We are raging hormones in this house. A teen boy going through puberty and a preteen girl going through changes of her own.
It’s a hot mess in our house most days.
Emotions swing like a pendulum. All. The. Time. Whether they are experiencing the emotions themselves or on the receiving end of someone else’s. It gets loud. It gets mean. At times, it gets ugly.
It’s a phase that will eventually pass.
One of the lessons we strive to enforce is that while they’re both feeling this craziness inside of them, they can (and should) control what comes out of them.
Their output to others still matters.
Even if they feel they have no control over what’s going on inside of them, they have control over what they do with it.
When feeling all this pent-up emotion, sometimes screaming doesn’t feel like enough of a release. When that happens, arms swing, hands push, fists clench. We redirect. Shoot hoops, take a jog, or kick a soccer ball. People are never to be the recipient.
In addition, words can hurt, sting, become rifts that may never seem to heal. (I bet we all – even as adults – know of a time when someone said something that cut us deep. I know I do.) They don’t want to ruin a friendship over something trivial. That doesn’t mean their family members are fair game, though.
Most days, I feel I am endlessly failing at teaching this. Their voices explode. Doors slam. And I’m left mopping up the puddle of emotions overflowed.
The other day, my youngest had a friend over. They wanted to play with a toy in my preteen’s closet. She consented, and the youngest and her friend retrieved the toy, happily giving new life to something long forgotten. After the friend left, my preteen went to her room and found it an utter MESS.
The volume of the outburst was ten decibels higher than necessary; a solid nine decibels higher than normal days. The youngest apologized, as appropriate. The preteen yelled again, slamming her door like an over-exaggerated exclamation point.
For two strong minutes, there was silence, and then, “Will you come here please?” A borderline cool voice emerged from her bedroom followed by a firm and cool-headed discussion about how she was not happy about the situation, how frustrated she was finding her room a mess, and a plan for next time. It ended with a sister-to-sister genuine hug of apology and forgiveness.
Throughout this entire ordeal, I sat idle, silently watched this victory play out.
No doubt tomorrow they’ll be fighting over sharing air to breathe and arguing about who has it worse; the teen boy, the preteen girl, or the innocent bystander of being the youngest. But for right now, celebrate the mini victories.