SOMWaD: What Is Going On In His Brain?

This SOMWaD (stressed out Mother, Wife and Daughter) is trying NOT to stress (any more than usual), get frustrated/angry and/or go on an emotional crying jag. I am failing miserably on all fronts.  Just WHAT is (or is NOT) going on in my son's brain?

Ok, let me put this in perspective.  In the grand scheme of things, his recent forgetfulness (asked him 4 times to pick something up from a teacher he had last year after NEVER happened) and lack of common sense (using Pledge as an air freshener and NOT waiting to see a teacher after school when she wasn't there at the exact time, but it was obvious that she WOULD be returning as other students were in her classroom) are no big deal.  His lack of focus on schoolwork (yes, it gets done, but forget going the extra mile for an assignment) But in the here and now, as they pile one on top of another, it's driving me over the edge.  (And remember I gave up alcohol for Lent!)

It doesn't help that I truly am obsessively organized (when it comes to most things; you might not think so if you saw the disarray/not quite clean enough home that I live in). While I am not quite the helicopter mom, I confess to being perhaps a mini-copter mom.  I try to keep tabs on assignments and assessments.  When I see a problem, I ask for teacher help/feedback.  If something is wrong (for example, when my son seemed to be coming down with a cold and definitely did not get enough sleep), I let the teachers know.  (Forewarned is always forearmed in my mind.)  I DON'T do my son's work, but I am guilty of nagging him about it.  I don't push for straight As (which I'd love to see, but realistically know is not going to happen), but DO push for him to truly do his best.   This nagging and pushing DOES have its results (at times), proving that when he DOES focus and put in the extra effort it shows in his grades.   You'd think that getting the desired results would make him want to stay on top of things, but KEEPING him on that track is next to impossible.  Furthermore, getting HIM to ask for help is worse than pulling the teeth of ____ (insert the most ornery/mean creature you can think of here).  After all, he is the ONLY child in his class/grade who needs help.  EVERYONE else is doing just fine.  (Go on, roll your eyes.)

There have been arguments, tears and general bedlam in the house recently.  Doesn't make for the "normal' family home that we all yearn for.  While I realize that these tween/teen years are going to be full of ups and downs and all sorts of angst in between, I didn't realize (or perhaps want to face) that it was going to hit so hard and (in my opinion) so early.

Out of frustration, I did some poking around the net and found (which confirmed what I already knew):  "The Prefrontal Cortex (the area of the brain which plays an important role in planning, decision-making, organisation and rational thought) is the last part of the brain to become fully developed." (David Wilcox in his blog post of September 2013:   Furthermore, a Wall Street Journal article by Sue Shellenberger in December of 2016 pointed out:   "Some parents know all too well that boys are slower to develop the ability to pay close attention to whatever task is in front of them. Facing a mountain of homework, early-teen boys may procrastinate or despair, while girls on average can better focus on specifics, step-by-step. The differences hold true across cultures. A 2015 study of 4,850 adolescents from 22 countries found more girls than boys at 12 to 14 show personality traits linked to the ability to pay attention. The gap narrows by ages 15 to 17, according to the study by 49 researchers."

So what's this SOMWaD to do?  (Besides drink heavily???)  I suppose try to stay calm and level headed. (Something I am NOT very good at!)  I found the above mentioned blog has some helpful ideas (scaffolded organization, increase the importance of memory and especially FORGIVE).  Trust me, I'm bookmarking this particular post!  However, one of the most insightful things Mr. Wilcox said was not in his post, but in a response to a comment.  "Basically, your son’s brain is being basted in hormones and the result can be a dramatic. The result is that your son’s brain is being changed, pruned, developed and reorganised – a bit like a caterpillar changing to a butterfly. Somewhere in that process there is a mess of stuff that may not always work the way it did before."

While my son changes and grows, I need to be patient.  In his "metamorphosis" our whole family has the opportunity to grow.  Being aware of that, I hope to take advantage of it.  (That is if I don't go stark raving crazy beforehand!)


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