Boy to man advice please!

May 11, 2009 at 12:44 PM 6 comments

My son is 13, soon to be 14, and it feels as if he is refusing to grow up. He remains attached to me and I feel awful when I tell him he needs to break free and become more independent. He seems to quiet down but reverts to the same needy state. He will not make decisions for himself and I am simply at a loss when he just sits around waiting for me to give him direction. HELP!

Entry filed under: boys, Raising a Teenager, teens. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Happy Mother’s Day! It’s been a long day in beautiful Scott…

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Geffen Liberman  |  May 12, 2009 at 11:36 AM

    Hi. What you are describing is not that uncommon, especially for a single mom and her son to be going through. Remember, being 13-14 is incredibly scary and confusing. He is just trying to hang on to his rock(you). Honestly, chances are he will grow out of it, but if you want to do something, have him talk to someone who is not emotionally attached to the situation(an adolescent coach or someone like that, and no I am not plugging myself, any coach or teacher/mentor that is good with adolescents will work). Sometimes at that age, teens tend to take life lessons a little easier than when they come from a parent. Also, the more people he has on his side the better he will feel about himself, which is huge at his age. So much more to get into but I will keep it brief. You can email me if you want more info and I hope that helps. Also, remember to be grateful, there are much worse things a lot of kids his age are into already.

  • 2. Geffen Liberman  |  May 12, 2009 at 11:37 AM

    Sorry, I don’t know who wrote this blog so I should not assume you are a single mom. In reality, this is common for any single parent with a teen aged child.

  • 3. - for single parents  |  May 12, 2009 at 5:26 PM

    Geffen, thank you for your comments. I am a single mother. I appreciate you telling me that there are much worse things he can get into. I am so grateful that he is such a great kid. He’s sweet, smart – brings home great grades, and he’s considerate to everyone’s feelings. It pains me to want him to break free because I would want him to be as loving towards me forever but I worry that he will become a momma’s boy and will miss out on doing things with kids his own age. He’s very shy and will not approach anyone unless they approach him. It’s as if other kids have to try a little hard in order to get him to play with them. He’s not into sports or anything that has to do with a crowd. He likes to keep his friends to 1 or 2 and usually chooses friends who are not fortunate or have a much lower IQ than he does. The majority seem to be from single parent homes too. Is this a pattern? I’ve seen many single parent kids who are very active and aggressive. I’ve raised my son with a lot of love and playfulness but also very strict when it comes to respecting his elders. Other kids don’t seem to have any of this. Sometimes I wonder if I’m wrong for showing him so much love and affection and then I think that perhaps it’s the area. So, we very recently moved to a new neighborhood where the kids are much nicer and best of all, having good grades is actually cool and not a cause for getting picked on.

    In his previous school I tried having the school counselor speak to him and it didn’t work. They’re all women and I think he needs a man’s perspective. I think with the recent move, all by his request (something I’ve wanted for years) will make a big difference. But I want to start off on the right foot. I have a boyfriend now and he plans on spending time with him on the basketball courts and do other activities so he can feel confident with others even when I’m not around. I will consider having him talk to someone too.

    Having more insight into my story, any other advice you can offer? Should I let time play a role for now and put my worries aside for about 6 months?

  • 4. Geffen Liberman  |  May 12, 2009 at 7:22 PM

    In my opinion, you are a great mom. Not that you need me to tell you that, but you may be surprised at the number of parents who would never move”only” because of their kid. Also, him learning to respect his elders will only help him in the long run. You are correct on your observation. To many of our youth today do not have enough love given to them, therefore they do not respect their elders or anyone else. The best way to determine how somebody feels about themselves is to observe how they treat others. Those young people who do not respect others do not love themselves. This is incredibly sad, but your son stands to deflect some of this because he is being brought up that way. Moving him to a place where he gets positive reinforcement for taking positive actions is great. We all need positive feedback, especially when our psyches are developing. There is no such thing as to much love, especially when it comes to maternal instinct, which is the most powerful force on the planet. Sadly, the majority of school counselors out there do not meet my number one criteria(an ability to really communicate with teens) for really helping young people. The key is finding someone who your son can relate to, not the other way around. All adults can relate to teenagers because we have all been there. Teenagers need some adults that they feel they can connect with. A bunch of my clients and their parents in similar situations than the one you are describing have been having some success in a simple exercise. They watch a very positive movie or read a positive book(by positive I mean real life positive such as “The Secret”, or Chicken Soup For The Soul) and then they discuss it. The goal being for the young person to begin to think about how they want to take ownership in their own life. I have gotten really positive feedback from that exercise. But as I mentioned earlier, chances are your son is just looking for some solidarity in a very changing world. Also, very sad but very true, chances are that a huge majority of people his age in the area will engage in destructive decision making over the next few years. If he stays close to you, he may avoid these pitfalls, so balance is extremely important. He may not be into sports, but he is into something so try to find other people that are into the same things and connect them. Bringing the boyfriend in the picture is an excellent idea. Also, his finding friends of the same or lesser situations is very typical. There is comfort in what you know. Remember, being a teenager has always been hard, it is darn near impossible in this day and age. It sounds like you have been your son’s champion his whole life. He may just be telling you in a subtle way that he is not quite ready to push off and do his own thing. This will come in time. Good luck and sorry if I am long winded, this is a subject of passion for me. Don’t hesitate to ask anything more.


  • 5. - for single parents  |  May 12, 2009 at 8:59 PM

    No apologies needed. I need to hear more so feel free to write a book for me here if you’d like. 🙂 It’s funny you mentioning ‘The Secret’. I just bought the DVD last week and we watched it as a family. My son really enjoyed it. We are going to make a habit of watching it at least once a week.

    It brings tears to my eyes when you say that he’s telling me in a subtle way he’s not ready. He flat out tells me (and not just recently, has been for years) that he does not want to grow up. He loves being a kid. And who can blame him?! I’ve had so much fun raising him. We travel and do a lot of great activities together. Something most of the kids in his prior school did not experience. I have a feeling a lot will change in the coming months – all for the better. And that hopefully I won’t experience teenage nightmares like many parents out there because we are so close. 🙂

  • 6. - for single parents  |  May 12, 2009 at 9:03 PM

    And BTW, he made his own breakfast this morning! And I’m not talking about cold cereal in a bowl. He scrambled his own eggs. I’m so proud of him. 🙂 It’s only been 1 week since our move and I already see positive changes.


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