Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Don't Know If I'll Make It Through Puberty (My Kid's That Is)

This puberty thing is killing me.

The raging hormones are unbelievable. With boys apparently its not all about rage and anger. At least with my son the emotions are also about fear and self-doubt.

Last night I noticed a pattern. Right before bed my twelve year old sometimes, all of a sudden, is upset about something and shares about it, pouring his heart out. At the time of day when I'm the most tired and thought I was just about done parenting for the day and am ready to crash I am handed a major issue to content with, out of the clear blue sky. Fast thinking and creative responses on the spot are not always easy.

For clarification, the things discussed have nothing to do with any specific incident that day let alone something that happened right before bed.

This is how the Tooth Fairy issue came out. This is how Santa Claus was dealt with (on another day many months later). This is how other things came up.

Last night was a suprising relevation with some self-esteem issues and worries that 'no one likes me', based on some unfriendly kids he tried to talk to at MIT Splash who wanted nothing to do with talking to other kids. The jerk with the biggest impact was the teen who responded to my son's 'hello' with an animalistic growl-grunt and a dirty look. That kid was silent for the rest of the time, not talking to anyone else either. I had to explain that kid was obviously either strange, rude, or the one with a social problem; that nothing was wrong with my son.

I never know when these topics will be brought up. But apparently I should start to expect that bedtime is when they most likely will be. Upon further reflection, he approaches me when I'm either getting ready for bed or sitting in bed reading. He probably realizes (this doesn't take a genius mind) that I'm not preoccupied with tasks around the house or going to and fro from appointments, not on the phone, and not on the computer. Basically, I'm probably perceived as more available at bedtime.

I know I should be happy my son is talking to me. I just don't always know what to say, and getting hit with it when I'm exhausted is not at all the best time for me. I've been using the Active Listening technique for years. I learned it while in training to be a lay breastfeeding counselor for La Leche League. The method sometimes sounds hokey or fake but in all honesty it does work because all people ever really want is to feel that they are being heard. Not everyone wants you to solve their problems for them but usually everyone wants the ability to share their feelings and to know they are being heard. Sometimes it just feels good to vent and get the emotions out. That's good because I do know how to listen.


dstb said...

Hi Christine,

So far, I have not observed this behavior in my boys (12 & 10), but it reminded me of myself.

Evening is when I am at my lowest ebb, energy-wise. Because of that, it is also the time when my self-doubts come more easily to the surface. As an adult, I have learned that many of these
"problems" I seem to have at night, will disappear, or at least not seem so bad after a good night's rest. Having you there to listen to his problems is probably all he needs. I wonder how he felt the next morning about nobody liking him?

We were at Splash this weekend, too. My son is very shy, so I was proud of him for wanting to do it. After he decompresses we'll have to see if he wants to do it again next year. His favorite class? Teach Anything - How to Fake a Presentation.

Splash was good for his younger brother, too because it gave him some alone time with Mom & Dad.

christinemm said...

Received by email and posting with permission, removed names for privacy.


I read some of your blog, the one I really related to is your Nov. 24 one about (your son) and him talking to you at bedtime.

(My 12 yr old son) has been doing that to me for at least the past 2 years. Why do you think we are not in (public) Middle school anymore!!! When in school EVERY night he would bring up some topic out of the blue, usually like (your son) about insecurities or kids not liking him, etc.

I got used to this pattern and knew to expect it and actually looked forward to this time, because I knew this is when he will pour his heart out to me and only me. He doesn't do this with (my husband).

That is another reason why I feel so bad about working 3 nights a week (at my new job that starts this month), he looks forward to talking to me at night if something is bugging him.

Although, I have to say, since he's been out of school (we started homeschooling one month ago), we have had very few serious talks at bedtime. His self esteem is much better, issues have basically disappeared and now he has access to me during the day if something is bugging him.

I had to share because I couldn't believe when I read that about (your son), that we have such similar kids!

Have a good night,
And THANK YOU again so much for all your help!
(a mom I know who used public school from K-grade 6 but just started homeschooling)