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Getting Through Puberty (part seven)

Posted Aug 26 2008 4:33pm

Addressing privacy and social connections

When Kellen was about to turn thirteen we asked his older sister for her input and advice on teenagers. She felt it was really important that we respect his privacy by knocking on his bedroom door to get permission before entering. We have taken that advice to heart. All teenagers need a private place where they can shut the door and be alone whenever they want. He is allowed to decorate his room in any way he sees fit. Usually this involves lots of calendars with the days crossed off, posters of Spiderman, and once in awhile an art project drawn with markers on his wall. He also has a bulletin board where he has taped up photographs that are important to him.

Kellen seems to have absolutely no concept of modesty. We've been working with him over the last few years about being dressed appropriately (with pants!) when he is out of his bedroom. We also remind him that if he wants to engage in a teenage boys favorite activity, that he needs to be in his bedroom with the door shut. Just recently he wanted help drying off after his shower. I told him that only he was allowed to touch his "private area". He is now fascinated with the phrase "private area" and practices saying it frequently...sigh.

For awhile it seemed that he was spending too much time isolated in his room, but now there seems to be a better balance. We try to make sure that he has enough opportunities for social connections outside of school and we've had to be very intentional about creating those. Unfortunately kids aren't beating on our door for Kellen to go out with them, so we created a teens group in our local area. Usually once a month we plan to go bowling, to a movie, or to a gym. The activities are for the whole family so that we can get to know each other. Hopefully these relationships will continue outside of the formal group as well.

For about a year now Kellen has been a greeter on Sunday mornings at our church. Having this role has helped him feel very good about himself and also has the side benefit that he gets the opportunity to meet lots of people who might normally not approach him.

We hope someday that Kellen will have a special woman in his life. Our family knows just how much love and affection he has to give. She will be a lucky lady!
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