Our preteen Bruce Wayne hasn’t even grown a single arm pit hair and yet, we are getting a glimpse of what it may be like when our son is in the full throes of hormonal transformation. The little joker just turned ten years old and already is exhibiting signs of the “change.” Can the hubs and I survive what’s about to go down in our household? What do we prepare ourselves for? How is a parent supposed to navigate the fine balance of letting the child become an individual while maintaining order and respect? It’s like mother nature just disrupted the 12,548 bats in the bat cave and mom and dad are confined at the bottom, paralyzed with fear. Holy hormones, Batman! Puberty.
For the past six months or so, I’ve known it was coming. The sheer nausea from him getting in the car after school while lifting his arm up to throw the back pack in the back seat was my first sign. I did what any good mother would do. Deodorant was swiftly delivered to his bathroom with application instructions. The problem? Bat Boy forgot to put the stuff on. Since then, he has gotten more consistent. Then, the obsession over his hair. He wants it long and thinks he can pull off the Beiber type do but he can’t! His hair is like a chia pet. Course, bushy and thick.
The new challenges are much more intense. It’s the ‘tude, the moodiness and the obnoxiousness! It’s like the hubs and I put him to bed one night and woke up to our eldest as a cross between The Hulk and Bruce Banner or an extreme of each. Sometimes he’s sensitive, calm and wants to snuggle and then other times he is a raging, smelly lunatic.
I’ve learned all this is normal. It’s going to be rocky at times but I have explored tips on how parents may can navigate the craziness.
Although boys and girls experience the “change” differently, the similarities are that their bodies are changing quickly and EVERYBODY feels weird about it. They may be self-conscious, worried, extra-sensitive to criticism, teasing or to just about anything. Little, insignificant things may set them off. They may also feel that no one understands them.
As the hubs and I attempt to navigate the seemingly bottomless pit of puberty, here is some knowledge that may help us all.
- Mood swings/Most everything they feel will be strong and intensified
Once a passive irritant, siblings now harness rage from the depths of their innermost being. All of sudden, they have this knee jerk reaction to disagree with basically everything a parent suggests or demands. Also, they used to just “like” the grilled cheese and cut up apples you whipped up, but now the kid “loves” them. Furthermore, the kid used to be a “little” sad because he couldn’t go play at a friend’s house, but now is “inconsolably” sad he isn’t getting his way.
They become sassy, emotional, belligerent and annoying. It’s down right scary. Romantic feelings? Oh my. We are aren’t quite there yet but it’s sure to come swiftly. I’ll probably have to have “the talk” with my son. We have a very open communication type of relationship. I’ve told him most everything that is about to happen in his sheltered world, but there are a couple of things that may be best coming from dear old dad. Better yet, I think I’ll buy the baby daddy a book and insist that he take that beast of a subject on.
- More independent thinking
As they begin the journey into adulthood, children may exhibit signs that they want to take more control of their own life in the form of making their own decisions and having strong opinions. Unfortunately, those opinions will probably be polar opposite of what you as a parent feels. “Why, why, why mom?” “Mom, that’s stupid.” “Well, I think it should be this way.”
Personally, I’ve noticed that when my eldest is trying to decide for himself what opinion he will hold for any given subject, I have to provide solid, factual evidence for him, explain the pros and cons and then back off. Strong willed kids like to think they came up with a conclusion or line of thinking on their own. Easier said than done if sass or defiance are involved. Meet Black Widow you winged infant bat!
- They need hygiene intervention pronto!
This is the obvious one. Supply them with non anti perspirant deodorant, clean clothes and a hefty supply of underwear. Your kid can no longer pull off wearing the same clothes two days in a row. It’s not pretty. I wouldn’t advise it.
- Physical Changes
My eldest is not a shy child. We see him fresh from the shower in all his glory on a frequent basis. The physical changes are obvious. Over the last few weeks a few pimples have even popped up on is forehead! So now I have to make sure he showers, brushes his teeth, eats veggies, puts on deodorant AND washes his face with appropriate cleansing products? Sheesh.
- We shouldn’t stop being an involved parent
Although they act as though they don’t want or need our help, our kids need us more during this time. The most difficult thing the hubs and I are going through at the moment is finding the balance of disciplining the mood swings while letting the kid become his own individual person. I feel it’s important that one of us always be actively present to guide the kid into adulthood.
Also, this is the time when we need to be cognizant of drastic personality changes that warrant further attention. If we notice our kids pulling away from family and friends or avoiding things that were once enjoyable to them then that could signal a problem. Fortunately for us, we just have a smelly, sassy, Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde persona we are trying to raise living at the other end of our house, only in the infancy stages of what is to come.
Although still a freshman in the world of kid hormonal changes, I can offer this piece of advice. Remember that you’re not alone. It’s never an easy or popular thing for parents to admit that their kids don’t act like the perfect child all the time or that we don’t have all the answers. Even people who seem like they have it all together are probably struggling with the same feelings and parenting challenges. Every kid is different with a unique personality. That means parenting has to be tweaked to meet the needs of the child and it’s pretty daunting to get that right every day.
It’s unrealistic for people to assume that their way works for your child and unfair and even ignorant to say their way is the only way. That burns this Bat Boy’s mother up. Take freedom in doing what works for your child and remember to exercise some grace while parents like us figure it all out.
What worked for you in successfully transitioning your child through the “Holy Hormone” years? Any ideas relayed in kindness and thoughtfulness are always helpful. We are a community of parents just trying to be the best at what we do.
Our second child is right behind the first so it’s going to be a double whammy of hormone hades in our house soon. To the Batmobile baby daddy! Time to drop the crazies off at grandma’s and head to the beach!