I think we put a lot of pressure on kids these days. It seems to come from all directions too. There is pressure to get good grades, be great athletes, have loads of interests beyond the ordinary kids things, and be responsibly on their path to adulthood. It seems like we expect a great deal from them and leave little wiggle room for error from these learning, growing bodies and minds. They are expected to know so much at the young age of 12 and be able to self-regulate more than I ever remember doing at that age.
I have a very easy going boy who hasn't been hard to parent over these past 12 years. He hasn't needed much punishment. He follows most rules (I mean...he's 12...so, we are bound to break a few). And for the most part, he does what he is supposed to do.
When he has a misstep, I usually become overly frustrated with him. It's so out of character that I tend to probably react beyond what I should. I think this is in part to his easy nature coupled with the fact that he is physically larger than most children his age (he looks me eye to eye now and we haven't even started the real growing yet). I am always quick to assume he is beyond his years because of this, and as a result, typically forget in the moment that he is, after all, still just 12.
Twelve is a precarious age. His body is growing faster that you can say "GROWTH SPURT." But his mind is often still stuck in that little boy age - the age of nerf wars and yu-gi-oh card games. This age is a walking contradiction. The moodiness and boundary pushing are all part of the net result of the contrast between their growing bodies and their still underdeveloped little minds. Sure, hormones play a role in this, but I think this contrast and internal struggle are as much to blame for those epic moods I have been seeing these days.
While I am so excited to see what the world has to offer Graham and what Graham has to offer the world, I really still enjoy these moments that he is just a regular, ordinary, twelve year old boy - playing video games, making little inventions and having nerf wars with his buddies in the neighborhood. I treasure this sweet time with him and never take these small moments for granted. There is a whole lifetime ahead of him to meet deadlines and worry about the future that I am happy to take that burden away from him for a little while. Don't get me wrong...I still am helping him become a responsible person - we meet school deadlines and requirements, have a black belt in karate and chores he tends to around the house. I just think for a while that he needs to just be here in this space.