A list of recent random things that have surprised me in varying degrees about raising teens.
- The Appetite: We are clearly at the point where neither Beckett, 15, nor Carson, 13, are ever full. There are times when they do stop eating, but it’s usually because they want to find something bad for them instead of what’s before them.
A recent major change is Beckett’s focus on fitness and eating better. After a summer of working out, some noticeable changes have taken with our teen’s body. When he walks around the house now, I often have to do a double take. He’s so much bigger, taller and muscular.
One night this week after a soccer game, dinner was sort of rushed with homework looming. He ate whatever we prepared for him, but it was interesting when he asked, “is this all the vegetables?” I offered him a plate full of what I didn’t put on his plate. It was all gone in minutes. I jokingly thought that’s some good parenting right there.
A few minutes later, I saw him doing his homework. Reflecting on what a great parenting is going on, I watched as he pulled a roll out of each pocket. He scarfed them down and then wiped the crumbs on the floor. Reality then set in.
- The Moods: My approach to mood swings is to not engage. Moods can change in an instance I have learned, and there’s really nothing a parent can do to change them. The source of the mood rarely has anything to do with the parents. There are outside forces at play that turn our kids sour.
Though I would love to know what’s on Beckett’s mind when I can tell he’s down, I also realize space is good for him. When he’s ready, he will come to me or his mom and talk. Over the years, there are certain things I have noticed he will bring to me and other topics to his mom. This is a good thing. Trying to pry information or demand details never works.
- The Opinions: I am convinced there are times when my Beckett is simply looking for a disagreement. He has a lot of conviction inside him and there are times when he needs to express himself.
When he finds out me or his mom don’t agree with his viewpoint, it’s game on for him. He relishes a good debate and argument. The problem is at 15 years told he seems convinced his opinion is fact. I know some adults like this as well, however.
- The Sounds: A room full of boys can be the most disgusting place to be. One day recently I was in the same room as Carson and Beckett. Between the two of them in a 30-minute span, I think every possible human bodily sound was heard. We all had a good giggle over how disgusting they are.
- The Sports: For Beckett, sports is our go to chat. I imagine this will be our shared lifelong passion. I love all sports and follow everything. If Pam is not home at night, I am watching sports. If Pam is not in the room at night, I am watching sports.
Pam left the room recently and I turned the channel to ESPN. She returned and wondered what happened to what we were watching. “Just checking the score,” I said. She said, “Oh who’s playing?” I said, “not sure.” A few nights before, Beckett walked through a room I was in and asked, “why are you watching women’s volleyball?” Before I could encourage him to check it out, he was gone from the room.
It appears our shared bond over sports has limits and women’s collegiate volleyball is evidently too much for him.
- The Odor: These boys are growing up and with it comes constant reminders for human hygiene. The struggle is real on that front, but a few, “Hey, stinky” comments from their father usually hit the mark.
- The Humor: One of my favorite things in life is laughing, especially with my kids. We all had a good laugh the other day recalling a conversation from TOPSoccer, which is a special needs program Pam and I help manage. One of the players was upset. When I approached to ask what was wrong, the boy said, “That woman,” pointing to Pam. I had to follow his finger because I couldn’t believe he was pointing to Pam.
It was hilarious to me because nothing had happened. The boy was just having an off day and Pam, who was only try to help him, was in his eyesight. I promised Landen I would have a long, hard talk with her. We all laughed over that.
- The Lack Of Awareness: I always check on my kids in their room when I get home. One night recently after a meeting around 10:30 I strolled into Beckett’s room asking how his night was and how school and practice went. He seemed befuddled, saying at one point haven’t we already talked about this?
I reminded him I had not seen him since before school and had a late meeting. He was clueless. He’s focused on what’s important to him. I don’t take it personal.
- The Girls: It’s tricky. It’s complicated. It’s confusing. I don’t pretend to understand. What I do know is the more questions asked the more resistance is given. This is one of those topics I rarely dive into because he holds everything tight.
- The Phone: It’s basically a computer. It’s not used for talking on the phone or texting, at least with me.