When Teens Grow Up Before Your Eyes

As a mom of teens in different developmental stages, there are wake-up calls that remind me that kids grow and change before your eyes. Boys, in watching-teens-grow-upparticular, change overnight, without trumpet blasts that warn you. One weekend reminded me how quickly they change. It went like this.

I got phone call from the Driving Teen.  “Mom, I’m filling the van up with gas, but the gas just goes for a little bit and then stops. What do I do?” I asked questions, but didn’t have an answer that worked. Finally I said, “Go inside and ask for help.”

No, I’m not going to do that,” the boy said. Shocked that he wouldn’t go in and ask for directions reminded me my boy‘s becoming a man. A typical man, at least one who won’t readily ask for directions.

The next morning, the middle school boy came into my room with a spray bottle in hand.

I can’t get my hair to stay down” he said after spraying his head with water for ten minutes.

My shirt collar won’t stay down.”  He said and changed his shirt three times. “I don’t have anything to wear that fits me.” As the middle boy, it’s a fair statement that he doesn’t have clothes that fit him, but he’s never cared about his clothes or hair. Then it hit me – we’re attending a church where there’ll be girls from school. I’m reminded my boy’s becoming a man right before my eyes.

Later that night, I opened the door of my preteen’s bedroom. I stepped over Star Wars figures to open a window. The room reeked of must, dust and turtles.

Mom, why do we have to sweep?  Can’t we wait a couple more weeks?” he asked with an anxious sound in his voice.

I looked around. I’ve dusted the room, laundered the bedding, washed the windows, screens, and baseboards with Pine-sol to eliminate the smell, but it still stinks.  I needed to do a good-old-fashioned sweeping under everything in the room, which stressed-out the child with action figures all over the floor.

“Mom, this battle’s been going on for two weeks now.  Do I have to move it?” he said.

I scanned the “battle.”  There’s an intricate battlefield of action figures spawning a bookcase, marble tower, and three other pieces of furniture. This took hard work, creativity, and time.

I’m reminded this man-boy is still a cub, whose imaginative world is more important than a dusty room.

I told him I’ll sweep around everything except the “battle.”  Two days later the room still smelled musty, dusty, and turtlish.  I bought an air-freshener plug-in, closed the door, and tell myself, I’m raising boys. Don’t rush him, the action figures will soon be gone.

Raising teens and tweens stretches you. Young kids turn into men and women overnight. During the process, they’re growing and changing, needing guidance, space, and time to be a kid. I’m guilty of rushing mine along. The scenes of this weekend remind me once they’re a man (or woman), there’s no turning back.

So we’ve got dusty rooms and messy closets. But I’m thankful for each day to have boy-man in the making.

What moments catch you off guard, reminding you that your teens and preteens are growing and changing? What have been the “aha” moments you’ve learned to treasure? We’d love to hear your stories.

 

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Brenda has a Masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a BA in education. She's a speaker, freelance writer, author, counselor and teacher who's spent two decades working with and raising teenagers. She's a mom of four, from middle school to young adult, and lives with her family on a farm in Indiana. She writes about life, faith, and parenting beyond the storybook image at Life Beyond the Picket Fence at brendayoder.com.

Brenda Yoder

Brenda has a Masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a BA in education. She's a speaker, freelance writer, author, counselor and teacher who's spent two decades working with and raising teenagers. She's a mom of four, from middle school to young adult, and lives with her family on a farm in Indiana. She writes about life, faith, and parenting beyond the storybook image at Life Beyond the Picket Fence at brendayoder.com.

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