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Mother of a Teenager

It’s official, today, I am the mother of a teenager! My oldest turns 13 today, and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience easing me into the teen years. He is such a kind hearted boy, who makes me laugh more than pretty much anyone.  I know when he walks up to me and starts playing with my hair, that he wants something–he’s smart!  I have really loved relating to him on more of an adult level the past year or so–not a kid anymore. I enjoy our conversations, and I’m trying my hardest to give him space, not be too nosy, not as SO many questions, while still showing interest and encouraging him to share things that may be uncomfortable for him. An open dialogue is important to me, and I’m tip toeing into this stage–cautiously optimistic–knowing it can change. But I’m fighting for it, yes I am. I’ve found that back scratches give me a pretty good advantage.

In 7th grade this year, he started on the Cross Country team, playing community soccer with his brother on the same team and dad coaching, in the Honor band for tuba, and is on the road to achieve his Eagle Scout in just over a year. I’m not the bragging type (thought that was a bit braggy), but I’m just impressed with him, how responsible he is, still getting amazing grades at school with all on his plate. Trying to figure out how to reduce the load, so I can see him more, but I think it’s the beginning of the inevitable–the busy teenager. I wish he wasn’t so hard on himself, but it may be part of the role of the oldest/part personality. He is his fathers son, and I remind myself of that when I see traits that are different from how I would do things. I drive him to school each morning, and when he gets out to walk away, as he closes the door, he looks back with a grin…because he knows I want to make eye contact and give a final farewell smile. I love that…he could just walk away, but he looks back, he gives me that moment.

Teen Pictures

He says that he isn’t officially 13 until the time he was born, and I fight him on it. It’s his birthDAY, the time isn’t important, though it’s fun to “take note.”

I’ve been reading the book, How to Talk so your Kids will Listen, and Listen so your Kids will Talk, off and on, and it’s given me some really great insight onto how I can do things differently.  It’s changed my thinking. How to teach my kids to trust in their instincts, and do things instead of saying, “I’m so proud of you” say, “Aren’t you proud of yourself?” We don’t want them to live and work to please us, but to be happy with themselves. THAT builds confidence and self esteem, not always seeking for our approval. I want my kids to be independent, happy with themselves, trusting in their instincts, following the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. As they make good decisions, I believe they will have that guiding them.

I’m so grateful for this boy in my life…as a son…and as an example of kindness and goodness. I’m impressed with his maturity, even if he does like to see my disgusted reaction from a long string of burps. I’ve started collected quarters when it gets out of hand!  I just love this boy, and I want him to know that no matter what….he is loved.

mothers love

So tell me, do you have a teenager? Have you raised teens? Seen how others raise teens and tell yourself “you’ll never do that?”

I’d love some advice, thoughts, insights, suggestions, stories, whatever you’ve got! I love learning from others experiences!

Kristen Duke

Kristen Duke

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Kristen Duke
Kristen Duke
Kristen Duke
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Comments

  1. Happy birthday! What a lovely post! He looks so much like his dad!

    Obviously I can give no advice, my baby is 11 weeks old :) But I can pray that God blesses you, inspires you and keeps this relationship beautiful, even when the years to come have their natural teenage bumps.

    You’re an amazing mom!
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  2. I can’t give insight as to boys since mine are eight and one, but it seems that boys just get along better with their mothers. My oldest (and only daughter) will be fourteen in March, and she has been a handful. She has my attitude and her dad’s temper. It’s really hard for me to let go of the reigns. I want to teach her all the things I’d listened to when my mother was trying to tell me. I want to save her from any heartache that I can. It’s definitely a learning process.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      It is a learning process, and different for each child! Sometimes, I find writing it in a letter helps me say everything I want to say, and make sure they hear it all(because they can read it over and over).

  3. Happy birthday!

    I love this post. It really is true what they say about the days are so long, but the years fly by, isn’t it? I don’t have a teen yet, and the thought scares me a little. ;) It sounds like you are going to navigateit well!

    I love the picture of the two of you at the end of the post. So sweet!

  4. This is such a beautiful post. It brought tears to my eyes! My son will just be 2 this December, so I have no teenager advice. But enjoyed reading this since I always worry once my little guy gets bigger I will lose him. You instill hope that our wonderful relationship can maintain regardless of age! And I will have to check out that book when the time comes. I hope to have an open and honest communicating. Thank for sharing a post like this! And happy birthday to you and your oldest!!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      SO many wonderful stages in a childs life, I loved 2, and I love 13, also! Just love, look him in the eyes, show interest even when it’s easy to just let them be-because you’re tired. It’s worth the fight!

  5. My oldest just turned 13 this month too and in an effort to get advice for her that she would value I put together a book of advice from her family, close friends, coaches, teachers, etc. I just posted about it here:http://greattobetogether.blogspot.com/2013/10/choose-to-be-happy-and-other-great.html

    You’ll do awesome, your boy is lucky to have you as his mother!
    xo

  6. Jacqueline says:

    So sweet! Wishing you all the best as you enter this new phase of motherhood!

  7. I am 6 months away from having a teenage boy and while there have been a few tiny bumps, I feel like we are on the right track. It’s nerve wracking though because you just want to know you are handling it with the right amount of freedom/guidance. It’s a tough balance. I’m going to check out the book you recommended. My big fear is that my already quiet 12 year old goes completely silent and I’d love some methods for making sure that doesn’t happen. Sounds like your son is doing a great job of being a 13 year old already…kudos to you!

  8. I am the mother of four. Three of which happen to be teens and the baby is only a year away. I just sent my oldest to college this year and I fear the empty nest stage is closer than it may seem.

    As for advice, you said it best at the beginning. Keep that line of communication open and honest. The road for boys is far different than it is for girls. Make sure your husband is EVER present and available to talk when your son needs a man’s understanding and help. As the mother, your availability to your son is equally important but looks a little different.

    Give him space but keep a close eye on anything that may seem different. That is when he will need you most and will need your understanding, patience and boundaries. Keep loving him!

    These are truly some great years ahead. Enjoy every second!

  9. Ha, why yes I do have a teenager – 15 yrs old & 99% joy. He’s my IT department, my chore boy, my organized, willing to help with anything, straight A student, funny & FUN kid. I think the hardest age was 11-12, that was the only time he got into a bit of trouble at school. And it’s funny, because my other one is 11 & is way more moody (also a boy). Mostly happy but I do get a lot of eye rolling & heavy sighs when asked to do something. Just keep those lines of communication open & you will do great!!!
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