posted by Joe Anaya on November 4th, 2013

My son recently became an official teenager. He and his buddies are very excited to be 13-years old. Me, not so much. While not subjected to the comedy/tragedy mood swings of teenage girls, there is the wide-ranging maturity swings between large toddler to small contributing member of society.

There are moments when my son is capable of incredibly thoughtful and considerate behavior. He will clear his plate and volunteer to take out the trash in one beautifully enlightened moment. But 30 minutes later, I’ll find him lying on the bathroom floor, trash bag next to him, in his underwear, frothy toothbrush hanging from his mouth, making laser beams sounds.

While discussing the merits of a representative-democracy versus a straight democracy, he will suddenly burst into a long recitation of how to defeat the next level of Kingdom Rush.

Given this chasm between capabilities, sometimes it’s tough to gauge how to interact. If I assume he’s capable and give basic guidelines, there’s a decent chance the lawn will get mowed but the lawn mower will end up in the middle of the driveway with the catcher still full of grass.

If I assume he’s a child and give him detailed step by step instructions, I get the glare of “Do you think I’m an idiot?”

“As a matter of fact, until proven otherwise on a consistent basis, I do.”

Studies show that boys’ brains develop later. Their frontal lobes aren’t fully functioning until their mid-twenties. Meaning they don’t do well at evaluating risk. They also actually lose empathy from 13-years old to 17-years old, explaining the complete lack of consideration for others. They literally aren’t thinking right. So don’t bother asking them, “What were you thinking?” They weren’t.

Knowing this prevents me from throttling my man-child (that and current standards of child abuse). But it doesn’t diminish the incredible frustration of requiring several reminders to “get your pants on, NOW.”

As you know, my long held belief is that “Women are crazy and men are stupid.” Well there is nothing dumber than a teenage boy. I have glimpsed into my future for the next few years and wept.



File Under King of the Castle