Friday, May 8, 2009

Remote Control

Who here knows what a remote control is?
Ok, stupid question, or is it?
There are remote controls in my home for the TV, stereo, DVD player, ceiling fan, garage door... and I am sure there are some for hubby's techie things that I have no inkling of.
However, I think that in our house we may be missing the most important remote control.
What else is there you ask?
Remote--- means what? Away or from a distance. And Control? Well it means to manage or to have exclusive handling of a thing or person. Look at the words in this way and remote control means to manage a thing or person from a distance. Remote can also mean isolated. So to manage and isolate something or someone...
In our home we are loud and active and , well a bunch of gregarious game-playing, sports-watching, competitive people. Of these the worst is probably the competitiveness, and I am the most guilty. I have always been competitive and have spent my life striving to do better, be more, exceed and succeed at everything and anything that I do.
I now have a 13 year old son who is very competitive, and like all 13 year old boys he is growing. Not just in height, but in physical and emotional ways that teen aged boys cannot adequately be prepared for. This is where the missing remote control comes in ( bet you thought I forgot what I was talking about again, didn't you?) To manage and isolate something... I think that we have not taught our son, me most especially, to manage and isolate his feelings of angst and aggression. To take hold of his competitiveness and funnel that energy and drive into less angry expressions and activities and into more focused and, dare I say it, controlled and structured outlets. And I think that I need to help him find a way to monitor his thoughts so that he does not feel that he has to suppress his feelings and try to be something he is not. Let' s face it. Being a 13 year old boy is hard, but in these times of economic uncertainty, constant peer pressure and the need for approval added to the pressure to succeed in school- from pre-k through 12th grade so you can get into a good college, excel at extracurricular sports as soon as you can walk so you have a chance to get a scholarship and the expectations that every parent has for their child to be THE BEST at everything... Who wants to be 13 again?? Really, anyone? You there in the back jumping about wildly waving your arms... you don't count because you haven't reached puberty yet!
All kidding aside, has our society put these pressures on our teen boys, or have we as 40-somethings who grew up in a time when not everyone could go to college because there was no money, or because we did not realize the good grades had to start in kindergarten or because , well I'll just say it, our parent's didn't go and they turned out fine; are we the ones who have pushed and prodded our children to become over-acheivers, with more hectic schedules than our own, with no down time to just be a normal teen ager with the normal highs and lows emotionally and physically?
In my case I will admit to expecting my son to do his best and be the best at everything he does. This is what was expected of me as a child and I fared not too badly.But, perhaps I have not taken the time to nuture his emotional side and emerging sense of self. Because he is extremely intelligent I find that I expect more from him than of my other 5 children at this age. I have done my son a disservice and I need to find a way to let him know. I also have to find a way to help him voice his feelings and to nuture him and let him grow, inside and out, into the amazing and caring and absolutely wonderful human being that I know he really is.
What prompted me to go down this road to self-awareness and acceptance of my failure ( GOD I hate that word! I hate to fail at anything, but this is the only thing that I cannot afford to fail at-- being THE BEST parent I can be) as a parent to my 2nd son. I expected him to be like his big brother and did not change this expectation as he grew, even though I knew he was a totally different kind of kid. This is my shortcoming as The Mom and I have to take responisibility for this. Again, why am I worried about this at this particular time? He has grown more than a foot and gained over 30 pounds in the last 10 months. He is as tall as I am and stronger than I had imagined. He also has a quick temper and the mouth to go with it. He has gotten into trouble at school for lashing out at other students twice this year. He needs to learn to reign in his temper and to step back, to attempt to see things from another's point of view... he needs to learn that he is not always right and that sometimes the feelings of others are so much more important than being right or being the best... he has to learn REMOTE CONTROL over himself and I think that that lesson has to start at home. And I believe that it will start by him reading this entry and seeing that evaluating ones self is important, but owning up to and changing the things you see are problems is even more so.
I think he and I have some hard lessons ahead, but I KNOW that the missing Remote Control in our house is about to be found and put to use. And I know that he can only get better and be more wonderful because of it.
Me on the other hand, I am not sure how I'll fare, so if I send out an SOS please come rescue me from an opinionated, hard-headed and stubborn young man... oh forget it, he is just like me so I will just have to deal and maybe I will learn a few things from him along the way.
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