After all the children I have raised, with four being ones I gave birth to, I still sit in bewilderment at the teenage years. I find myself flipping like a coin that can expose either side when it comes to my own emotions during these years of my child growing up. On one side, I am elated at the miracle of my child growing up and stepping into adulthood. Yet, on the other side, I am dismayed by the loss of “my little angel bunny foofoo ears” that would cuddle next to me while showing me I was their world. The path to adulthood is at best a rollercoaster ride of hormones and erratic behavior. Being a parent puts you on the rollercoaster ride with them. My suggestion is to hang on tight and buy many tissues.
My expertise is with boys since I gave birth to five and took in several. When they reach the age of 11 to 14, the first symptoms appear as pimples and facial hair. This will be the first sign of testosterone poisoning. It will spread quickly and it will not be long until the brain is laden with testosterone deposits, causing it to misfire and your young son to show erratic behavior. Until the young male child shows completed maturity, they will bounce back and forth from being your sweet child to the genre of masculinity.
The male child will have strong desires to see nude woman. Much to the dismay of others in the household, they will spend extended amounts of time in the bathroom. You will probably go into denial and innocently try to figure out what is happening to your son. On occasion, he will still curl up next to your and snuggle. Enjoy the moment, and remember that this is the natural path to growing up.
As the young male body is being over run by hormones, his voice will change, his anger flairs, he will become moody and you will have no inclination as to when it will change. You will sit back in astonishment as he transforms his entire demeanor as he changes friends. I guarantee throughout this transformation, that you will be shocked at least a thousand times. He will have females on his mind 99% of the time.
Although the females are known to have addictions to telephones, you will find that the male child has the same dependency. With cell phones becoming common, the male child will learn at all times to live with one useful hand and the other bent to hold a phone to their ear. It will almost become an appendage until they marry, at which time they inform you that it is used “only for business”.
Your darling male change will change from a warm and loving child to a male that does not understand women. Much like life in the animal kingdom, the young male will begin to argue and fight with other males in the household. This is in an attempt to become the alpha male of herd. The brothers, who were once best friends, will fight until there is blood to gain dominance. As the adult, you must stand up for yourself by ripping the appendage called a phone off their ear, or you will be marked and shoved aside.
When it comes to the female species, I have limited knowledge. I have taken in young girls but they left when the oldest was in first grade. Steve blessed me by bringing Shannon into my life when she was 16 and wanting her own car. The other knowledge I have is my closeness to my niece, Sabrina as she went through the trying teen years.
The female child will become a very complex human as she starts to mature. About the age of twelve, she starts her progression of growing up. She will morph from your little princess to an entity of rotating emotions. In a short amount of time, “The Princess” will constantly marinate in a pool of estrogen that will change her emotions, decisions, and thought pattern in a split second. Many become a “Drama Queen” in this period of their life. The real trick is getting them to grow out of it.
Sadly, most female hormonal mutants gage their worth from the opinions of other male and female mutants (males measure their self worth the same way). The results will vary from the need to shop and chatter excessively to a quiet and sad young woman that keeps to herself and a few friends. You will literally be tossed around on a sea of emotions as the young female set sails for womanhood. Please allow me to throw out a life preserver in the form of advice throughout the next paragraph.
Do not be fooled by your young ladies large doe eyes filling with tears. At that moment of their life, the “tragedy” they are experiencing is indeed ripping their heart apart. If you become entrapped by the intense emotion, and attempt to climb the heavens and the earth to remedy this for her you may be met with a surprise. When you do locate her in an attempt to inform her you have cured her problem, you will almost certainly exasperate her by interrupting her phone call. You will probably find her laughing and when you tell what you did for her; she will look at you as if you have four eyes and say” OH MY GAWD! That was like so 5 minutes ago!”. My advice is to step aside, make no quick moves, and hope it will go away. If it does not, immediately drop and play dead.
Unlike the male mutants, the females are not preoccupied with the opposite sex’s appearance. They are involved in their own appearance and the number of males they attract. Females are not as interested in sex as they are about being popular and pretty. Their first physicals signs of maturing are breasts, their periods, and PMS. There will be times your little princess will appear and be sweet and helpful. Treasure those moments for they will become a rarity.
I offer you a minuscule amount of wisdom since each case is unique. I tell you to take the “dramas” lightly as they will pass. I ask you to reinforce their self-esteem by letting them know they are all beautiful in their own rights and things will change when they are older. No matter how much you would like to be their best friend, remember that your role as a parent is much more important. They need stability, structure and guidance more than they need a friend. They have multi friends at school, and as you know, friends come and go with age. Yet they only have at most 4 parents to love and guide them through this maze we call life. Your role in their life is essential to their success.
On the hormonal sea of puberty, take the role of captain and remain in charge at all times. Remember that your greatest strength will be in the fact that you can lead and love at the same time. Speak with wisdom and firmness without using profanity or a hysterical tone. It is easier to give in and spoil a child than it is to be authoritative and raise a child. You can be firm and still act loving towards them. You do not have to be their best friend to have a good time and share laughter with your child. One more tip from an endless list, do not walk away from raising your child, or speak hastily. This is your child, and giving up is not an option. Your words will be remembered when they are parents, so make sure your words were spoken with forethought and wisdom. You have to act like an adult in order to raise a child to become one.
This lesson is not about growing up as a child through puberty but as an adult through parenting. It is about walking through a time in life where one must lead and another follow. Find the humor in this phase so that you may laugh and lighten your load. It is not the person you are as you begin to sail but the person you have become when your voyage is completed.
*Please, note that prolonged depression and excessive “drama” within a teenager’s life (or anyone’s for that matter) should be taken seriously. There is mental health treatment available regardless of finances. You should contact your doctor or local Heath Department to be referred to a treatment facility. The rate for teenage suicide has peaked and we must take this seriously.
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