Updated: Sep 25, 2020
Parenting is a journey and like any relationship it can sometimes drive you up the wall. For the most part I feel it is enjoyable and an effortless labour of love, because I’m so emotionally vested in bringing happiness into my family life. People always talk about work-life balance and I think it’s important to prioritise your life based on the level of importance and happiness all the elements brings you.
I feel that family should come first. It’s easy to lose sight of that when you might be in a job that keeps you working round the clock and I’m guilty of that too at times, but when that happens, I make sure that the time I spend with my boys are moments that we can preserve for a long time.
"There are some telling signs that something is bubbling beneath the surface"
I remember my dad working away for months at times because his work required him to travel, but looking back now I don’t really think about the times he wasn’t there, but I think very fondly of all the amazing things we did and great memories we have together when he was around. I feel privileged to have had a father that gave me and my family so much love and attention, whether it was a fishing trip, a braai (BBQ) as we say in South Africa, a relaxing weekend away or just a trip to the park, I always felt that he cared and I hope to have the same relationship with my kids.
However, being a parent can sometimes be exceptionally challenging. You know what I mean by that, all parents will have experienced the same frustrations I have at times. Like when you are having to repeat yourself over and over again and it sometimes feels like you’re speaking to a brick wall. Take my eldest son, he’s 11 years old now and will be starting secondary school after the summer holiday and I can tell that his attitude and behaviour is starting to change. You may be familiar, there are some telling signs that something is bubbling beneath the surface, after all, we’ve all been there! He’s progressively starting to adopt typical teen behaviours. Here’s what we’ve recognised -
Puberty - His body is starting to physically change, he’s getting taller and has started to sweat more and consequently smells of B.O. so he needs to be reminded to use roll-on.
Changing Appearance - he is suddenly more interested in clothing and has developed a fashion sense. He's paying more attention to name brands and the latest trainers celebrities are wearing.
Rebellious Behaviour - He argues a lot and always thinks that he is right about everything, even if his argument lacks conviction. This is usually behaviour that is commonly associated with teens showing their independence.
Mood Swings - As his body is going through hormonal changes, it often means that his emotions are yoyoing and irritable behaviour is quite normal.
"If you stop to consider for a moment what your child might be going through, perhaps it will help you to understand them better"
Thankfully all these things are normal for boys making the transition to becoming a teen and there are no warning signs that indicate any sort of troubled behaviour. Having said that, it really grates my wife because she takes pride in her family and is so nurturing, she cares about his appearance, and thinks it is important to be well groomed and to take care of his appearance because it helps to leave a lasting impression on people you meet. I also get the sense that she feels that his appearance might be a reflection on her, so there's always a bit of a tussle.
The point is, you might be tearing your hair out and feel like your kids are driving you round the bend but if you stop to consider for a moment what your child might be going through, perhaps it will help you to understand them better and there’ll be less friction. After all we are best placed to help educate our kids about these things.
If you suspect your child is experiencing troubled behaviour and you need to talk to someone, then reach out to Family Lives they are a charity that deals with family specific issues and can offer some guidance and advice.
Let us know some of your stories and feel free to comment.