Teenage Boys

It’s been awhile since I posted anything personal, and I apologize for the digression.  Let’s just say, it’s easier to try out different subscription services or do little book reviews for you than it is to put my personal biz out there.  But I will be brave, march onward and tell you about some of the crazy in my house.

I only have one son, so I do not claim to speak about all boys in general, just my own 13 year old.  If you have more than one son, this might ring true to only one of yours, or zero.  I don’t know and again am not claiming to be an expert on boys.  More of the opposite, in fact.

This week, Gryphin got in trouble for SPITTING and yelling out the bus window.  Spitting??  Who even spits?  And he was that crazy hooligan child yelling out a bus window at random people on the street.  I was mortified, when the bus driver was telling me about this horrendous behavior.  Yes, I know, he didn’t get into a fight and actually hurt someone.  But that’s just disgusting and I do not even know how thoughts like that would go through someone’s head, much less, my son.  He had to do extra chores, and isn’t allowed to sit on the couch for a week.  Random punishment, yes, but it puts him in his place, and I have to get creative with him.  Clearly.

So that’s just the beginning of this story, an intro if you will, to give you a snapshot of Gryphin.  This story happened about 6 months ago, when Gryphin seriously starting going through puberty.  Voice changing, growth spurt, pimples, awkwardness.  And my little kindergartener spy told me that Gryphin had his phone on the bus.  It’s not a phone with service, just an old iPhone that had very little trade in value, to play music and games, and it was not supposed to leave the house.

When Gryphin got home later that afternoon, I asked him where his phone was.  The trickster went to his room and pretended to get it from in there.  So then I told him that I knew it had been on the bus that day, and he admitted it had been in his pocket.  Phone confiscated.  It didn’t occur to me until the next morning, that I should probably look at the phone.  When I saw it was passcode protected, I knew I was in for a super fun day.

Before school, I asked him for the passcode and asked why there was a passcode in the first place.  He claimed it was to keep his sisters off his phone and messing up his Minecraft nonsense.  Okay, cute story, but is there anything on the phone that should not be on there?  He vehemently denied that I would find anything bad, so I knew, I was going to find something bad.

First, the passcode he gave me was the correct one.  I was nervous he was giving me a fake one, but he did not.  I checked YouTube first, and thankfully it was clean and only had dorky gamer videos.  The same was not true when I went to Google.  He had been Gross Googling, like lots and lots of searches that were super disturbing to read, knowing my then 12 year old had typed them.

Thankfully, he was not home when I made this discovery.  I had time to calm down and plan how to handle it, instead of reacting right away.  I had to make a couple phone calls to other moms, for them to both talk me off the ledge and reassure me it’s normal.  Pornography is so much easier to access than it used to be.  Magazines are a lot harder to come by than a freaking search engine on any phone, tablet or computer that are all over the place in our over-privileged world. #firstworldproblems

When I picked Gryphin up from school, I asked him if he would like to apologize for anything on his phone, which was now definitely no longer “his.”  Nope, he kept on his lying game face and said no.  I knew he was going to play it that way, so I told him that when we got home, he’s going to need to get his bible and a notebook.  I had Googled myself, while he was at school.  I found around 50 verses that relate to pornography and how the body should be seen and treated.  I gave him the list of verses and told him he needed to right down each one.

I checked on him after a little bit, and he had 6 of them written down already.  I asked him again, if he had anything he needed to apologize for doing on the phone.  He hung his head, and confessed to looking at things on his phone that he should not have been searching for.  I was glad he had decided to stop lying, but of course I made him write out the rest.  The more he could see what he did was wrong the better.

I like to wait for Tom to be home for big shiz like this, so I waited for him to be there too to have the talk.  It’s a slippery slope between letting him know it’s normal to be interested in things, but also that it’s not appropriate to Gross Google.  I don’t want to be responsible for any future sexual weirdness or shame.  But I also don’t want a pervert for a son.  Super confusing lines here.  So we had a talk about what he did, and how it’s wrong, and how those girls are someone’s sister out there.  Just trying to give him some perspective outside his weird hormonally charged body.

There are parenting moments both parties will never forget, and we had one.  We made Gryphin stand in front of us and read aloud his Google search history.  He was so embarrassed and pled several times to not have to say it out loud.  Nope, you have to do it.  It’s a lot easier to type something, but when you read it aloud, I feel like the weight of it is so much heavier.  And guess what?  It worked.

Now, six months later, I feel like that super awkward time is past us.  He’s still awkward, for sure, but it’s better.  Like he’s figuring out how to control the hormones.  And maybe this wouldn’t work for all teenage boys, but it worked for mine, so I wanted to share for all you boy moms out there.  Raising boys to become respectful men someday is a huge deal, and I don’t take it lightly, clearly.

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3 thoughts on “Teenage Boys

  1. Anthony

    You are an amazing mom to care so much about your kids and be actively involved. I was once a boy in his shoes. But back in the late ’80s when i was his age, it was magazines in the schoolyard that got passed around from boys to boys. Of course this was pre-internet, but it still didn’t stop boys from wondering and looking at dirty magazines. For me, it put into context the things i was feeling. The raging hormones. One day those women in magazines doing sexual things with men was a dirty thing and the next it was appealing. Looking back, i now know this is when puberty, raging hormones thing kicked off.

    Luckily for me, i wasn’t embarrassed by my parents. One day, the two magazines i had disappeared, so i knew they found them. I’m sure my parents were shocked! But they probably expected something like this. Looking back, it’s almost a rite of passage of sorts, going back to the 1950s and before when young men would pass along dirty magazines to their younger brothers, etc. The way my parents handled it i thought worked great for me. My mom didn’t give me a talking. She let my dad do it. They knew it was the time for the sex talk.

    Even though the magazines were only a visualized version (with the occasional vhs tape) that put into context what sexual acts looked like. My dad described sex to me without beating around the bush. But with that also came warnings of “If you do this, you can get a girl pregnant and you’ll have big problems to deal with”. Along with the STD warning. And of course the use of condoms. All of it embarrassing to hear from you parents.

    But most importantly from that conversation came the topic of RESPECT. He told me i was of age where i’d be dating soon (in a few years) and i’d be out with girls. He taught me to respect girls, no matter what the situation, to always respect them and don’t force them into anything or disrespect them in any way. Because he was mature about the conversation and allowed me to ask questions and was always open with me about it, his message always stuck with me. Even to this day. I’ll date occasionally when i’m not busy with my career and i always respect women. Sure we may go out drinking or find ourselves alone at either place, but that doesn’t mean i’m or she is expecting sex. Specially if alcohol is involved. I’ve always done the right thing in those situations and i always will. And for that, i have my parents to thank.

    There’s a fine line when it comes to the sex talk with your young pre-teen or teen kids. As a parent, it may seem shocking this behavior, but the truth is i hear it from all my mom friends about their kids. It’s normal to want to seek out and look at those things. Bodies are changing, hormones are raging, things are so confusing. The feeling of “love” comes into play when girls give the boys mixed messages and vice versa. It’s such an awkward time for a boy. Mind you, i can only speak from my experience as a boy.

    I consider myself lucky. I’ve seen parents ridicule their kids about this or punish them and embarrass them to the point where it affected them into adulthood. They never had normal relationships or dating lives. The shame that was casted onto them caused them scars that never healed. As adults, in their marriages or living painfully single from the trauma of shame, they are just now seeking therapy for it, because well it’s acceptable today to seek therapy for just about anything. I feel for them. Why couldn’t their parents just be open, stern, caring and informative when it came to sex? Why were they punished so harshly?

    It’s still an uncomfortable subject because everyone has Angels for kids. No one wants to believe at the ages of 11, 12, 13 their kids are discovering the opposite sex and sexual thoughts and feelings. I always feel that parents should be more open with their kids about these things. And offer open channels of communication about it. It’s not easy. But it’s very important for kids to have self respect and respect the opposite sex. And in the age of STD’s running rampant (the statistics will blow your mind!), kids need to know the dangers of things like HPV, HIV and other STD’s that are easily passed around through oral sex (because any teen will tell you it’s safer than sex….*rolls eyes) and can pass person to person asymptomatically.

    Lastly, my older sister did something that i thought was really cool with her daughters when they were teens. She allowed them to have email or social media accounts as long as she always had the login and passwords or unlock codes to their devices. And she’d check. On the random occasion that something questionable between boys and girls was found, she’d question them about it. If she couldn’t have access to what they were doing on the computer or devices, she’d take them away. But the girls always complied. And this was until the age of 18. I thought that was a great way to monitor what their kids were doing online or on their phones. (On a sidetone, but related, there’s a great documentary called ‘Beware the Slenderman’ on HBO. Here you get to see a set of parents that did not know what their daughter was doing online).

    You’re a great mom for being active in your kids life. Even though you may live in the woods, you’ve seen firsthand how technology can bring these sort of things home. But it’s expected. Teens with raging hormones are a force of nature. All you can do is continue to be an amazing parent and support them with life’s ups and downs. It’s not easy and you’ll have your hands full for years to come, but enjoy it while it lasts. They make for great stories to tell later around the holidays. Okay maybe not the super embarrassing ones 🙂

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