The puberty years bring with them challenges for kids who are experiencing the changes happening in their body and mind, and challenges for the parents who are trying to understand their maturing child. Conflicts that never existed before with your son, are almost a daily occurrence now.
What can you do?
There are lots of ways you can smooth out bumpy situations like renegotiating expectations, staying calm when they are not, and giving them some space to think through their situations. Fortunately, the list goes on and on, but possibly the one most important suggestion I can give you today is to be affectionate with your son. Practice lots of “son hugs” to help them feel secure and loved. There might even be scientific evidence to suggest this works.
The Role of Oxytocin
There is a brain chemical called oxytocin that is drawing a lot of attention. Moms know about oxytocin because it gets breastfeeding going and is also involved in the birth process. The new data is suggesting oxytocin also inspires relationships to deepen. It is thought that if we show affection to a loved one, this chemical is released in the brain and we feel even closer to that person. It has even been shown that oxytocin is released during sexual intercourse and functions to make the relationship between those two people stronger. That new fact is for another blog but this is why oxytocin has been given the nickname “love hormone.”
Even though there is new proven research about oxytocin coming out all the time, I have no evidence to support my theory but I think this experiment is worth a try. Give your adolescent son lots of “son hugs.” He will likely resist you, but persevere. Let’s see if the “love hormone” works to strengthen your bond with your son when puberty working to push you apart.
Keep Showing Love
I had an interesting experience with my grandson the other day when I was dropping him off at a friend’s house. He is in 10th grade and certainly fighting for any independence he can get. I leaned over and kissed him gently on his cheek as he exited my car. He didn’t say anything but noticed a cute little smile on his lips as he turned his head. He may have had a little release of oxytocin right there!
The oxytocin story, if it can be proven, must work both ways. The “son hug” should help keep your close to your son as well as he walks that wobbly path to independence. It sounds like a win-win to me!