I naively thought boys didn’t really suffer because of their hormones. Wow, how wrong can you be?
Our foster son is 14, just. I read somewhere recently that at, or around the age of 14, boys experience an 800% surge in testosterone. I think the whole 800% has happened this week.
We’ve had tears before school, tears on the way to school, tears after school, tears at dinner and bed time. And punctuating the tearful epsiodes are the arguments and the shouting. Arguments about absolutely nothing – ‘She’s always staring at me!’ ‘Nobody cares about me!’
‘I wanted to sit on that seat and she knew that!’ ‘He made a weird face at me.’ The list goes on.
There’s no point in trying to reason with him, or intervene, even when he starts hitting himself with toy guns and hairbrushes. He has to be left to rant and shout and work it out of himself. Then of course I get, ‘You didn’t stop me hitting myself…..you don’t care!’
I tell him that I do care but I didn’t want to get hurt and I felt he needed space.
‘Well next time, I don’t want you to give me space, I just want you to stop me hurting myself, OK?’
I suggest other ways he could take out his anger and frustration, we discuss hormones and the way they can take control of you and make you act – I feel so deeply for him, as a hostage to hormones myself once a month.
My husband and I have our own linguistic system to warn each other of the lie of the land, regarding our foster son and his mood. My husband comes in from work, raises his eyebrows at me in ‘Well, what’s happened today’ manner.
If I reply, ‘Low tide,’ he knows all is well. If I answer, ‘High tide and plenty of flotsam,’ he knows that the dinner table will be an unwinnable battleground of perceived slights, barbed comments and hard stares.
It’s not all bad, there are the quite times after the storms. Following one of his outbursts, or explosions, our foster son is left feeling perplexed by his own actions and the strength of his emotions. He comes to find me, once he is calm, and gives me huge hugs, telling me he has been an idiot, he is so sorry, he will never do it again.
I just hold him tight and tell him we love him, and silently hope for low tides tomorrow.