Thursday, January 8, 2009

My Little Man - Help Me Please!

I've been in bed all day feeling lousy. Never a good time for me mentally, not to mention physically. But it is time to think and now I'm writing to help me gather some thoughts about a problem I'm having.
The problem is My Little Man. That's the thing I call him as a term of endearment. Ashley is "The girl I always wanted." Grace is "My special girl." Jordan is "My little man." And I so desire for him to be a man instead of the stage he is in right now. It's this place of being 13 in a body that's more like 11 and a mindset that goes from 7 to 13 to 10 to 12 to 9 all within the course of a day.
Jordan has always been able to make us laugh. He's always been funny. He's always been silly. He's always been a goof. If he harnesses those qualities he will be a fine comedic actor. Right now they seem to be used too often at the wrong times.
Jordan has also been our most sensitive child. And I worry that I have mis-parented the sensitivity right out of him. But I won't use this blog to bash myself too much.
At 13 we are really struggling with his lack of responsibility and his poor choices. He seems to be processing things so literally that it makes me crazy. Here is one example: After church I told him to stop running and jumping in the church. Moments later I watched him jump off the platform stairs. I called him over and said "What did I just tell you to do?" "Stop running and jumping." "What were you just doing?" "Jumping." "Why did you do that when I told you to stop?" "You said to stop running and jumping. I was just jumping." UUUUUUUUUUUGGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So often we give him instructions that aren't followed. So often we ask him to do things only to find out that he didn't do them.
Before I get you thinking too poorly of him I am SO proud of how he has improved his studies this year. Every year we have struggled with school and homework. This year he is finally doing well and getting his homework done and turned in. Jordan is creative. He loves to draw and continues to get better at it. He has the musical genes. He is going to All State Honor Choir next weekend and has auditioned for the Wizard of Oz at his school. He's interested in how things work and interesting facts about people, places and things.
We have him playing Recreational Basketball, which he seems to like. Outside of that and school he doesn't really interact with kids his age. I worry about My little man, who would rather play with his 7 year old sister and cousin than with the older kids.
So, if you can give me any encouragement I'm open. I really lost it with him tonight. I just couldn't take his arguing, excuses, lack of responsibility and attitude that I worry I have fostered. Again, I'm not blogging about my lacking parenting skills right now.
Thanks for your help and prayers and empathy and encouragement.

12 comments:

Rick Moore said...

Don't sweat it, Don - he's right on schedule. 13 is a confusing age for boys. They're not sure what they are at that age. He'll mature more slowly than Ashley did (boys always do) but he'll get there eventually. The responsibility issue probably won't improve much for awhile. It's all part of growing up and figuring out what he's supposed do be doing and when.

I had some of the same concerns about Eric at that age, but now that he's 17 he's become quite a great kid. In fact, he's going to Rockport with me again in the morning (he went with us last year too). He's great to have along.

Jordan will get there, it'll just take some time.

Linda said...

I'm not really sure I see an issue. He sounds perfectly normal and right on track. I think it's a blessing if he'd rather play with his younger sister than hang with the big kids. Kids mature at their own pace. And I know with my own, my son is maturing much slower than my daughter did. Boys are like that. I think your example of Jordan with the running AND jumping is classic! Made me giggle. At 13 I would be concerned if he didn't argue or test his limits.

What sort of responsibilities do you give your son? This could be an area where you appeal to his sensitive side and can nurture developing maturity. Things like caring for an animal, tending a garden, or short stints at babysitting, really work for my son. As long as I don't present it as a chore or come down too hard if he's slacking.

Hang in there ... it's quite an adventure isn't it?

Anonymous said...

I have found that when I let my 13 crawl in bed and rub his back a little bit. His heart opens up as does his mouth. He just wants to be heard, wants to know he has what it takes.

Chris Hyde said...

Just here to say that I understand. My oldest is 13 and a boy too. I struggle to understand why he reacts to things the way he does...why he acts to mature at times and immature at other times...and I struggle to know how to handle the emotional mood swings. He is very sensitive too...he gets hurt very easily...so I feel it is hard to know how to respond to him. So I get it. I don't have answers...but I'm another parent who really understands what you're going through!

Robynn's Ravings said...

Take heart! I have a 13 yr. old boy as well and I think your son is perfectly normal. My son has always been comfortable playing with younger kids as his regular friend group were all 1-2 years older. That meant they could all jump higher, run faster, and hit harder. And he always came in last.

When he plays with younger kids he is very nurturing and kind. I have had moms ask if he could hang out with their younger kids and the littler kids flock around him. He has always looked forward to being a dad and these younger relationships help him build those skills. AND someone is looking us to HIM. That's nice for any of us. Keep working but don't dispair. He sounds like a normal, and GREAT, kid.

godsidekurt.com said...

Your doing better than you think you are. Parenting is NOT easy through the adolescent years...I dont know from the parent perspective but I definitely know it from the students perspective. Your son is going through sooo much change he is alot like a fighter pilot who looses his sense of up and down because of how many times he has flipped. Pray for patience...know that being a perfect father is impossible but being a present one is. Learn from THE Father...how does He treat us Little Men? What worked better a kick in the pants or a pat on the back?

Anonymous said...

Don,
Your wel-meaning friends that say Jordan's behavioral issues and irresponsibility are normal are right if you judge normal by what other kids do. I wouldn't give you 2 cents for most people's kids. The fact is your children can be obedient and responsible and it IS ABSOLUTELY A PARENTING ISSUE. Most parents are just too lazy or uninformed to do it right. Let me suggest two books: Have a New Kid by Friday AND Making Your Children Mind Without Losing Yours, both by Dr. Kevin Leman. You and your kids will all be glad you read these. Read Making Your Children Mind first.

Your reaction to Jordan was just that - a reaction. What you want to do is RESPOND not react. By responding you will teach RESPONSIBILITY. Remember, God does not REACT to us, He responds. He wants us to be responsible and obedient to Him. Our kids have to learn the same in relation to earthly fathers as we are to learn with our Heavenly Father.

Hang in there brother! and pray!

Anonymous said...

Hey Don,
I'm not sure who left the last comment on Jan. 26, but I, too, just finished reading "Making Children Mind without Losing Yours." It is great! This was my second read. I read it back when Alan was 2 and now I wish I would have remembered a lot of the tips in there. With anything, you take what works for you and leave what doesn't. The book has changed my thought process on how I react/respond. With anything...it is a work in progress. Parenting is hard work and I'm on this journey too! Don't give-up!
Cheryl
(your sis)

Anonymous said...

I'll add another note. I care deeply about families and children. Here is a major key and an important part of the professional work I do. Your relationship with Jordan is the most important part of this whole thing. Every discipline situation is an opportunity to build relationship. Try to understand where he is coming from and relate to him on his level. That is what God does with us. He entered our world so that we can enter His. Jordan's #1 need is to have a deep, trusting relationship with his parents. His relationship with you will be the main influence on his perception of who God is (heavy, huh?!). Love is based on the OTHER and fear is based on self. Love influences and fear controls. Love builds relationship and fear builds resentment and rebellion. Control ends at your fingertips and influence has no boundaries. God loves us and so desires to influence, not control. He desires relationship with us and has taken huge steps to make that possible. God has no fear! Fear and love are mutually exclusive. Fear reacts, where love responds. Three final suggestions: Love Jordan, Love Jordan, and Love Jordan. Bless you Brother for your caring fatherly heart.

Christine said...

Sounds prety normal. :)

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