“I have a 14-year-old son who is causing me some concern. He was always a beautiful looking baby, inheriting his father’s good looks, but just recently he has begun to look dreadful.
“He has enormous feet and is always falling over things. His legs just seem to keep growing and if I have to lengthen his trousers once more, I swear I’ll make him wear shorts! He is covered in terrible spots, which no amount of washing seems to clear up. He is such a pain to live with at the moment, as he’s moody and uncooperative.
“When I try to speak to him, all he does is grunt. I have to badger him to do anything to help around the house and usually have to resort to raising my voice, which means we end up in a shouting match. On the few occasions when we have actually spoken, he’s accused me of constantly moaning and getting at him.
“Why can’t he see that we would all get along a little better if he pulled his weight around the house, and stopped being so unapproachable all the time? I do love him dearly but nothing I do seems to help and he is clearly unhappy, but I’m not sure if he needs a doctor or a full-scale row.”
“Although you think you are suffering, believe me, I’m sure he is feeling an awful lot worse. Your son sounds no better or no worse than any other teenager going through puberty. All of us have to go through the awkward adolescent phase, when our limbs and feet grow faster than our ability to control them. And yes, many get spots and skin changes.
“It is only a phase though and will pass, so I’m pretty sure there is nothing fundamentally wrong with your son, as far as the big feet and acne are concerned. He’s going through massive hormone changes, and it’s a testing and confusing time for youngsters.
“Their bodies are changing rapidly, and most of them are ill-equipped emotionally to cope with these changes. They are beginning to feel the need for acceptance from their peers, and this may be incompatible with domestic chores and cuddles from mum. Your son is also beginning to develop his own personality, and a natural part of this is rebelling against authority.
What your son really needs at the moment is your love and reassurance…
“For the moment, the only people that he can do this against safely is his family, so please, don’t be too harsh on him. I don’t think he needs a doctor’s intervention, although it may help him if you get your GP to check whether there is something that may help with the acne (if that’s what he wants).
“What your son really needs at the moment is your love and reassurance that what he is going through is temporary. He will, given time, come through this phase, but you could speed things along a little by treating him as more of an adult than a troublesome youngster.
“Oh, by the way, please don’t stop adjusting his trousers.
The sight of an ever-expanding expanse of sock between trouser bottom and feet will only make matters worse!”
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