilish sort of boy anyway, so it is not a personality change for him to do that. And very likely boys who were never that way don't suddenly become so as teens. But if it is part of a particular boy's personality, a big teen can do a lot more than a 5 year old can.

 

 

There are physically things that can happen with a girl like pregnancy that don't happen with a boy.  But a  strong teen boy seems to have more day to day, moment to moment things like... squeezing a glass  too hard and it breaks, exuberantly bouncing against a wall, and the drywall breaks, etc., which may happen with a girl, but I've not seen girls do that.  



#78 Pen

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 01:59 PM

Thank you, Nan!  Your replies had a tremendous lot in them that I can apply!

 

In the part below, do you mean "overheat" or was that supposed to be "overeat" or something else maybe?

 

I am finding that with ds being a teen, we are back to a situation more like during toddler years where hungry and/or tired happen easily and lead to meltdowns. But ds is food picky in ways he was not when little, and, of course, it takes a lot more to fill him up.

 

 

I feel a bit stupid using red, but it will make answering easier. : )

 

 

.

I found that a lot of unhappy encounters could be avoided if I fed them enough and didn't let them overheat.  This was tricky because when they got too hungry, they weren't hungry any more.  I also found that everything was my fault, even when it wasn't.  I had to stick up for myself, be the soft answer that turneth away wrath, not take things too personally, and be really good at forgiving and forgetting because they forgot really fast.

 

Nan

 



#79 Nan in Mass

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 03:16 PM

Thank you, Nan! Your replies had a tremendous lot in them that I can apply!

In the part below, do you mean "overheat" or was that supposed to be "overeat" or something else maybe?

I am finding that with ds being a teen, we are back to a situation more like during toddler years where hungry and/or tired happen easily and lead to meltdowns. But ds is food picky in ways he was not when little, and, of course, it takes a lot more to fill him up.


Overheat. As in too hot. Living in New England, it is easy to have happen and my boys seem to have inherited my tendancy to not notice until their body suddenly tells them there is something very wrong. Just before they figure it out, they feel despersate, which makes them snap at people. Ditto with food. There was an uncomfortable period around 13 when they were insulted if I suggested adjusting clothing or eating something. Fortunately it was brief.

Nan

#80 redsquirrel

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 03:51 PM

Huh, I've got one who is about to be 17 in 48 hours and a 12 year old.  They are both pretty cool dudes. I mean, yes, lots of growing up issued with my older son, that I expect to see with my younger boy soon..but nothing that seems unusual or particularly challenging. I mean, yes, he lost his homework and his room is a mess but my room is just as bad, lol. 

 

As someone who grew up in a family of all women, I haven't found raising 2 young men (and being the only female in the house) to be particularly different from what I saw me and my sisters go through. I mean, I've never struggled with how to talk about things with them, and I've never felt like we couldn't come to a place of understanding. The underwear is different, but I haven't found the interpersonal interactions to be radically different in any way.

 

I find the teenage years to be so exciting. My son is transitioning from the life that his father and I made for him into a life he makes for himself. I may not always agree with his fashion choices, lol, but he's a good person and I am very much enjoying the adult he is becoming. My younger boy is still a boy, but that could change at any moment. I have been savoring these last few months of boyhood.  Every time he agrees to a quick snuggle on the couch I wonder if it will be the last time. But I am also looking forward to the relationship I will have with the man he will be.


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#81 FloridaLisa

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 04:45 PM

I've had four so far and another one who's already showing signs and will become a certifiable teen in the fall. 

 

Food is their love language. This is one way to win with them -- cooking their favorites, letting them eat at 10:00 p.m. because they're starving. 

 

Physical activity is a must. This is non-negotiable in our house. They need to get their testosterone OUT in a healthy way and if they're not spent in sports, then it usually flares up in tempers at home. 

 

A good busy is good. It's so much easier when profitable activities (sports, classes, youth group, camp, work) keep them too busy to spend hours on social media. 

 

It's manic -- you'll have heart swells one day followed by "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!" days. Back to back. All the way through launch.

 

They need respect. You're growing me, like Judo Mom said, and one of their top needs is respect. Cheerlead as much as you can. Don't demean. 
 

They don't take bossing as well as they did when they were little boys. Especially from moms. If at all possible, hand off the correction and accountability to your husband. I'm a single mom and this has been one of the hardest things to navigate -- I just told them I'd grow a spine as strong as I needed to raise them. 

 

Don't underestimate their need for plenty of sleep. And help with executive function for many.

 

Oh yes! One more thing that was super helpful: when you need to correct or have a *talk*, try to do it without eye contact. Do it while your cooking dinner and chopping your veggies or when you're in the car and driving. One of mine would listen but then he needed to hash out his side through long texts and I learned to love hearing his heart that way. I know to this day, writing is the best way to have deep, heart-to-heart communication with him. 

 


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