How I Cope With My 12 Year Old Son

My son, Ben, is twelve but I am still getting to grips with how to be a good father. I learn from my mistakes (my wife points out just how many of those there are) and Ben puts me on the right track day by day.

Generally he is a good boy (make that great) so my job as a father probably isn’t that hard. Still, like all growing lads, he can be a handful at times. Here are my pearls of wisdom on how to cope with a 12 year old son but if I were you, I would ignore them all!

The biggest one is to pick your fights carefully – don’t be lured into an argument over something trivial. In practice this means:

  • ignoring the pockets of mess that accumulate at every point of the house he visits;
  • accepting that he will never offer to help you, no matter how bored he is;
  • realising that if you ask to share his packet of sweets, it will be remembered and used against you for years to come;
  • watching him stare into space for five hours in order to complete one homework assignment;
  • convincing yourself that he couldn’t help puking on your back on that long car journey when the back window was open and merely a head twist away.

Next, after a bad day at school or a bout of illness, be prepared for him to regress by eight years which entails:

  • allowing him to watch a daft cartoon meant for four year olds;
  • providing him with endless cuddles;
  • making up fictitious characters to keep his mind off things (his favourite is Dr Mousey) and voicing said character through numerous humorous situations until your throat feels like you’re breathing in sand.

Once you can wrap your head around giving in to these small items, the next time he comes home from school with another boy’s severed arm in his backpack, you will feel completely justified in sending him to bed early.

And remember, that all of the above is quickly forgotten when he turns around out of the blue and says, “You’re great, Dad.”

Simon & Ben

Do you have any other tips for me? The approaching teenage years are scaring me to death!

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