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Parental Warnings

Obviously, this is not going to be a blog about to raise your boy; you've read plenty of those, and so this entry more to act as a warning label for your kid. Just a real long one…with lots of words.

Generic Warning

Okay; first off: This is not a book written by someone with a degree in childcare, psychology, or anything even related to mental health (in fact, it could be argued that a journalism degree is the exact opposite, but I digress). Rather, this is written as an uncle's advise to his nephews. When it comes to children, parents raise them, grandparents teach them, and uncles corrupt them give them practical experience in the mentioned topics. In other words, Daddy teaches them the basics of how to ride a bike, Grandpa will teach them all the tricks (without hands, wheelies, basic jumps), and Uncle shows them how to build a ramp. As such, this book is probably the last thing you want them to read.

When it comes to puberty, uncles have an entirely different perspective. Fathers are aware that puberty may come with a lot of rewards, but there are a lot of hazards. Being responsible  parents, they are going to do their level best in order to minimize the hazards, so that the boy can become a man. The father and son will come into conflict, and most of those conflicts are because the father is trying to protect his son. Expect a lot of conflicts; if the boy never disagrees with you, and you never at least shout at each other, then you just haven't done your job as a father or your son is a Vulcan. He needs to know that he can yell at you in anger; it's an almost physical need, and will actually help him adjust. Of course, keep in mind that you can yell back; learn to look at this as a perk, or at least a way of dealing with a bad day and you should do fine.

Grandfathers are going to their level best in order to make sure that the two of you don't kill each other. Occasionally, he will back off and just let you two go at it, but he will try to intercede. This is going to be one of the trickiest part of being a grandfather, as he is still raising his son (the boy's father) while at the same time teaching his grandson. Above all, he doesn't want to see the two yell at each other. As such, I'm telling grandfathers the key to dealing with the situation: Let them at each other. You can deal with bruises physical and emotional afterwards; they need the chance to sort things out, and, well, sometimes the best way to deal with two fires is to let them attack each other. Just like any firefighter, contain the damage, recognize that there will be collateral damage, and deal with the damage afterwards. And don't be apologetic; the grandson needs the chance to blow off some steam, and isn't quite at the point where he can do any real damage to the father. The father, of course, needs to establish order, and being the lightning rod for his son's anger is exactly where he needs to be.

[Note that I'm not trying to okay any violence that happens. I'm just saying that the boy may occasionally flare up due to the hormones coursing through his system, and lacks the maturity to deal with that. As such, things may get stormy; just ride it out and deal with the damage afterwards.]

This is why medieval kids were apprenticed out; if they stayed home, they could have gotten killed by the fathers. Getting the boy out of there is now the role filled by the uncle; he gives the father a chance to cool off and prepare for the next flare-up, while at the same time giving the boy a chance to figure out what he did wrong, as well as tips on how to deal with that anger (and yes, I will be dealing with that). In other words, the father deals with the flare-up itself, the grandfather limits the damage, and the uncle enacts measure to limit the flare-up.

Mothers, of course, have a need to ensure domestic tranquility; adolescence will disrupt that tranquility. Be advised that the best thing you can do is to let it happen. If you're raising the kid alone, you will need to take on the role of the father; the best advice I can give is to remember your own puberty, and bear in mind the times that you barely kept your anger in check, as your son is now undergoing his own version of that. Also, keep in mind that his respect for you will keep him from attacking you physically; you'll still need to deal with the anger, but you should be able to weather it fine.

All of that said, realize that this blog is not politically correct by any stretch of the imagination. This is not because of any inherent racist, sexist or other limited mentality; rather, it's an attempt to look at a very confusing time of a boy's life realistically, and to help him through it. I will be talking about a lot of topics that you would never want to talk to your kid about, but you know needs to be discussed on some level. As such, I expect a lot of people to use my name as a new swear word. Sort of look at it this way: Would you rather someone bring it up and give them both sides, or would you like it limited to locker room discussions? Yes: I'm going to discuss masturbation, hazing, and homosexuality at length, and in very specific terms. A lot of other things are going to be brought up, but I figure those are the ones that will scare you the most.

In other words, it's going to be frank and honest, and liable to annoy just about anyone. You have been warned.

This is not The Talk

And don't forget: Do not use this blog as a substitute for that one great moment of total humiliation between father and son. This blog is meant to supplement that discussion, not take them over. I may be able to suggest some topics, but it's ultimately you that will need to direct him. Read: I am trying to avoid taking a religious stand in this blog, even though religion will most definitely be touched on. It's up to you to give direction in that regard, and to watch what he's doing. Be aware that this blog will take interesting stands; it's up to you as parents to determine if this site is acceptable.

And it's definitely up to you to take the first steps in recognizing that your son is becoming a man. This means that you need to take that all-important first step, and realize that he is just as embarrassed to discuss his bodily functions as you are. But…not only is it a bonding experience, and one that needs to happen, but it sets the stage for further dialogue, and keeps you in the loop when important things happen in his life. On the other hand, not talking to him demonstrates that you aren't interested in him, and so he's not likely to consult with you, and any questions about his activities will be met with hostility.

In short, I'm not trying to step on anyone's toes, and that you have every right to disallow this blog. I hope that this will help...