Wednesday, March 8, 2017
I'm not ready for High School....again!
From Parenthood the movie...
Helen: It sounds like a boy Garry's age needs a man around the house.
Tod: Well, it depends on the man. I had a man around. He used to wake me up every morning by flicking lit cigarettes at my head. He'd say, "Hey, asshole, get up and make me breakfast." You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, or drive a car. Hell, you need a license to catch a fish! But they'll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father.
Just because almost all of us had parent's doesn't mean we learned how to be a parent. And just because I was a Middle School kid once - doesn't mean I understand what my middle school kid is going through now.
This became very clear in the past two years. I finally asked a professional last week what to do about my 13 year-old son. I said I feel like I'm struggling to get through to him, to motivate him. I feel like he is in such a negative place and I want to help him see it won't last forever. This wonderful woman asked me to give her an example. Which I gladly did. To which she replied. "UGH."
Yes. Ugh. Then silence. I know I'm screwing up, that's why I was asking a professional. I may not know beans about the brain of thirteen year-old boys but I do know when to ask for help. Thank goodness she did not hold back. This is a woman who spent 20 years working with youth in the Juvenile court system. She said bluntly, "You need to stop talking and start listening. Really listening. That's all he wants."
I wasn't hurt or mad and to be honest I wasn't surprised. I get tired of hearing my own voice. Active listening is not a new concept to me, it's just so darn hard! It takes a lot of effort, work, and patience. It also requires a lot of letting go. (Something I am not known for) In order to be a really good listener you have to let go of your own agenda and more important your ego. (ouch) That's the tough one. That's also one of the keys of a good parent, knowing when to let go of what you want and do what's best for your child.
My almost fourteen year-old son and I are heading down the road to High School. To be perfectly honest I have been just as terrified of high school as I was of middle school, but I know it's because I hated both. I know in my heart that I need to separate myself and my experiences from my son. it's just hard.
I feel fortunate to be in a great school district right now. Last weekend was Jazzfest and I met the High School Band Director who already knows my son (how cool is that!) and had wonderful things to say about him, He promised me that my son could play sports and be in the band. He said he makes sure if it because he believes so strongly that this should be the best time of their lives.
Maybe I can breathe. Maybe I can let go a little bit. Maybe there is a universe out there where kids actually have a great time in High School and he knows where that worm hole is.....maybe.
Maybe I can breathe. Maybe I can let go a little bit. Maybe there is a universe out there where Mom's actually do a few right things raising their teenagers and I've stumbled on the worm hole....maybe?
(I'll let you know)