Testosterone poisoning: it’s real, it’s horrible and it can result in tragic consequences. Teenaged boys (14 or 15 through to 18’ish) are unable to listen to or understand their native language. They are unable to formulate sentences. They become mostly nocturnal and forage for food constantly when they are in an upright position, during their brief periods of being alert and responsive.
They MUST be treated with caution during this period. They are trying out several mental health issues, sometimes several on any one given day and over react or react aggressively when confronted or feel ‘looked at’. They do not want eye contact and may react with horror to being in the presence of a parent, as this is especially painful to their brains, during the day.
As you once did with a toddler learning to crawl, this is the time when you once again have to look around your house, except this time, it’s to “teenage proof” it. Medications should be under lock and key; the same with alcohol. All junk food, chips, ice cream and chocolate must be secured in a locked container or labelled as ‘brussel sprouts’ or ‘vegan gluten free kale”.
You must set parental locks on TV programs, WIFI access, cell phones. You have to remove access to matches and candles because teenage boys are also narcoleptic and will not be able to stay awake long enough to remember to not burn down the house if they use them. Anything with wheels can become a tool to show off their ability to take risk and incur an injury, hopefully providing them with both scars and a story to share with their peers, which will increase their esteem within their social circle and if it is severe enough, may even create an urban legend about their awesomeness.
As a parent, during this time of great upheaval and malcontent, you must remember several things:
- you actually wanted to have this child in spite of thinking in your heart of hearts that you should have sold him when you had the chance when he was small and kind.
- that sweet little boy is still there, trapped inside the poisoned frame of the stranger who seems to have taken his place. If you wait it out, he will return again.
- there is no sense in asking him ‘why’ he does anything. He doesn’t know why. If he thought about things, he wouldn’t actually do them.
- how you treat him when he is his absolute worst, is how he is going to remember how you parented him. He will not remember most of his happy childhood, he will remember the ‘teen years’ the best and even then, his selective memory will heavily filter for content.
- you have a chance to teach him about unconditional love and boundaries. You are the stable platform that he will leap from and eventually swim back to. He does not know how to be a man. You will teach him how he should speak when angry and how to apologize when things don’t work out right. You will show him how his words and actions hurt you, so that he’ll never forget that lesson when he interacts with other women. He will pretend to not listen or care, but he will and he does.
- he doesn’t understand that being independent means not acting like an asshole. You are redefining your entire relationship with him and it will set the foundation for what you will have with him as an adult. He has no control, no sense, no ability to make consistently sound judgements. You do. You have to have the strength to let him make his own mistakes and live with the consequences, while guiding him on which choices would have been better and why.
- remember that most of his response to normal requests are not a choice for him. He is being poisoned, chemically changed and altered so even he does not know who he is anymore. If you can get him through the next few years, he will find himself again and he will remember the sacrifice you made, in not killing him when he deserved it.
- parenting is a marathon that draws on every resource you have and takes far more stamina and effort that can be explained by those who have not gone through the challenge. The consequences are so much bigger than when they were little, that it scares us brutally as parents because of their very lack of fear or consequences.
- believe in yourself. You’ve done all you can to get them to this stage of their development and you have to trust that everything you’ve taught them, is inside of them and will once again emerge when they break free from the tainted chrysalis they have wrapped themselves in, so they once again are the beautiful miracle you know them to be.