Learning to Communicate with Boys

by Camille on March 19, 2012

So, as I mentioned back in this post, I now have two additional people living under my roof.

Ian. (Trying to run from my camera on his way out the door to work.)

And Herdest. (After acquiring his driver’s license this week.)


We’ve been a family of five for almost a month now, and like most families, we have our ups and downs.  When you throw together any group of people who aren’t accustomed to living together, there is going to be a learning curve, and here, we have a unique dynamic. As Charlie and I aren’t their parents by blood or legal proceeding, I’m not “Mom”; thus, I sometimes find myself struggling to find the correct role from which to relate to the guys. Friend? Mentor? Advisor? Motherly-like pizza-provider?

I imagine that when Ellie is a teenager, I will throw open the door to her room and say, “It’s past noon! Get out of bed this minute and come help me scrub this house if you ever want to see the light of day again!” I mean, hopefully, I won’t have to bother waking her since she will have been up since 6 a.m., practicing the classical violin and using her brilliant culinary skills to make creme brulee French toast (please. allow me this fantasy just a bit longer). But if she pulls the more common surly teenager card, I’ll re-align her attitude with Mad-Mamma verbal prowess.

Of course, with the boys, I have to respect them as almost adult individuals who need to make their own decisions and their own mistakes. I try to be a bit more subtle in assigning tasks or offering opinions about different aspects of their lives; however, I often fail at this communicative delicacy, and throw myself rather unceremoniously into their lives. (Especially about girls. I offer endless unsolicited advice about girls.)

So yeah, I find myself saying things like “You need to spend less time on Facebook. Are you getting enough sleep? Have you eaten anything today? Go make a sandwich!  Did you finish that scholarship application? Homework? Taxes? When is your Economics test? Are you still dating that girl? Really?!”  I sound like my mother, which is somewhat terrifying. (Love you, Mom.) But there remains that line between caring and respecting that I can’t control all their choices.

I just hope they know all the nagging comes from the caring. Because once someone is living under my roof, I don’t know how not to make him family. As I told the boys, we want to be more than a hotel. We want to be a support, a resource, a security, and a foundation for moving forward. I care about their success. I care (and get really, seriously infuriated) when people are cruel to them or put them in danger. I care if they have the tools to pursue their dreams.

We’re working on our communication, and yeah, it’s awkward sometimes. We come from different backgrounds, cultures, and family dynamics. We have different experiences, and we’re learning one another’s schedules, preferences, and expectations. And though there are days I definitely feel ill-equipped, I have peace that all will be fine. When we open our lives to God, He will use us for His plans, and I cannot wait to see the plans He has for the lives of these amazing guys.



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