My Happy Little Boy // raising teens //
Once upon a time, not too long, but seemingly forever ago, a little boy full of smiles and dirt would play outside for hours. Not a care in the world. Always making people laugh by putting on his sisters clothes, which happened to be way to small for him or falling from the monkey bars. Or running into things to make it seem like he was hurt to get a laugh. The little boy that had no shame.
He was so happy once, just like all the little kids running around the park, eyes full of wonder.
That same little boy now unhappy with just about every aspect of his life. That little boy will show up every once in a while when we are outside and he falls off his skateboard. That little boy will show up every once in a while when there are water balloons around. That little boy is now a teen that is fully rebellious. That same little boy now unhappy with so much in his life.
I can't help but wonder if it was the way he was raised. Was it something in the way he was parented? Was it the lack of time he spent with his father after we divorced? Was it something in the kids he hung out with? Did we not take enough family vacations? Maybe something from the area he grew up in? Did he read the wrong books? Was it that time he was bullied in elementary school? The list of questions can be endless...and overwhelming. But what was the real issue? It could not be just me because I have more than 1 child and he is the only one (so far) that seems to like to be unhappy. I can not blame myself or his father for how he acts, for the rebellion, for the unhappiness he displays. The way he acts is just that, the way he is.
It is so easy for all of us to say, well that wont be me. My son will be happy forever. And I do hope for you that is true. But there are some moms out there reading this thinking it is their son. There are moms out there questioning how they have parented their children. Those are the moms that feel like they have some direct impact on how their teen is feeling.
The truth is that you are a good mom. I know I listen. I give feedback. I have always been active at their schools. We roadtrip and travel as a family. We sometimes stay up too late. We take a day off of school here and there to just hang out at the beach. We talk about school and friends. We do things like a normal family. I let all my kids make their own decisions so they can learn from them. But even with all the normalcy some kids are just not happy. Everything he gets has some negativity attached to it. He drags the negativity with him when he's out but if he doesn't go along with us he feels like he is missing out.
He does want to go the whole 4 years of high school. He does not want to have children young, like his father. He wants to be apart of the Coast Guard when he is older. He wants to work hard young and retire so he can live in the middle of nowhere on a huge piece of land. So he is unhappy with day to day things but he does have goals and wants to live well. It just seems so far off because all of this day to day negativity is draining. Not only to him but to me. There are so many misconceptions about what mental health issues look like. It's not just dark and days on end hiding inside. It's not just dyed hair or tattoos and piercings. It's not just a certain type of music they are listening to. It's hours of fun in the sun. It's playing video games with little brothers. It's being outside skating. It's hiking with family in the mountains. You can not at all tell by looking at him or talking to him that he deals with this. You would think he was just a normal, happy little boy....but he's not.
And I can not from this point on where the story will head next but I can say is that I get it. We have been there, we are there.