When a mother’s eldest child starts puberty, the mother can often find it difficult to cope. It’s basically a certainty that the child will become more argumentative and express themselves in frustrating ways. But one mother gave another some amazing advice that’s certain to make parental duties much easier for all parents.
The mom of an 11-year-old boy was worried about the changes that he was going through. So she went online and asked a community of mothers.
In particular, she wrote: “How do I tell my wonderful 11 year old son, (in a way that won’t tear him down), that the way he has started talking to me (disrespectfully) makes me not want to be around him (I’ve already told him the bad attitude is unacceptable)?
This thought must cross all mothers’ minds when their eldest experiences the first few stages of puberty.
It sure is a tough situation and one which we all went through as a child. But when you’re the parent, you start to realize just how hellish children are at that point.
It can seem completely impossible to deal with kids when they start to become teenagers, but there is a way.
One other mother, who had successfully navigated her children’s teenage years, gave this mother some truly excellent advice.
Her response began with two words that perfectly summed up the situation: “Ah, puberty.”
And then she got into the problem: “It changes our sweet, wonderful little boys into sweet, eye-rolling, angsty, accidentally disrespectful, but still wonderful young proto-men.”
The advice giving mom then recommended giving the child a specific conversation that she had given to her own son.
First of all, she said that the setting had to be specific. It needed to be while she was driving the boy somewhere. Therefore, the boy couldn’t just walk away and they wouldn’t be forced to maintain eye contact.
Then the advice giver said that the mom should try to say this in her own words:
“I’ve spent all this time talking to you about the way puberty changes your body and what to expect as you go through the changes. But I completely forgot to talk to you about what’s going on in your brain right now. Puberty is the time when your brain grows and changes more than at any other time in your life. So I really let you down by not preparing you for that. I’m so sorry.”
She then said that the mother had to explain to the child why his brain was changing.
The advice giver said to say that up until now, his brain has been for a child. That brain didn’t know how he was going to develop, which bits he would need later in life. But now it has the basic things it needs to start reshaping into an adult brain.
The advice giver then said to explain that the reshaping into an adult brain was hard. That’s why the son was getting tired more easily. And all that tiredness was making him crankier and more impatient.
The mother needed to empathize with the child and tell him that she realized that because of what was happening, he must be frustrated.
The advice giver then explained that when she had got this far into the conversation, her son started crying.
Then the advice giving mom went on and said that the first part of the brain to reshape into adult form was the amygdala. That’s the part of the brain that controls fight and flight instincts. Obviously, that means that emotions are going to be out of control, especially anger. So the kid needed to work extra hard to control those extreme anger emotions.
Then the advice giving mother concluded the talk about the brain.
She said that the last bit to get rewritten was the frontal cortex. That’s the bit that lets people make good decisions and understand the consequences of their actions. So right now, the child had all the anger emotions but not the part to regulate them.
Then the advice giving mother started wrapping up the discussion by saying that because those changes were happening to the child’s brain, he had a responsibility to recognize it and change his actions. And if he made a mistake because of his brain’s reshaping, he still had the ability to realize it and apologize for it afterward.
And the advice giving mom finished by asking her son a favor.
“Can you just keep telling me what’s going on in your head? The more we talk, the easier it will be for both of us to get through this puberty thing unscathed. Yeah?
The son agreed to do this.
Every parent should have this talk with their kids when their brains start to change and they become more aggressive. It could make their teenage years so much easier for everyone.
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