Thursday, January 31, 2008

First Day Of School

I'm hoping this blog allows us to share some ideas about parenting teen boys - maybe avoid some pitfalls even act as a place to blow off some steam.

A safe place to rant and rave. At the very least I hope its a place where we can laugh a little about those frustrating, ridiculous situations we find ourselves in when dealing with teenagers - in my case - teen age boys!

New Schools
It's hard to know how to support your kid when he's having a rough time in school.

We move around a lot - the kids don't have a single place they call home. In one respect, we have made 'home' in a lot of different places - it makes us resourceful and flexible. In another respect, we have no roots. Without roots, the stuff that can only tug and pull at you when you are firmly planted somewhere, can rip you right off the ground. Its never the flying right? It's the landing.

Maybe you haven't noticed (like maybe you've been under a rock or something) but teenagers do not immediately accept a new individual into the fold. And depending where you are coming from, and where you have landed, the 'rules of engagement' can be quite different. So - not only is the social language and rhythm different, but no one is offering up the rule book.

In this, my kids are at a supreme disadvantage, they don't have a place within the group. It doesn't matter if your in high school, or starting that brand new fortune 100 executive position; you will be defined, put in a slot and asked to serve a role - do not fold, spindle, or mutilate. That's just what humans do.

So first they ride out the 'new kid mystique' which is always intriguing, though sadly short lived. Eventually the truth is revealed. There will be some in the school just looking for your kid's kryptonite and you know - they're gonna find it.

What's more, the most important players in this encounter are just as confused, frustrated, stressed, impulsive and clueless as your kid is - It's not their fault, they're all amazing works of art -- they just happen to be in the early stages of development - a work in progress.

I listen to them and notice they are trying on all those adult roles we are too familiar with - who's the caregiver, who's the tyrant, who's the pleaser, the leader, the antagonist - the victim. Some are still trying these on and some are already packaged up and wearing it like a fashion statement.

Maybe I have that all wrong - maybe thats all determined long before middle school. But the kids I see are still stretching and inventing themselves. That's one of the coolest things to witness. Sure, we get the fall out of the inevitable social misadventures but hey, that's clearly in our job description.

When an adult starts a new job in a corporation; we are given 30 pages of HR 'get to know your environment', 10 hours of tours and training - meet and greet meetings and on and on. Our kids start a new school and they get about 10 minutes of 'here's your locker' - 'someone showed you around right?' 'your ok? - good, come see me if you have any questions or problems.'

Before I go and drum up dinner, before the guitar lessons and the homework check, the scheduling and the daily 'oh my god, why does the bathroom have to look like this after just one day?!' I hope to hear from someone out there regarding their kids first day - or new kid day - or your own personal first day of school

talk to you soon