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On raising boys and how to get them to talk

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My kids were born without birthmarks. After the newborn redness, flaking and cradle cap had gone, their skin was an even pink canvas without a mark on it.

I remember their first birthmarks, they popped up sometime during their first year. It was fascinating. I never felt sadness over the fact that my babies were ‘growing up’.

With every milestone and every additional hour they slept at night, life got continuously better.

It’s true that some days the only redeeming factor was The Cuteness. The good news is that the bad from those days is long forgotten now and only The Cute remains:

Exhibit a:

Toddler

Exhibit b:

Baby

This baby cuteness does fade with time a bit but overall – kids.get.better.with.age.

My kids are at totally the perfect ages right now. They’re no longer physically exhausting and even though they sometimes can be mentally exhausting, as long as they let me sleep at night I can handle it.

And even though they’re no longer bald with gigantic eyes and teeny little teeth, they’re still pretty cute!

My oldest is now a teenager whose feet are bigger than mine, who all of a sudden needs to wash his hair every single day, who’s getting braces in 2 months, whose body is dotted with birthmarks and whose face has a couple of first time pimples.

He’s so adorable though. And he loves to hug and I can still pick him up (you thought I did Crossfit for abs?) and he still wants to be tucked in every night.

And we talk. About everything.

I grew up without adults ever really talking to kids, just giving instructions. With my kids I talk about everything.

My teen and I talk about everyday school / friends / movies, etc. stuff but we have also talked about sex, porn, consent, respect, body image, fitness, friendship, Trump, Brexit, plastic surgery, self image/confidence, depression, therapy, alcohol, drugs, finances, mortgages, happiness, peer pressure, bullying, standing up for others, charity, environment, homelessness and lots about my Soviet childhood.

We normally talk at bedtime but we often also talk while going for walks on weekends, just the two of us.

He says he enjoys our walks & talks. I read somewhere that teenagers open up more when they are not required to be in eye contact and when they’re doing something physical.

Walking is therefore totally ideal to get your teen to talk.

Many preach the importance of family dinners but our family dinners are a bit chaotic and silly. Sometimes serious topics are discussed but I’ve noticed that both kids talk more from their soul when they have alone time with either parent.

My other kid, the one who’s 9, does deep&meaningful less but he told me the other day that his best friend has a six pack and keeps asking him why he doesn’t have one. So we talked at length about bodies and muscles and differences between children and teens and adults, and what is fitness and health and friendship.

It’s nice talking to them. I see how one is more susceptible to peer pressure than the other. The teen, who is less, says he’s immune because “Mom, I wear Crocs with socks!” The pre-teen is more affected by what his peers think and tends to bottle things up longer (totally my child).

I hope that they’re both learning every day though that talking feels good and bottling things up inside doesn’t.

I don’t ever want my boys to “man up” or feel they have to deal with things alone.

Talking and sharing is amazing.

I’m not good at it myself when it comes to other adults (hence I’m in therapy where I PAY to be able to talk without fear of judgement) but I hope my kids will not grow up like me.

I hope they will know that talking is cool and helps you sort out a lot of things inside, that it gives you another person’s perspective, helps you see the world from a little bit further than just your own nose and that people who love you never make fun of your feelings and thoughts.

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