Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Q & A -- teenage boys

How can I help my fifteen-year-old son find success? He is the oldest in our family like yours, and we want him to find the desire to succeed in school and in life in general.  He lacks motivation and my husband is worried that he is leading himself up for failure and won't be able to take care of a family and support them if he doesn't succeed in high school.  Will he get into a University?  We don't know.  {this question is paraphrased to take out some personal stuff}

I'm glad this question came along because I have had quite a few comments and people asking about my "superson Max" since I wrote this blog post back on his birthday.  

And although Max is very "super" in his own way (he is every bit of those fifteen things I listed), he's certainly has a lot to learn, and a lot of growing up to do.  Every once in a while I have to stop and make sure that people know that I write a lot of the good stuff here on this blog.  I don't share all the things I am endlessly worrying about.  It doesn't do anyone any good...especially not my kids who read this thing regularly.  Sure, I like to keep in real here (for more posts on keeping it real, click here...although I haven't been so hot at labeling them lately).  I know I'm biased because I do think these kids of mine are the greatest things since sliced bread, but of course they have their own issues and things we struggle with as well.  

We worry so much about these same things with Max and I wanted to share this question because I think there are LOTS of mothers of teenage boys who worry themselves sick about them.  I mean, the poor kids have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders.  And they are being raised in a society where we coddle and pamper kids a bunch.  I have asked many parents to help me know how to help Max to stay motivated and proactive...more "self-appointed."  I will share the answers I have received, either through prayer or discussing with others and I hope that helps:

My mother-in-law told me she read something once that said a boy the age of our boys is as far away as he will be from his mother.  Sad, I know, but sometimes it can be so difficult for us to relate to them at this age.  There are hormones going on like crazy.  They are trying to find their place.  Both of our boys are the oldest so they have added responsibility and expectations that they may feel unable to live up to.  It is so easy to push and wring our hands when what they need more than anything else in the world is to be loved.  I have started to try to go into Max's room each night as he gets ready for bed and just be available.  Just shoot the breeze.  Then we can kneel and pray together.  He needs so much confidence to get through this world of ours.  I am trying to look for the good and build that up rather than harping on the stuff he's not doing as well as I wish he would.  

I was complaining just this weekend to a very wise mother...same feelings as you will he be able to keep a job when he grows up?  How will he support a family?  How will he manage through life when sometimes it seems like he can't concentrate on anything for more than two minutes?  The mom told me she had a son she worried about the exact same things (maybe there's a pattern here?).  She would wring her hands in worry to her husband.  Finally her husband told her "he's going to be fine!  There is a good reason fourteen-year-olds don't get married!!"  And he was right.  This son, with love and attention from his family, grew up to be an amazing, contributing, hard-working man.  I think sometimes we just need to let kids grow up.  

That's not to say that we shouldn't worry.  Worry to some point helps us figure out what needs to be done.  And my personal favorite strategy for figuring that out is prayer.

I love this quote from Patricia Holland:  "...If we are to search for real light and eternal certainties, we have to pray as the ancients prayed.  We are women now, not children, and we are expected to pray with maturity.  The words most often used to describe urgent, prayerful labor are wrestle, plead, cry, and hunger.  In some sense, prayer may be the hardest work we ever will engage in, and perhaps it should be."

It just taught me that only God knows our children better than we do.  He will reach out and help us with our own unique, individual struggles if we will "be still" and listen for His guidance.  

I don't know if that helps at all, but I hope so.  Sometimes this motherhood journey can be so daunting!  My prayers are reaching out to you hoping you can find answers that will help your son the very most.

Experienced mothers (and dads) of teenage boys: please send us your advice as well! :)

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