Parenting Challenges—Almost a man

My little cowboy

My little cowboy

Welcome to the May 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Ages and Stages

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about their children’s most rewarding and most challenging developmental periods. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Deciding the stage of development I have enjoyed the most as my son grows is impossible. Each stage has had its own joys and challenges. Watching my son discover the shadows made by his own hand has been every bit enjoyable as seeing him take his first steps toward adulthood.

This week my son will be 12, which in this part of the world is the end of childhood. In the past year, I have seen him begin to assert his independence. Although some might call it disobedience, we have allowed him to answer us with No and I for one, am content that we have provided a safe enough environment for him to be able to say No and not be afraid of our reactions. Sometimes we have to countermand his No, but we do so with negotiation and not with Because I’m your parent…responses.  Or, at least, that is the idea.  I can’t say we are 100% on this as parents yet.

His need for more independence also means he wants to spend more time with friends and less with us. We tried to allow him to ride his bike from home to school, 2 miles each way so that he could hang out with the guys on the way home but found that my husband and I weren’t up to the stress of waiting and wondering if he was ok. So we looked for other ways to allow him more socialization since his friends don’t come out to La Yacata. We drop him off 30 minutes early for school and pick him up 15 minutes late so that he can squeeze in a quick soccer game with the boys. His buddies are allowed to come to the school I teach at on Saturday and hang out, providing they behave. His friends and their parents love this arrangement since they are able to use a computer or play soccer or basketball in a safe and casually supervised environment. We also set up his own Facebook account so he can chatear (chat), although he has to give me the password. This way, I am able to keep tabs on him in the big, bad cyber world, but he doesn’t mind because I don’t abuse the privilege.

My not so little cowboy

My not so little cowboy

We, as parents, take the time to explain to him why certain restrictions still apply. For instance, the no bike to school is not because we don’t think he is responsible enough, but because his father and I worry since he has to pass the police station to get home. (See on Life and Liberty) He isn’t allowed to go every Saturday to his friend’s house, not because he isn’t old enough, but because after classes we have quite a bit to do at home with our animals and we need him to help out. (See Family Hobby) And so on.

This past year, we also have made sure that he has had opportunities to earn his own money. Sometimes, my husband has a job and he takes my son along as his peon (assistant). During Semana Santa, for example, my husband had a 4-day tile-laying job and my son was delighted with his earnings of $500 pesos. Since he contributes to their care, my son also has his own livestock. He owns Shadow the yeguita (female colt) Duchess the goat and any kids she has. This week, he sold Harry, Duchess’s 4-month-old kid for $600 pesos. Another income source for him.

He has shown himself responsible in his use of his earnings, which means we will continue to provide these income opportunities when we can. With the $500 pesos from the tile job, he bought a bridle, rope and paca (bale) of alfalfa for Shadow. With the $600 pesos from Harry’s sale, he bought a 6-month-old female goat, as yet unnamed, with the idea that now he owns two female goats and thus has potential future earnings. We also opened a savings account for him and over the past year he has been able to save over $1000 pesos, not an easy task by any means.

I see also how our family’s decisions continue to influence him in his independent decisions. With his own money, he is allowed to purchase whatever he wishes, yet he weighs each purchase carefully. When he wants to buy a snack, for example, he doesn’t grab a bag of Doritos and coke, but Sal de Mar chips and a Manzanita (carbonated apple drink) both of which fall into the healthful eating categories we have always encouraged as a family.

Physically, as well, I can see how he is growing up. He is now officially taller than me and has more of a mustache than his dad. His voice has its ups and downs as do his emotions. When we have differences, and we do, we remind him that although he is almost a man, he isn’t quite there. I look forward to watching him grow, as I always have.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • When Three-Year-Olds Stand Up For Themselves — Parenting Expert Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. at her blog, Parental Intelligence, enjoys the stage when three-year-olds dramatically wow their parents with their strong sense of self.
  • This too shall pass — In the beginning, everything seems so overwhelming. Amanda at My Life in a Nutshell looks at the stages of the first 1.5 years of her daughter’s life and explains how nothing is ever static and everything changes – the good and the bad.
  • Age 5 – Is It Really A Golden Period? — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at the developmental norms for the five-year-old set and muses over if this age really is the ‘golden period.’
  • How much do you explain to your preschooler when crime touches close to home? — When tragedy strikes someone your preschooler knows, Nathalie at Kampuchea Crossings wonders how parents can best help young children cope.
  • Thoughts on ToddlerwearingThat Mama Gretchen‘s babywearing days are over, we’re living it up in the toddlerwearing days now!
  • Parenting Challenges—Almost a man — Survivor at Surviving Mexico talks about leaving childhood behind as her son turns 12.
  • How Child Development Works — Competence Builds Competences — Debbie at Equipped Family shares how each stage of childhood builds on the next. Focus on doing the current stage reasonably well and success will breed success!
  • Making Space — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is adjusting her thinking and making room for her babies to stay near her.
  • The Best Parenting Resources for Parents of Toddlers — Toddlers can be so challenging. Not only are they learning how to exert their independence, but they simply do not have the developmental ability to be calm and logical when they are frustrated. It’s the nature of the beast. I mean … the toddler. Here are Dionna at Code Name: Mama‘s favorite books and articles about parenting a toddler.
  • The Fab Five Stages so Far — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen couldn’t choose just one stage for this carnival and is sharing her top five favorite stages in the young lives of her son and daughter at Natural Parents Network.
  • The best parts of ages 0-6 — Lauren at Hobo Mama gives a breakdown of what to expect and what to cherish in each year.
  • Lessons from Parenting a Three-Year-Old — Ana and Niko at Panda & Ananaso are quickly approaching the end of an era — toddlerhood. She shares some of her thoughts on the last two years and some tips on parenting through a time rife with change.
  • Feeling Needed — Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders which developmental stage is her favorite and why. She bares it for us, seemingly without fear of judgment. You might be surprised by her answer!


Filed under Carnival posts, Parenting Challenges and Cultural Norms

16 responses to “Parenting Challenges—Almost a man

  1. codenamemama

    Oh this makes my heart hurt a little – if only because I know we’ll be there soon. The time goes by so quickly! It’s so interesting to see what areas our kids assert their independence in at each stage.


  2. It’s good to see a glimpse of our future with our sons. It sounds like 12 is a great age so far. I love the burgeoning independence and all the ways he’s found to earn money and spend it wisely, too!


  3. Oh no! I only have 7 more years before I enter this realm as well… it’s so awesome that you still have that delicate balance of protection and independence maintained so well!


  4. I love this! As hard as it is to watch my kids getting older before my eyes, I can’t wait for them to hit this stage. I love how you are helping him to find his independence.


  5. My son is also 12. Isn’t it such a dance between protection and independence? This year we navigated through cell phone ownership, school dances, and lots of time management with school work. The journey keeps getting better and better!


  6. My son is almost 2, but so many of the things you share make me look forward to the coming years!


  7. I’m so glad that you see your son’s “disobedience” as meaning a striving for independence. It’s so important to find the meaning behind behavior instead of judging it negatively. This is part of my concept of Parental Intelligence. If you look at my blog in this carnival by that name, you can read more about this concept by going to my book navigator tab. I think it will fit in with the way you think. Best wishes to you and your son,
    Laurie Hollman, Ph.D.


  8. Pingback: Nomination for Brotherhood of the World Award | Surviving Mexico

  9. Pingback: Failing at your own business–Tianguis | Surviving Mexico

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