This puberty thing is killing me.
The raging hormones are unbelievable. With boys apparently its not all about rage and anger. At least with my son the emotions are also about fear and self-doubt.
Last night I noticed a pattern. Right before bed my twelve year old sometimes, all of a sudden, is upset about something and shares about it, pouring his heart out. At the time of day when I'm the most tired and thought I was just about done parenting for the day and am ready to crash I am handed a major issue to content with, out of the clear blue sky. Fast thinking and creative responses on the spot are not always easy.
For clarification, the things discussed have nothing to do with any specific incident that day let alone something that happened right before bed.
This is how the Tooth Fairy issue came out. This is how Santa Claus was dealt with (on another day many months later). This is how other things came up.
Last night was a suprising relevation with some self-esteem issues and worries that 'no one likes me', based on some unfriendly kids he tried to talk to at MIT Splash who wanted nothing to do with talking to other kids. The jerk with the biggest impact was the teen who responded to my son's 'hello' with an animalistic growl-grunt and a dirty look. That kid was silent for the rest of the time, not talking to anyone else either. I had to explain that kid was obviously either strange, rude, or the one with a social problem; that nothing was wrong with my son.
I never know when these topics will be brought up. But apparently I should start to expect that bedtime is when they most likely will be. Upon further reflection, he approaches me when I'm either getting ready for bed or sitting in bed reading. He probably realizes (this doesn't take a genius mind) that I'm not preoccupied with tasks around the house or going to and fro from appointments, not on the phone, and not on the computer. Basically, I'm probably perceived as more available at bedtime.
I know I should be happy my son is talking to me. I just don't always know what to say, and getting hit with it when I'm exhausted is not at all the best time for me. I've been using the Active Listening technique for years. I learned it while in training to be a lay breastfeeding counselor for La Leche League. The method sometimes sounds hokey or fake but in all honesty it does work because all people ever really want is to feel that they are being heard. Not everyone wants you to solve their problems for them but usually everyone wants the ability to share their feelings and to know they are being heard. Sometimes it just feels good to vent and get the emotions out. That's good because I do know how to listen.