By Yali Perez
The world of parenthood is a magical, beautiful and often challenging place. It has its highs and its lows, similar to the world of anime. Of course, that’s without the magical outfit changes. Wouldn’t that make getting ready in the morning so much easier?
As a single parent to a 10-year-old son, I sometimes use anime as a way to connect with him. Anime is something we mutually enjoy and is a great medium to discuss subjects without the pressure of feeling too serious. The aim of A Mom’s Guide to Anime is to use anime to help you navigate the world of parenthood.
This month’s focus: Ugh, growing up. In my last guide, I mentioned that my parents were teenagers when I was born. My parents, my younger brother and I essentially grew up together.
That had its advantages, but it also came with some disadvantages. Specifically when it came to puberty. My parents were going through puberty while also being first-time parents, so, when it came time for them to offer us advice or wisdom about getting through those teen years, my brother and I didn’t get much. But you can’t really blame them!
And now, my own son is starting to go through puberty, and it has been like the final villain after a loooooooong season arc. But this important transition in your child’s life can easily sneak up on you! So, it’s crucial to be prepared.
Now that you and your kid are anime-watching pros, why not turn to the medium for the next big obstacle: growing up! Here are some shows that might help. As always, you’re the parent and you know your kid best, so keep that in mind with some of this subject matter.
Appetite Increases like Natsu from Fairy Tail
Anime is no stranger to the gluttonous protagonist! And if you’ve been through the dreaded phase called puberty, you might think you’re just like Natsu or Happy from Fairy Tail! They’re the real MVPs for mass consumption.
But it’s because Natsu needs plenty of energy to fight and perform magic, just like your child will need energy as they go through changes! Granted, your kid might not scarf down an entire table of food in seconds, but they might eat more than usual.
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My own son started to eat more and more, and all of a sudden he was a foot taller than I remembered! It’s important to note that a balanced meal is super important to this phase. Just don’t tell Natsu that…
Less Motivation like Ryner from The Legend of the Legendary Heroes
Ironically, another common trait with anime protagonists is laziness. Are all anime protagonists going through puberty?
Ryner Lute is known as the “The Deadliest Magician,” a title given to him at the age of 13. Despite his immense power, he has no desire to kill, and when he fights, it’s rarely at full strength. You want him to fight? He’d rather be sleeping.
As kids continue to grow, you might find them to be less motivated. Like Ryner, it’s not like they’re not capable of cleaning their rooms, taking out the trash or even taking a shower; they just don’t want to.
As a parent, that can be frustrating! The line between what we as parents deem important and what your child deems important is very visible. Ryner becomes more motivated due to a war and a quest, but for your child, maybe you can try a chore or allowance system! Figure out what is important to them and reward them with that when they take care of their responsibilities.
Mood Swings like Eren from Attack on Titan
Mood swings might be the toughest to navigate when it comes to growing up and puberty, partly because they can’t help it! Though Eren Jaeger’s moodiness stems from his own traumatic experiences, at some point you just want to tell him that not everything requires such an extreme reaction!
Younger kids and teens have far less control when it comes to new emotions. One minute they’re fine, and next thing you know they’re sad or angry and about to transform into a Titan.
Sure, that’s an exaggeration, but as a parent, it certainly feels that way sometimes! There’s a certain level of helplessness the characters feel in Attack on Titan, and parenthood can feel like that too.
Eren feels like the only way he can be happy is if he kills all of the Titans. The solution for a child going through puberty might be less dramatic, but the answer is open communication and personal space. Give your child time to let their changing emotions come to fruition and then allow them to come to you when they’re ready to talk.
This requires a lot of patience on your part, but remember, you once grew up too.
They Become Interested in Others like Finral from Black Clover
This is probably the most uncomfortable part of parenting. Thank god my son is not at this stage yet.
During puberty, your child may start to be interested in others in a romantic way. Some may not and that is totally normal too. The list of these lovesick characters in anime is longer than word count might allow, so for the sake of time, let’s talk about Finral from Black Clover.
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Finral is often distracted by women, and regularly asks out those he meets without really knowing anything about them. As he grows, he learns the error of his ways and seeks to be someone worthy of Finesse. Though, he does still struggle a bit.
Of course, Finral’s journey is a very embellished version of what your pubescent child might be going through, leading to the dreaded “talk.”
Your child’s age and maturity level will determine how you proceed with this important conversation, of course, and as always, you’re the parent. You likely don’t want to creep them out or make them feel ashamed or embarrassed.
Thankfully, for Finral, he has Asta and the rest of the crew to keep him in check. For your child, an open conversation about relationships can keep your kids safe and on the right path!
They Become Distant Like Masato from Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?
Probably the most relatable part of growing up is the part when you want to spend less time with your parents. My son is currently at this phase.
Your children would rather hang out with their friends or just by themselves in their rooms, and that’s OK. Masato Oosuki finds his doting mother Mamako Oosuki annoying. So, when he gets the opportunity to enter a video game world, he’s excited to have a break from his mom. My son feels the same when he plays Fortnite with his friends.
Unfortunately for him, his mom ends up along for the journey. As a parent, it does hurt when your kids don’t want to spend time with you, but for them to grow socially and develop their identity, they must venture out on their own!
However, that doesn’t mean they don’t need you. Jumping into a virtual world might not be available for everyone, so try to find activities you enjoy together. Have a set day or time to have a talk, go for a walk or maybe have a meal.
Friends will come and go, but the same way Masato learns to appreciate Mamako, your kids will come to do the same.
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