Sara Whitman

Lots of Love... and Good Boundaries

Filed By Sara Whitman | October 19, 2009 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: birthday boy, lots of love, raising a teenage boy

Thursday night was Ben's birthday. 14 years old. It's hard to imagine my little baby with curls and a big giant smile all the time is 14.

Zachary called around 5pm- he and Walter had been in a car accident. Everyone was fine, but Walter's truck is totaled. For all our problems, our issues, when I pulled up to the truck, saw how wrecked it was, all I wanted to do was hug Zachary- and Walter. You know, Walter may drive me nuts but I love him.

Ben was a little difficult all evening, soaking in his birthday, being mean to his brothers and dropping the F bomb every moment he could. My sister finally said to him at the table, you know, not only would your grandmother have slapped either of us for such language, she would have taken the gifts back.

Ben found that amusing.

Ben also came home with a huge hickie on his neck. When asked about it, he got really defensive and I said, listen, bub, you don't even try to cover it up, you're gonna have to answer some questions about it.

It was just a game, he said.

It's middle school, mom. Kids do this.

You know, I went to middle school... I don't remember that.

Get with the times, mom.

I think I aged an extra ten years. I tried so hard to go with it, not create a big fight, but of course, I couldn't.

Maybe this is why I'm so tired all the time. I'm thinking there is something seriously wrong with me, and I need to make a doctor's appointment but you know, it's just the teen years wearing on me.

That or my constant 3am wide awake, awake awake awake time. At least the cat is happy to be up with me.'

Remember the quote from that book? I gotta tell you, that shabby hotel is starting to look mighty good.

I love my son. I love him so much. He is a good, sweet boy. I know that. I know deep down he is gentle and kind. All he wants is acceptance from his peers. Very normal for any 14 year old. I try to pick my battles but I find myself pulled into the rabbit hole, and before you know it, I'm yelling, he's yelling, we're angry and nothing good is going to happen. I know what he's struggling with and here I am, a big giant available resource- and until he wants it? It means nothing.

For now, I'm going to give up sugar- any kind of refined sugar- and go to bed early for a few weeks. I'm going to try and convince my tired body that it can run, needs to run, and do it no matter how tired I am. I'm going to count to fifty before I respond to him.

Ten is not nearly long enough.

I'm going to try to keep my heart open and show him how much I love him, as often as I can. I'm going to remember that he and I are very much alike- which means I know a little bit about how to reach him.

Lots of love...

and good boundaries.

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Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | October 19, 2009 10:47 PM

Bless you for all your patience. My parents always found a way to make certain that I did not go out of line. Often it was by example that while our lives were not plush we did not have to look far to find people less fortunate than ourselves.

I do have to ask a question about "acceptance from peers" though. Friends of mine moved their three sons out of Malibu California to New Mexico. They could afford to live wherever they liked, they were self made, but did this because they felt their sons value systems were being warped by all the affluence of their peers. Their peers parents were giving the kids week ends in Hawaii and expensive sports cars at sixteen!

Thanksgiving is coming, perhaps a family day of "volunteering" at a charity kitchen. OK, not the whole family just Ben. :)

And then there is always the military school option.

Thank you for your post. I am feeling some similar angst over my teenager. I feel encouraged by your strength!