If you’re like me and have a teenager in your life, you’ll know that it’s not always smooth sailing. Chances are, much of the time you’ll be at your wits end with each other, well in our house it seems anyways. The last 2.5 years with our almost 16 year old son has been challenging to say the least. You name it and he has done it. Every grey hair that has sprouted up on my head has had his name on it. Thank goodness for friends that are hairstylists and hat days. So in between bouts of being a typical teenage boy and being an extremely difficult person to even be around, came some things that I desperately needed to learn. From my teenage son it seems too. Here are a few things that I have recently learned but am so grateful to finally understand.
– Be a little impulsive once in awhile. Being in a family of five people and trying to coordinate too many different schedules and appointments means there isn’t much room for spontaneity. I live my life on a schedule and it has always made my life a little easier. A lot less fun, but easier. Because, my teenage son has ADHD, impulsivity (as the experts call it) is one of the main characteristics that he struggles with. But what I am realizing is that its not always a bad thing to “fly by the seat of your pants” once in awhile. There are definitely times and places for this, but I have really experienced the good that can come from just letting loose and making things up as you go once in awhile. It’s actually a little freeing.
– Being Okay in Your Own skin. I don’t know the inner thoughts of my teenage son. Like most teens, but not all, our son doesn’t exactly share that with us. But what he does share or put out into the universe is his attitude about himself and that he’s okay with it. Let me give you an example. We were at Value Village one day, and I was going through the racks and racks of clothes when he came up to me and asked if I would purchase this “jacket” for him. When I glanced up to see the item that he had picked out, my gaze came upon this large, puffy plaid number that he had picked out. Never in a million years would I have thought anyone his age would wear something like that. I most certainly wouldn’t have when I was his age. I must have had a weird look on my face because the next words out of his mouth were, “I really like this jacket and it’s really warm.” In that moment, I couldn’t have been more proud of him. He had found something that he liked. It was clearly different then the current fashion trends/styles dictated, but he wanted to make it all his own. The air of confidence that I got from him was inspiring and made me wish I knew someone like him when I was in high school. I’m happy that he has found that in himself now at 16 instead of 26 or even 36. It gives me hope for all the times that his behavior will be less desirable.
– Don’t worry about every little thing. Yah, right?!I’m a mom and that’s what we do, right? What I am beginning to realize is that sometimes bad things happen. Whether it’s not getting a job you really want, a boyfriend breaking up with you, a friendship ending, etc., bad or unexpected things will happen and worrying about them incessantly won’t change the outcome. I love that my son has taken fear out of his life’s equation. It’s one of the qualities adults often admire most about young people. It’s definitely one that I love, even if deep down it scares me just a little.
– Forgiving and forgetting easily. As an adult, and a woman, I fully admit that sometimes I hold a grudge. My feelings get hurt or a problem doesn’t get resolved quickly and it just gnaws away me. I don’t often see that in him. He gets upset with someone, or the other way around and somehow within a day or two the whole situation gets resolved. He does make friends easily and there are always many different faces around the house but I believe that he just doesn’t let things get the best of him.
Simply put, he moves on. Could it really be that easy? So, even though many days out of the week our Noah is a feisty, constantly challenging and quick witted teenage boy, sometimes he really does have it right. There will be many more issues in the days ahead. There will battles over curfews and attitude and without fail we will still argue. But understanding that he is a little more capable then what I initially gave him credit for makes it a tad easier. But of course I will still worry, because that’s just what I do.