The last couple of months have been a bit of a reality check for me with wild thing #1. He has grown taller than me, and lost any hint of roundness in his cheeks. He laughs at jokes that don’t start with “knock-knock”. I know there are things to teach your son before he is a teenager.
So, I pay him to follow his younger siblings while I work, to hopefully, teach him some responsibility. On Fridays, he makes his own lunch when he gets home from school, so one day at least he can make a few things.
I don’t know how it happened so quickly, but here we are on the brink of having a teenager in our home. I thought there would be more time.
There are things to teach your son before he is a teenager.
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13 things to teach your son
before he is a teenager
Dear wild thing #1, I can’t believe you are less than a year away from being a teenager. There were times when you were a baby when people told me not to blink because before I knew it you would be all grown up.
I laughed, and joked that I would struggle with a teenager. The truth is, I have always done better with younger kids, and the thought of actually having to parent a teenager still terrifies me.
I have been told that every mom has a sweet spot. A time when they feel they thrive the most in their children’s lives, the age that they favor. That’s not to say, they don’t love their kids all the time, or enjoy them (most of the time– we all have our moments)!
Instead it means they parent best at a certain age. I completely agree with that. For me, it was the newborn stage. I have been silently dreading these days of parenting older children.
Only something pretty awesome happened as you got older. You turned into this fun, older kid that I am truly enjoying (most of the time– we all have our moments)! But before you go thinking I am all done telling you what to do– I have some advice for you.
1. Stand up for yourself and what you believe is right. It may not always be easy, but it will always feel better in the end than sitting back and doing nothing.
I have never left a situation that I ignored, despite feeling strongly in a different direction and not felt horribly. It’s usually harder to go back and right your wrong, than to trust your instinct from the start.
2. Potty humor will not go far with girls above the age of maybe 7 (at least not most girls!). Please do not, fart, burp, or make other disgusting sounds around girls.
Also, do not talk about poop or other disgusting things. On the off chance you happen to find a girl who enjoys those jokes, reel it in, it’s not very gentleman-like.
Have fun telling all of the disgusting fart jokes around your friends that are boys, or your brothers.While I’m discussing farts, if you fart in my room before bed one more time, and laugh as you walk away, I’m trading you in for a less gassy model.
3. Don’t be a bully, and don’t put up with people bullying you or anyone else. People will follow your lead.
4. Please don’t ever stop talking to me, or asking to spend time alone with me. Please. Please. Please. I absolutely adore this time, and I know there will come a time when you think you are way cooler than I (maybe it already has), but I will just DIE if you stop wanting to tell me everything that happened at school, or with your friends.
I’m sure there will be things you want to keep to yourself, and that’s ok. But don’t forget me when you do have something to share with me. I love to hear you talk- even if you talk all. day. long.
5. Trust your gut. If it feels like you shouldn’t be doing it, chances are it isn’t a good idea. I am dreading the day when peer pressure becomes something more than your friends convincing you to stay up way later than you want to at night.
6. There will come a time when you are pressured to do something that is dangerous, or just a poor moral choice. We all make mistakes, but I am pleading with you to stop, and think before doing anything that just seems wrong before you do it.
In times of uncertainty, ask yourself this question “what would my ______ say?” fill in the blank with my mother, father, aunt, uncle, grandma, etc. if the answer isn’t, “I’m so proud” or a variation of that, rethink your choice.
7. Happiness is a choice. Make the choice to see things with a “glass half full” perspective. If you dwell on the negative things that happen, you will live a long, unhappy life.
Plenty of things have happened to me in my life that would justify (in most people’s minds) my being just a generally unhappy person. I have chosen not to focus on these things, and instead focus on being happy, and the things God has blessed me with.
(This doesn’t mean that some people don’t struggle with depression, and other mental disorders, it means that you have a choice to look at things in a positive way)
9. Gratitude helps with happiness. Don’t waste your time wishing for what others have. You come from straight middle-class parents.
There will be many things you want, that we just can’t or won’t indulge you with. You won’t go without. As you get older, I pray you learn to be truly grateful for what God has given you. A grateful heart is a happy heart.
10. If anyone ever asks you to take a picture with me, please don’t act like you think I am the biggest loser on the planet. I have seen it happen more times than I can count (mostly with boys) around your age, and older.
I ask the kid to get a picture with their mother, and the kid is mortified.I realize you’re much smoother than I am. But as much as I hate having my own picture taken, I will cry inside if I catch on to the fact that you’re mortified. Cry. Inside. Like big, sad tears.
I’m not overly needy of acceptance, but i am a human, and my feelings will be hurt. Please, just smile, and pretend to love me. Maybe even throw in a little hug if you’re feeling extra nice!
11. Your siblings may get on your nerves, but someday, they will be your best friends. They are the only ones that know what it was like to grow up with a crazy mother like you have, so treat them right!
Stand up for them when we are not around, and stand up for the when they are not around.
12. The toilet seat does move into an upright position, and we do own a toilet bowl brush. Please learn how to use both of them. I will gladly show you again if you need me to do so.
13. Stay humble, but confident. I am so jealous of your ability to be a complete goofball, and not worry that you are embarrassing yourself. Keep making your friends laugh, and have fun with everything you do.
Dance, even if you’re not the best dancer. No one notices if you’re having fun while you’re doing it.
Your dad and I are always here for you. No matter what. Regardless of what you have going on, good or bad, you can always come to us for help, comfort, guidance, love, and support.
I love you. I will always love you. Always. Always. Always. If you remember only one part of this letter, remember that.
Keep growing, just not too fast, and stay cool!
Hopefully, by the time he turns 13, he will have better aim. In the meantime, do you have things you need to teach your son before he is a teenager??