Friday, December 23, 2016

From joy to anger to snark

It's hard for me to look at my son now and imagine the swirling mass of hormones that he will become one day. It is equally hard for me to think about the time that he will not need me around anymore (but still want me there, like a plant). But, those days are coming, whether I like it or not. So, I guess that it is good for me to start reading articles on teenagers now to mentally prepare myself (well, as much as any parent can prepare themselves) for the inevitable.
One area of his future self seems very familiar to me: Emotional triggers. Parents see their teens' emotions swing from one state to the next quickly, but what they don't see is how their own behavior can be interpreted as negative by their teenager. And since parental negative behavior is often a catalyst, it can set off a teen's own emotional spiral.

So, basically, my son will have the same mood swings that he does now (from joy to anger to snark in six seconds), but he'll do a slightly better job of recognizing the catalysts.

Really interesting though, is the difference between Moms and Dads. If Mom misidentifies her teen's anger, then the teen will usually storm off. If Dad misinterprets the anger, however, the teen is much more likely to respond aggressively.

While this is a unique division of the sexes, it does not let Dads off the hook for the trials of dealing with teenagers.

For now, I will take things one day at a time with my still-a-child son and try to help him identify all the emotions he experiences that lead to the big blowout.

Do you think your teen misinterprets your behavior as overly negative? Tell me in the comments. 

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