The youngest son turned fourteen, last week. It was my first thought when I woke up that morning, ‘How can my youngest be fourteen?’ I’ve heard it said, that while a boy is thirteen and fourteen they still ‘have the boy in them,’ and after the age of fifteen and sixteen ‘the man starts to appear.’

Some of the other boys in the youngest son’s soccer team are already shooting up, their voices have deepened and their necks are already thickening. The youngest is not quite there. I looked at him today, feeling that the loss of childhood is impending, and yet cherishing in him the puny neck and curving cheek of the child. He will still be a boy for another year, thank goodness.

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His first term of high school, the youngest said, he tried hard to be accepted by the cool kids. For whom, ‘you have to do bad things to fit in.’ But the cool kids refused to let him into their groups. He had been miserable, feeling he would never make any friends. “What I learnt,” he told me, “was that all you need to do is be yourself and be nice to people and you just end up making friends.”

I thought, wow, I could never have figured that out on my own as a fourteen-year-old. He’s smarter than I am!

He’s a dedicated gamer, still loyal to Fortnite, though he branches out to other online games now and then. His mobile phone has morphed from occasional gaming to now being part of his daily arsenal, always close at hand, for gaming, emailing, messages and instagram. He would no more think of leaving the house without it than he would think of leaving without his pants. He navigates between the real world and the virtual one with seamless ease and is fluid with the language for both.

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He’s also the hippest guy in town. His conversation is rife with slang, “Yo, yo, yo” “Bro” “R.I.P” and “whatsup.” Virtually every second sentence is followed by, “I’m joking!” He laughs uproariously over ‘jokes’ that are not funny.

At fourteen, he’s going through periods of rapid growth in which he grows several inches in several months followed by periods of slow development. He’s hungry all the time. I don’t where he puts it, but the grocery bill is definitely growing with him.

He’s very talkative. I’m glad he still talks to me and feels he can tell me what’s going on in his life. When he confides in me I try not to have big reactions, like when he told me he’d been bullied, or when he cried for having no friends, I try not to over react in a way that would make him shut down or feel unsafe talking to me.

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My role is to listen and be as neutral as possible.

He doesn’t often want my opinion anyway. He’s convinced he knows everything. When I give advice, he usually won’t take it until he’s done it his way, figured out that doesn’t work and has come back, realizing he might like to give my idea a try after all.

Everything’s tested.

He has begun to socialize with friends in public places. So far, he’s independently organized three get-togethers with friends at the mall and at the cinema, where they were able to hang out while still within a lighted, relatively secure environment. Though I was nervous at first, he handled everything without a problem.

He’s flexing his wings and taking short flights from the nest. He’s discovering how far he can go.

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It’s appropriate he learns now that with turning fourteen and getting to do his own thing comes more responsibility. He can stay up later, but later bedtimes have to be earned. He’s got to make his own bed every morning and prepare his own snacks from now on. In return for extra chores, he can earn some pocket money. He’s learning that he can have more if he does more.

He can talk to me about anything, but he needs to be respectful and use clean language. If he snaps at me, he has to apologize. He can make his own snacks and food, but he has to tidy up afterwards. He can play digital games, but only once the chores and homework are done. He has his own computer, phone, and Xbox, but is only allowed to use them in the communal living room, and is not allowed devices in the bedroom. A balance of open-mindedness, love, and reassurance is best when it’s levelled out by principles and healthy limits.

Kids need both love and rules to thrive.

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Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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Parents are the bones on which children sharpen their teeth. ~ Peter Ustinov

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Comments
  1. Yes ! We learn so much thanks to our children. And we are filled with joy when they manage to travel the pitfalls better than we did !
    If your son is better equipped to navigate the world as a teenager, think that you played a large part in it and did the right things. Thanks to these new generations, the world is slowly but surely becoming a better place…they now have to concentrate on elbowing out the old assholes (sorry) who are still making poor decisions about the future !
    Enjoy them while the nest is full ! They fly away…but they come back…and multiply !
    Love Peter Ustinov’s phrase. Where do you find them all ! Will you impart your secret quote source, someday ?
    Happy writing.

    Like

  2. Yes ! We learn so much thanks to our children. And we are filled with joy when they manage to travel the pitfalls better than we did !
    If your son is better equipped to navigate the world as a teenager, think that you played a large part in it and did the right things. Thanks to these new generations, the world is slowly but surely
    becoming a better place…they now have to concentrate on elbowing out the old assholes (sorry) who are still making poor decisions about the future !
    Enjoy them while the nest is full ! They fly away…but they come back…and multiply !
    Love Peter Ustinov’s phrase. Where do you find them all ! Will you impart your secret quote source, someday ?
    Happy writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Wonderful, wise words. I appreciate the advice, Susan.
      I am definitely enjoying the boys’ teenage years a lot.

      As to my quotes, the answer is simple, I gather them everywhere I go. I have a “Great Quotes” file on my desktop. Every time I see a quote I like on social media, or that I read in a book or magazine, I take the time to add them to the file. I started collecting them about six years ago, and the file has grown to about a hundred pages! I love a good quote.

      Liked by 1 person

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