I used to think that the terrible two’s the most excruciating phase that a parent would have to overcome. That’s when a toddler typically starts to outgrow their baby toys, learn how to potty train or change from a crib to a bed. However, I found out how sorely mistaken I was when a few years went by, and my only son hit puberty last year.
It took me a couple of months to realize what was happening. At first, my 12-year-old son acted hungrier and grumpier than usual. I chalked it up to exhaustion from juggling sports and academics at the same time. It hurt me a little when he preferred to hang out at his friend’s house instead of joining the family for movie nights. But I still suspected nothing.
It only hit me that he was going through puberty when I saw that hair was starting to grow out of his upper lip and armpits. The problem was, I had no idea how to deal with it until the coronavirus outbreak came.
Now, I will never admit it in front of my son or anyone else, but I love this lockdown. My fear of any of my family members acquiring the coronavirus will always be there until the pandemic ends. Despite that, it has given me a chance to help my child squash his raging hormones at home.
These are some activities that we have tried and proven to be effective.
Thinking Before Acting Out
If you think about it, puberty is often associated with rebellion. The reason is that kids going through this stage are dealing with hormonal imbalances. When they stress about something, for instance, their system releases too much stress hormone, thus magnifying their reaction. The same idea occurs if they feel annoyed, upset, or angry, and that makes them rebellious.
After explaining all this to my son, I told him to think before expressing his opinions. I said, “I understand what you may be experiencing, but we do not act out in this house. Instead, use your words calmly to get your message across.” Sometimes, he would slip up, but he already knew how to correct himself.
Due to the lockdown, my son’s football games had to stop. It was not advisable for underaged kids to hang out or run around the park, either.
If my son were not dealing with puberty, I would have said that the lack of activities was ideal for him. However, he had no way to release his pent-up energy, and I knew that it was my duty as a parent to help him with that.
What did I do, you might ask? I built a mini gym at home that my kid and I could use. It had battle ropes, weights, dumbbells, an elliptical bike, a treadmill, etc. My son loved it, especially since I booked an online instructor for him.
That’s correct—I made my son sleep early even when he did not need to go to school. Of course, he told me more than once in the beginning that I was unfair, that all the other kids’ parents were not doing that. But I stood my ground and, after a week, proved that it was the most practical thing to do during puberty.
The reason is that kids around this age contain a lot of melatonin in their system. It entails that having a five- or six-hour sleep will make them either groggy or snappy the next day. Therefore, it is better to adjust their bedtime than to deal with their changing moods.
In all honesty, squashing your child’s raging hormones will never succeed overnight. You and your son or daughter need to work through it together. The more you fight fire with fire, after all, the more problems will come your way.