A Letter to My Teenaged Sons

A Letter to My Sons (Or “Everything I Ever Wanted to Say About Dating but Couldn’t Keep You Long Enough in a Locked and Moving Car to Tell You.)

Hi guys. It’s mom. I’d like to take this opportunity to share a few important tidbits about dating from a woman’s point of view that I think all boys should know.  Now stop rolling your eyes.  I know you have been blinded by my “momminess” all these years, so you probably haven’t noticed that I am a female; but I assure you there is much more to me than just being your mother and therefore the knowledge I have on this subject just might be useful for your current or future relationships.  Do your ol’ mom a favor and humor me while I give you my lists of do’s and don’ts when it comes to girls.

D0’s

  1. Do listen—really listen to what she says.  Give her eye contact, ear contact and mind contact.
  2. Do tell the truth–no matter how hard, no matter how damaging because nothing is more detrimental to a relationship than distrust.
  3. Do take pride in the way you look.  Girls love a well dressed man.
  4. Do have goals and chase after them.  A motivated driven guy is a one who wants the best for his future.
  5. Do be chivalrous.  No matter how far equality of the sexes has come, every girl loves the car door opened for her or a coat on her shoulders if it’s cold.
  6. Do stand your ground and up for yourself.  Girls aren’t right all the time and a man/boy/guy who knows his own mind is a man/boy/guy that can be counted on when push comes to shove.
  7. Do fight fair.  No matter how mad you get, it is never okay to use words that hurt.
  8. Do show her that she’s on your mind with spontaneous gestures.  A quick note, a Hallmark card or fresh flowers picked tells her she’s important to you.
  9. Do have a life separate from her.  Individuality is essential for a healthy relationship.
  10. Do know when things aren’t working.  The world is a big place.  There will be others who find you worthwhile.  Love is work, but shouldn’t be laborious.

Don’ts

  1. Don’t ditch your friends in order to spend every waking moment with her.  Relationships when you are young don’t tend to stand the test of time; you’ll need your friends when the end inevitably comes.
  2. Don’t think it is the end of the world if she breaks up with you.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the world is a big place.  Even if you think she’s the last girl on the earth, she’s not.  There will be others.
  3. Don’t bad mouth your mother or hers.  Respect for the women in your life tells a girl that you will respect her as well.
  4. Don’t put out negative energy.  A “poor me” attitude gets old.  A positive person is so much more attractive!
  5. Don’t ever pressure a girl to do ANYTHING that she doesn’t want to do.  Respect her wishes and her moral character.  At your age, what boys want and what girls want are infinitely different.
  6. Don’t smother her.  When she wants to do things with her friends, then that is what she should do without any complaint, constant calls, or texts from you.
  7. Don’t hide your feelings.  If she hurts you, tell her.  If she makes you happy, show it.  If you are angry, let it out appropriately.  Feelings will come and go but should be shared honestly.
  8. Don’t ever be physically aggressive.  Ever.  ‘Nough said.
  9. I love to be able to say, “Don’t have sex.” But I am not so naïve that I think you’ll be able to follow that advice.  So instead I will say, don’t forget the protection.
  10. Don’t ever give up on or change your dreams because it is what a girl wants you to do.  You deserve all that you can imagine.  Someone who truly loves you will never ask you to sacrifice your life’s vision to fit into theirs.

Love is hard, boys.  There will be ups and downs. No relationship is free of hardship and work. But ultimately your significant other needs to make you happy.  If you have that then you are on the right track.  Let life’s experiences guide you and help you to know what it is you want when it comes to a partner and don’t settle for anything less than your ideal.

Love,
Mom


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Logan Fisher

Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s MotherhoodEye on EducationFaces, and Appleseed.

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  • Prom Night: Mind Your Own Business, Mom!

    Headline of the Day:  World Class Spy Fails to Get the Goods

    I wish I was James Bond equipped with all that spy gear.  A Vespa.  A tux.  A suave opening line, “Fisher… Logan Fisher.”  A phone in the sole of my shoe—oh wait, isn’t that Maxwell Smart?  Anyhoo… Being a spy is an essential occupation for a mother of a teenage boy.  Isn’t about time Steve Jobs invents an App for his iPhone that scans the deepest dark parts of the male adolescent brain and mines for the secrets that nosy moms need to know.  I’d pay ANY price for THAT App!

    What has brought this on you ask?  Prom.  P-R-O-M.  It’s December.  The big month.  The month where teenage boys all over the country despite their pimples or bed head, despite the cracks in their still developing voices and their sudden interest in the Victoria’s Secret commercials, take a shaky uncertain dip into the dating pool and ask a girl… a real girl… to go to the prom.

    So, dear readers, you must have questions.  Yes.  Lots of questions.  Probably some of you are asking yourself right now, “I wonder who Aidan is going with?”  Some of you are probably asking, “I wonder if Aidan has asked anyone yet.”  Even some others may be wondering, “Will Aidan even WANT to go to the prom.”  And these are all WONDERFUL questions.

    WONDERFUL.  You’d think that wonderful questions would have equally wonderful answers.  Sadly, that-just-isn’t-the-case.

    Aidan is a locked vault—a locked vault with a lost key.  (If anyone finds said key… there will be a hefty reward if it gets returned to me!)  I ask daily (much to his extreme frustration) about his plans or desire to go to the prom.  And every day it is the same thing… “None of your business mom.”  I’ve tried to reason with him claiming that if he’d just let me in on his thoughts about prom like who, where, when he’d ask, color of the dress, will he want a matching cummerbund… you know… the standard prom info, I’d stop asking.  I even promised that if he just would throw me a small bone, I stop talking about the prom all together.  We both paused and then chuckled nervously, knowing full well that that promise could never, would never stop me from trying to talk with my son about the important moments in his life. I am what he calls the nosiest, most annoying mother in the world.  And… well perhaps I am.  Hey, but tenacity is a good quality, right??

    Last night I had a brain storm.  A full proof way (I thought) to get him to open up and tell me his prom plans, including his possible, if not already arranged date.  Bribery.  OH!  And food. Food always sweetens the deal. We went to his favorite restaurant.  I let him order whatever.  (“Aidan, you must be STARVING!  Go ahead and order WHATEVER you want.”) At the end of his meal, happily satisfied with a greasy burger and fries sitting in his gullet, I made my move.

    “Aidan, your step-father and I were talking and we’d love to get you a limousine to take you to the prom.  I was even thinking that I could ask my friend to let you borrow her Spider convertible if you’d like.  Every boy should have a fancy ride to pick up his prom date.”

    “Really?” he responded excitedly.  Butterflies instantly started fluttering in my stomach.  I had him!  YES!  “Remain calm.” I told myself.  Swallowing the glee that was pushing at my throat I said, “Yes.  Really.”

    “Ummm.  I think I’d like to take the Spider.   Do you really think she’d let us borrow that hot car?”

    “All we can do is ask.”  I said trying to hide my pleasure.  “If she says no, you can still pick out a limo that you’d like.  If you take a limo then you can have other couples go with you.  Usually girls like to travel in packs.  Who are the girls that are friends with your prom date?”   Victory was almost mine.  I was feeling smug, smart and full of confidence.  Finally… score one for mom.

    “Mind your own business mom.  But nice try.”

    Curses!  Foiled again!  Does anybody know Steve Jobs?


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Logan Fisher

    Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s Motherhood, Eye on Education, Faces, and Appleseed.

    Teen Boys and Their Friends … Sometimes Not So Easy

    Okay, Okay… Ease Was the Wrong Word!

    Two weeks ago I wrote about the ease of boys friendships, but many parents privately called me out on it.  They disagreed that it wasn’t as cut and dry as I claimed it to be.  This of course caused me to think deeper about the topic, and I have come to several conclusions:

    Boys are more inclusive but they can become exclusive, just not in a girly type way.   Their friendship groups tend to form around the activities or sports they play.  Much of their lives revolve around these activities or sports and it seems to be more pronounced the older that they get.  For instance, my son Gannan had a very tight peer group in elementary school.  These guys hung out during lunch and played every game imaginable everyday during recess.  They saw each other at the limited sports opportunities that were available for their age group (soccer in the fall, Little League in the spring.)  They attended each other’s birthday parties and spent weekend nights playing man hunt in the dark.   But as they got older and the opportunities vaster, Gannan’s friends have split off into sub groups.  Some play football in the fall, hockey in the winter, lacrosse in the spring.  None, not even the boy who picked him up at the starting line years back, runs track.  The names of the boys Gannan talks about now, sits with in lunch now, texts on his phone, I hardly recognize.  His peer group has changed because his hobbies and interests moved down a path that those elementary buddies didn’t take.

    Then there is my other son, Aidan.  His experiences with friends have been altogether different.  Last week when I said that girls can be downright mean, I was purposely ignoring (perhaps because it is so painful) the horrific bullying that Aidan went through during his elementary years.  Perhaps this needs a whole column in itself, but it is worth mentioning here that boys absolutely can be mean as well. Read the rest of this entry »

    Teen Boys and Their Friends

    Boys and Their Friends: A Drama Free Zone

    When I was a “tween” and adolescent girl, it was difficult to maneuver and understand the nature of my friendships with other girls. The cattiness and moodiness, the cliques and the clashes, the fakeness of friends who pretend camaraderie just to gossip behind your back made being friends with girls a maze of confusion. Most times it felt like a lead jacket of the mind constricting movement of thought. Don’t get me wrong, I too definitely partook in that kind of behavior. It was what you did when you were in a group of girls, a sort of pack mentality–Plain and simple, girls back then could be mean! Unless I am grossly mistaken, I think that kind of churlishness continues today. I see it quite often in my classroom and out on the playground. The unkindness of adolescent girls may even happen at a greater rate nowadays due to the greater ease of communication thanks to technological advancements. Heck, those pesky adolescent behaviors persist even with some GROWN women. Gossiping about how absolutely horrible someone’s children are to one set of friends, but taking a trip to the apple orchard with that very same family as if spending time with them was nothing but pure joy. Friendships between teen girls–between women–are difficult at best.

    Not so with boys, in my opinion. Boys just seem to not possess the drama gene that girls tend to have. They can fight, but minutes later head to the ice cream stand together. They don’t gossip… because if they have something to say it is done to the friend’s face in a way that is laughed off instantly. They don’t tend to be cliquey…Hey the more the merrier…playing touch football or a pick-up game of soccer takes a lot of people! Friendships between adolescent boys– between men–seems so much less complicated and so much more inviting. As evidence of what I am espousing, please read the following story of an extraordinary event that I was privileged to witness. With all the other complications that come with raising adolescent boys, thank heaven for the ease of their friendships.

    Shaking his legs and arms in a runner’s fashion, Sean loosened up at the starting line getting ready for his school district’s annual mile race. His hands were sweating and his heart was pounding in his ears. Had this been a year ago, he would never have felt nerves like this. A year ago he was the best runner in school. This race would have been easily won…one year ago. But that was before Gannan arrived, a new kid in school. For the first time ever, someone’s hand slapped the school wall before Sean’s during their daily recess races. From that point on, Sean and Gannan were fast friends. Running was in their blood. They zoomed like lightning around the playground, around the block, around the town.

    Now, at the race, Sean was sure that his 3 year winning streak was going to be broken by his best friend, Gannan. Sean glanced over at him. He took some comfort in the fact that he looked as nervous as Sean felt. His head was down and his eyebrows furrowed.

    “Runners in line!” shouted the official. The mass of students pushed and shoved jockeying for a good starting position. Gannan elbowed Sean and gave him a look that said, “Let’s do this!”

    “Runner’s get set!” Sean’s heart beat almost drowned out the man’s voice, and then, “Bang!” The gun shot signaled the runners’ stampede, a burst of energy. Bodies shoved, legs tangled and in the chaos, Gannan tripped and fell. Sean ran a few paces before he realized what had happened.

    When it did register, he looked back to see his friend struggling to get up among the trampling feet of other runners. For a split second, Sean realized that this was the break he was looking for. If he kept running, he’d win for sure. A cold rush seeped into his heart. It didn’t feel right to win like that. A few more paces and Sean knew what he had to do. He turned on his heels and headed back against the stream of runners, a flying fish swimming against a fast current. It took just a few seconds to get to Gannan. Sean reached down and grabbed his friend’s forearm and picked him up. Their eyes met for a brief moment and then they were off, friend next to friend, running the trail together.

    Approximately five minutes later, as expected, Sean and Gannan were the first runners to approach the finish line. Side by side they ran–the perfect twosome. Both exhausted from the fierce competition, they ran in tandem. Gravel crunching under the weight of their dashes; left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot. Their breath mixed with the sound–crunch, whoosh, crunch whoosh. Most of the crowd was unaware of the circumstances before them, but still they sensed that something extraordinary was happening. Perhaps it was the mixture of pride and awe and tension and worry on the faces of each boy’s mother that gave it away. Maybe it was the pure elation of the coach’s cheers, “Yeah!! That’s the way to do it boys! Team mates! Team mates!!”

    Ten yards from the finish line a subtle change came over the pair. Gannan inched his way ahead of his friend just slightly–a hair here, a thread there…slowly solidifying his win. But just before the finish line Gannan hesitated and looked behind him. He was no longer sure if he wanted the win, not sure if he deserved it. After all, where would he be without Sean? How different would this race be had his friend not helped him escape the trample of the crowded starting line? As if sensing his doubt, Sean, shouted, “Run Gannan run!” Gannan’s hesitation melted away and reaching down deep found an extra spurt of energy. From his second place position, Sean’s heart burst with pride as he watched his best friend Gannan crossing the finish line in first place, knowing that he wouldn’t have it any other way.


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Logan Fisher

    Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s Motherhood, Eye on Education, Faces, and Appleseed.

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