Date: January 22, 2018 03:39PM
As a 13-year-old, your son is just entering not only physical adolescence, but social adolescence...when he learns (and creates) his "right" place among social peers. Up to now, he has learned that he is a Mormon, and that Mormon social culture is his "proper" place to be in life.
From this perspective, he is FINALLY at the very beginning stages of where he has "always" known he BELONGED...
...and now "everything" he KNEW (so far as his own social and cultural reality) is vanishing.
Just when he thought he had a kind of tentative handle on what "is"---it IS no longer, and he is feeling profoundly unstable in his very existence.
At this point, he needs to learn that other, personal/individual, social, and cultural realities exist...and these realities not only exist in some general, theoretical sense, but exist for HIM...the individual person that he is.
He now needs to learn that he can reinvent himself. (This is actually a tough lesson, since life itself---for EVERYONE at age 13 in our larger American society---is about "inventing" one's soon-to-be adult self).
In this case, and unlike most new exmormons, the timing necessitates a kind of simultaneous "double invention" over what most American kids are expected to accomplish at this stage of their lives.
You know your son, and you know what he is interested in, and what strengths he has. Play to his interests and strengths. Do some creative thinking about where, outside of Mormonism, he can find age and development peers who are turned on by the same things, whether this might be an academic interest, or a hobby, or some kind of social service work geared to his particular age group (preferably, if possible, where most or all of the kids involved are NOT Mormon).
Is there any volunteer work available in your community for young adolescents? Are there any special interest groups (could be academic...could be ANYTHING) which might be of interest to him?
(Along the way, as he experiments with new things, your 13-year-old will be making new friends, as well as new adult social connections, which may, in retrospect, prove pivotal to the adult he will become in ten or twenty years.)
This is going to be a PROCESS, and it IS going to include some "hiccups" along the way. Try one thing, and if it turns out to be not something YOUR son is turned on by (which is probable), then by that point, both of you will likely have become aware of something ELSE which might fit the bill. Depending on where you live, you may have to think "outside the envelope" for non-Mormon activities your 13-year-old can become a part of, but if there are non-Mormons in your area, then you can take advantage of whatever your area DOES offer.
Try again after "false" starts (although "false" starts can be immensely valuable as self-learning opportunities)...and even if takes a dozen or more tries, your son will, with every new "start," be learning a WHOLE lot about himself that will serve him for the rest of his life. (We often learn the most about ourselves from the things we try and do NOT like, or do NOT succeed in!)
Someday...someday a couple of decades from now...your "now" 13-year-old may look back and realize that he was so fortunate to have the parents he had, as well as this particular (in retrospect, AMAZING) opportunity to try out a whole host of new, and previously unanticipated, things, as he proceeds on the way to discovering his own, true, authentic, fully-adult self.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/22/2018 05:39PM by Tevai.