Do you ever look at your child(ren) and wonder what is going through their mind? I often find myself staring at The Boy, my son, and asking myself where did I go wrong! I have unintentionally fostered an individual who is usually a nicer version of me.
The Boy has inherited my sense of direction, my twisted sense of humor, and my very social nature. These are a blessing and a curse! We get lost going to places we have traveled to hundreds of times, but for different reasons. I get lost because I am curious to see if there is a more efficient way to reach that destination, and The Boy gets lost because he is simply not paying attention. I am always late, I talk to strangers or people I know for way too long, and I am very spontaneous. His father on the other hand is always punctual and likes to stick to a routine. But both of us are extremely outgoing and as a result, our son likes to be on time and feels no party is complete without his presence.
Throughout my son’s life, we have crashed events from birthday parties to the Harrisburg Holiday Parade when his elementary school was marching. Yes, we did just join in a few parades. Recently, The Boy invited himself to an outing with one friend and her group to Get Air, an indoor trampoline park. There, he connected with a friend from his football team and decided to extend his time at Get Air to attend a classmate’s birthday party.
I was extremely annoyed at first that he chose to stay at Get Air without letting me know before I arrived to pick him up. Gas prices are ridiculous! But I was relieved that he was being social. For a few months, he had not been social and seemed to be withdrawing from everyone. I was really worried about him. Then overnight he became a social butterfly again.
The terrible twos have nothing on the mood swings of a hormonal 13-year-old! The transition from middle school to high school is one of the most vulnerable and possibly stressful times in the parenting experience. It can be challenging helping your child(ren) navigate this period because they want your support without your opinion.
As a family, we are working to find a balance where I only offer guidance. We are focusing on how he should be taking care of himself mentally and physically, establishing social boundaries, time management, setting realistic academic goals, and surrounding himself with a supportive group of friends. I see so much of myself in The Boy and it is proving to be challenging not to push him in one direction or another. I am learning to just go with the flow and support him from a loving distance!