What I’ve Learned About Teenage Boys

I’ve officially had a teenage boy for 9 months.  These are the things I’ve learned.

1) Teenage boys are like Hobbits.  Three meals per day is silly.  Think five meals, plus snacks.  And all meals must involve meat.  Dead animal is good.

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2) Teenage boys smell funny.  My biggest question here, though, is that B10 has an amazing palate and sense of smell.  I mean, he’s spot-on when cooking (he likes to cook).  How on God’s green earth can he not realize he needs to clean his feet, then, with the stench rolling off of them?

3) Teenage boys are a lot like Labrador retrievers who think they are lap dogs.  They have no sense of what their limbs are capable of doing, and tend to flop on you at any given time.  We’ll be standing in line at Burger King and B10 will come in for a floppy hug.  All of the sudden I’m struggling in vain to not fall on my bum, because my 120lb son has just flung himself into me.  He also gives sloppy kisses.

4) If you raise them to think giving affection is normal, then you don’t lose it when they get to be teens.  I have always expected my boys to give me a hug and a kiss on the cheek before leaving (or me leaving them).  I can honestly say I’ve never had one of them (B10 or CW) flinch or tell me I’m embarrassing them.  In fact, today we stood in line and B10 leaned over to kiss me on the forehead, then turned his cheek in expectation of a kiss from me.  All this while CW stood with his arms around me and his head on my shoulder.  I can’t stress how important it is to give your kids affection – always – no matter the age or size.

5) Teenage boys are still a lot like little kids, and that’s not a bad thing.  We talk a lot about hard stuff, that’s what happens when you have divorced parents who are remarried.  And you live in this fallen world.  But, I also let my Caterpillars act silly sometimes, and I *never* make fun of the TV they watch.  Because, when given a chance, both my older boys will sit with their little sister and watch “Doc McStuffins” or “Sofia the First”.  It’s really adorable when they get the jokes that were thrown in for the mums/dads watching.  Or when they will play pretend with GO (B10 is always Cedric the Sorcerer, while Went is his Raven, Wormwood).  Even if I made fun of them as a joke, it would really damage their self-esteem.  My job is to encourage and then sit back and smile.

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6) Teenage boys are thinking about cars and driving and sex.  I’m lucky that my boys will talk to me about all three.  It has been *extremely* difficult to keep those lines of communication about these topics open, but I’m so thrilled that I’m starting to see the payoff.  I have spent years trying to make sure that my Caterpillars knew that there is no shame in talking to your parents.  That shame and embarrassment are a tool that Satan uses to stop kids from talking to the people who know and love them (parents) about important subjects.  Does it make for some awkward moments when the 11 year old asks what Birth Control is (because it’s on a giant billboard) on your way to church in front of the four year old?  Well, sort of, but I will take slightly awkward conversation over silence any day of the week!

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7) School gets harder, but if they have a dream – they will work hard to achieve it.  B10 is adjusting to High School – Latin, Algebra I, Biology, Grammar, English, Literature, American History… Not to mention his fine arts class this year (he’s hoping to be in the play “12 Dancing Princesses”) and Physical Education.  It’s not easy.  But he’s got a plan and a goal, and he’s ready to do what he has to do to get into UGA.  Meanwhile, CW knows he wants to study some type of engineering and is working hard on his math classes (Pre-Algebra).  I’m proud of them.  I realize most kids don’t “know” what they want to be when they grow up when they are 11 and 13.  CW isn’t exactly sure what direction his future will take.  But I’m convinced that allowing them to dream big and helping them pursue that dream on a basic level, will pay dividends in the end.

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8) Teenage boys long to know God and love God more.  B10 and CW have begun asking more questions about God and developing their own relationships with Him.  No longer are their prayers directed by me, as their parent, instead they are reaching out and seeking Him and His will.  I love this.

I am sure I will only learn more as we go along this path.

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(

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