“I just don’t understand! My sweet son is so temperamental lately.”
“It’s like he’s a different kid.”
“I don’t understand the anger. What’s that about?”
“School used to be fun, but now it takes forever.”
“He acts so addled. Can’t remember what I tell him for one minute.”
We hear it all the time. We’ve said it ourselves. We usually ask how old their son is, but we already know what they’ll most likely answer—he’s 9–12 (or somewhere awfully close).
It was a huge surprise to us when our oldest hit that age. We’d been expecting some emotional trials when the boys got to be teenagers, but what was all this? No one told us the hormones start flowing long before the beard starts growing. Seriously. Who would have known?
Those years can be a dangerous time. Sometimes parent-child bonds are damaged or broken, only to be repaired years later. See, the enemy knows that those hormone-based emotions are confusing and tempts our children to doubt our love and concern for them.
You probably remember those thoughts yourself: “They don’t understand. No one cares about me.” Then, their anger and sadness makes us parents feel hurt and like failures. Sometimes we lose our tempers, too. Everyone loses if we aren’t careful.
On the other hand, walking through this time prayerfully and with your “grown up” hat firmly in place (you don’t have to lose your temper because they do), can give them security and renew your bond with them. It helps to prepare them (not when they’re angry already) for the emotional rollercoaster and to explain to them what’s happening.
We need to be prepared, too, not to react in defensiveness and hurt when they’re upset. It’s a balance and it’s not easy, but it’s worth it!
The sad thing is that many parents are out of the loop when they’re most needed. I just looked through 42 pages of stock photos of “father and son.” Our pics are on a different machine, so I thought I’d just find a quick photo to post of a dad with his arm around his son, or hugging him, or by the end of the search, just standing with him. Forget it.
The oldest child in any father and son pic on that site was about five. Sad. I know it’s hard, but that’s how to be a father—to be there when they need you even when they aren’t very lovable at all. Give them a manly hug when they shrug you away and one day they’ll hug you for real.
For the original article, visit raisingrealmen.com.
Hal and Melanie Young, authors of the Christian Small Publishers Association 2011 Book of the Year, Raising Real Men, are parents of six boys and two girls. They have homeschooled through eight high-risk pregnancies, three re-locations, two decades, and 181 degrees of longitude. Hal and Melanie have served on the Board of Directors of North Carolinians for Home Education for over 14 years, including three terms as President for Hal.