If you are raising an adolescent son, you might feel like every day is a game of catch me if you can. It seems to be their daily goal to find a way around you as you strive to guide their tumultuous life.
Don’t be discouraged or lose heart. Try to remember they have three advantages over you.
- They have lots of dopamine flooding their brain. This brain chemical fills them with excitement when presented with a challenge and that challenge is usually you.
- They want to win every time. Again, thanks to dopamine, they aren’t just trying to survive, they want to win. They are driven to hold out until they get what they want because it is all about winning.
- They have endurance because they are young and can probably outpace you. They just don’t seem to run out of energy.
What you have over them is wisdom. Their prefrontal cortex is not fully developed and so you have a big edge in the wisdom department. As the mom or dad, the secret is to always to make them think they are winning, when really you are. You will need to carefully consider how to respond to your adolescent’s demands in a way that they think they are getting what they want.
Here is an example:
Your son wants to go with his friends. You want to make sure who he is with and where they are going. You respond to his request with “Sounds great. I can drop you there.” He thinks he won but you actually made the decision and because you are dropping him there, you get to observe who he is with and what you think about the situation. This is called parental detective work and is an important skill if you are raising an adolescent son.
I could give you so many more examples, but just try a few undercover detective projects and you will be an expert.