Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Teenager angst...it sucks

I have a teenager. He is in angst and it not only affects him but it affects the whole family. He has been in a funk for about 3 days now. On and off this has been happening for the past few months but everyday he wakes, I hope that I will see a smile on his face and hear something out of his mouth other than "whatever".

He'll be 15 soon and I notice his body radically changing. I hear that in order to do all that physical developing, the part of your brain that does the rational thinking, shuts down. As a mother though, I can't help but worry...is this normal or has something horrible happened to him? Is he doing drugs, has he found new friends that are a bad influence? Some of the signs could point either way. He has taken to wearing these baseball caps sideways and has found a pair of sunglasses to wear with them. I think he looks ridiculous and wonder who he is trying to imitate. This is probably normal teenage behavior though, right? Pushing limits, trying to find your identity, trying to "fit in"?

School is not going well for him. He begins to try, continues to get low scores and then gets frustrated and gives up. He has been tracked in his current school into academically low Science, Language Arts and Math classes. The science and language arts class are filled with kids who are struggling. These particular classes are supposed to be geared to their level. Now that he has been in school for almost seven months it is apparent that these classes are a breeding ground for sluff-offs and kids who have already checked out. Surrounded by kids who don't care and have given up, my teenager has risen to the occasion - acting like his peers, he sluff-offs and has started to check out.

I truly believe that you become what you surround yourself with. I learned this concept of "adders" and "subtractors" in a leadership course I took. We need to surround ourselves with adders; adders are the people that enrich your life, encourage you to do your best and be the best you can be. They like you for who you are and encourage and help you to reach your goals and full potential. You feel comfortable in their presence, you trust them. "Subtractors" are the opposite of "adders". Subtractors crave positive attention, validation and give nothing back. They are constantly negative and will suck you dry if you let them. There are times in our lives we have been both and we have surrounded ourselves with both. The teenager is being a subtractor and surrounding himself with them.

There is also this concept of "multipliers" and "dividers" which I will save for another day as this blog has quickly become very long winded... although very theraputic.

Thanks for listening.


Scrumpy's Baker said...

I can't even handle my Miniature Schnauzer, let alone a teen. Hang in there!

Maggie said...

My son took Art and easy classes right up to freshmen year. My daughters always told him. Art classes are usually for kids that slack off in school. And they were right. His grades were always bad, for someone who took easy classes. He almost failed freshmen year, that's how bad it finally had gotten.
The following year, I told him no Art, no easy classes. Sophmore year, I seen an improvement and he got involved in football. Tried out for quarterback and made it. He's a Jr now, and is taking advance classes and still quarterbacks for his team.
"Forcing" him to pull himself out of that environment, has done wonders for his self esteem. We're the parents. We have more control than we realize sometimes. We're just afraid of hurting our kids feelings. ITs called tough love. :)
Hang in there... It can get better!

carla said...

saw your comment and accompanying avatar at scrumpys and had to check out your blog.


now, mine is only 2 (the child not the avatar :)) yet Im pretty much your age (slow starter I guess).

I look forward to the MULTIPLIERS and DIVIDERS post as I wholly agree with the 'you are what you surround yourself with' in ALL ASPECTS OF LIFE.


Latin Lupe Lu said...

Thanks for all your support. It is much needed. The teen has been like Dr. Jekell and Mr. Hyde lately...yikes!

Lucas said...

Hang in there Lupe. You and me both know, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.....and he hasn't killed you yet has he??

You are awesome and someday he will beg your forgiveness. Just love him. Love him fiercely. Love will perservere. Love will find a way......wait? Isn't that a song?

Love you!

Amy said...

In an effort to calm your spirits, I'd tell you how I was when I was 15 and the things I was doing, but you were there, weren't you? Ahh..I think I'm my own worst nightmare for a parent with a troublesome 15 year old! Maybe I better NOT tell you! It scares even me now!