A place to be real about a life of chaos, with eight beautiful children, homeschooling, special needs, adoption, sanity or the lack thereof.........a rubber hits the road sort of journey that I thankfully do NOT walk alone!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Parenting Tween Boys....AARRGGG

"I don't suffer from stress...but I'm a carrier"!!

Ok....maybe stress is a small part of my day...
(LOVE this cartoon!! Haha!)

This quote I found more than aptly applies to my life as a Mom to eight but more importantly a Mom to three almost four teenagers!

Nothing and I mean NOTHING prepared me for this season of parenting. I think we'd all like to think of ourselves as "teen" experts simply because we lived through it. I would like to acknowledge at this stage that I am #1 not an expert just cause I've been there done that and #2 I was never a teenage boy!

What planet are they from ???

He is the first "almost but close enough" teen boy I have the privilege of parenting. He would call it squelching, preventing, confining, bossing, restricting, "what the heck", "whatever", as opposed to guiding, loving, setting boundaries, etc.

It cannot be a fence sitting, wishy washy adventure this parenting of boys! I find myself having to justify my choices with no words...?.... what's up with this no communication tactic of "communicating"! This is a language I'm still a LONG way from having mastered!

Today his life "sucks" (his words not mine) and I am a stretch away from not taking this personally!!

So....as any good mother would, I've stewed on it and tried to dissect the reasons. Suddenly it dawned on me....as far as he has come since he joined our family five years ago...he has so far yet to go. His confidence and self esteem that had taken a serious beating for many years is still limping along trying to catch up with his quickly growing body! (Do all boys eat this much and grow several inches every couple of months?)

I recently read the following about children with healthy self esteem:

•Act on their own and show independence
•Assume responsibility for their actions
•Take pride in accomplishments
•Take responsibility for mistakes
•Tolerate frustration and stress
•Handle positive and negative emotions
•Attempt to do new things and will try again and again

I realized after reading this list that we are still on a long journey in this regard. I hadn't identified some of the challenges to indicate low self esteem but it all seems a bit clearer now.

The same article mentioned these opposing character traits as typical for a child struggling with positive self worth:

•Be very dependant, almost clingy
•Blame others for mistakes or problems
•Be incapable of tolerating change or normal frustration
•Not be able to try new things
•Sometimes shut down and appear lazy
•Be easily influenced by peers and negative behaviors
•Not be able to take a compliment and will consistently put himself down

Parenting is a job I take very seriously. I realize that with seven of eight children adopted at varying ages, and from many challenging life experiences that it is perhaps a different journey than most. But with that said...the importance of me feeding into this young man's life a steady flow of encouragement and love that will help to nurture his value of himself has today become suddenly more important. I won't beat myself up over missing this cue but I will actively change how I "deal". Behaviours that I may have previously viewed as disrespectful or attention grabbing should be assessed first to see if they fit this category.

I daily strive to incorporate the importance of his faith and leaning hard on Jesus for support and guidance as he makes decisions.....his confidence and self worth can be defined by how he "feels" based on previous life experience or by a new gauge of worth based on affirmation and encouragement I can nourish each day.

Perhaps he's not from a planet that far away that I can't at least visit now and then :)

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