Parenting Teen Boys, Or How a Mom Can Actually Have a Relationship With Her Son, Conclusion
Welcome! If this is the first post you're reading, you might want to back up to the earlier posts in this series:
So now what? Now that we recognize that we've been nit-picking our sons to distraction, now that we realize what terrific micro-managers we are, what is the next step?
Now we stop nit-picking. We stop micro-managing. We start praying! We start trusting that the Holy Spirit is a far better teacher than we will ever be in the lives of our sons.
Do we still take the opportunity to speak into their lives? Absolutely yes. But we cannot be the only voice, and we need to make more deposits into their emotional "banks" than withdrawals.
I don’t like the color of his tennis shoes? I have to let it go.
I don’t like the project he chose to work on for his English class? I have to let it go.
I don’t like the music he’s currently listening to? If it’s not a moral issue, I have to let it go.
Choose your battles carefully and become an expert in tongue biting over the non-essentials. You will lose that son if you are constantly micro-managing him.
One day when our oldest son was about 14, I remember him yelling in frustration at me, “I can never do anything right!” And he was absolutely correct. He couldn't do anything right because I was making every little thing a big deal — the clothes he wore, the music he chose, the food he would or wouldn't eat, the books he checked out from the library . . . In it all, he knew that I was never even giving him the benefit of the doubt. My heart sank.
Let the non-essentials go. It's time. Remember: Your role begins to change now from mom/parent/authoritarian to mom/cheerleader/Sister in Christ/number one fan.
Instead of looking for all the ways I can correct, all the things he’s doing wrong, all of my opinions that I feel he must know and absorb, I’m instead looking for ways to say, “Hey, that’s awesome! Good for you! You did a really good job there!”
Some of us have kids who dream outrageously. I had one of those, too. He used to tell me all about the penthouse he was going to purchase for himself after he made millions. He wanted to move to Manhattan and drive a Porsche and live the high life. Of course, as the older, wiser human in the conversation, my mental response was, "Uh-huh. Sure."
But listen to how this response to the outrageous dream might feel to a young man who's got one foot in childhood and one dipping a toe into manhood: “You are going to live in a penthouse and have a chauffeur? Great idea! Do that to the glory of God.” I could have said, “That’s the dumbest idea in the world. Do you know how expensive a penthouse is?”, but what’s the point? Life itself will teach him those things in time. Or maybe he'll actually own a penthouse in Manhattan. Either way, be his number one fan.
Life will teach him those things. Be his biggest fan.
Think of how being his cheerleader changes the trajectory for a kid growing up in your home. Instead of telling him, “I could have told you you were going to lose that soccer match. You didn’t get enough sleep, you didn’t work hard enough, and you were lazy all week”, say, “You know what, you got out there and it was hard and did you learn some things from that?”
And here’s that beautiful moment when we can be their humble Sister in Christ who says, “You know what, I’m still learning stuff in my life, too.”
If we are the final word, the one who makes the best choices for them, the one who knows how and what they should be doing, then we’ve just replaced the need for the Holy Spirit in their lives. We lose the opportunity to point them to Jesus when we set ourselves up in His place in their lives.
Finally, if I've learned anything as the mom of five sons, it's that I am a really lousy substitute for the power of God in the life of my sons. I'm a much better cheerleader than team owner. They don't need me to own the team anyway. They need to know that I believe in them, and that I am praying every day for God's glory to shine in their lives!
Did you know that Kendra speaks on the topic of Moms and Teen Boys at churches, retreats, and conferences? You can learn more about how to book her here.