How do I parent two strong-willed boys without going crazy ;)

Both of our sons are very strong-willed, which has made parenting pretty exhausting. My 13-year old specifically lacks social awareness and comes across as immature & annoying to others. How do I guide and direct him in this area without shaming him? He's not very sensitive, and isn't bothered by much, and generally doesn't seem to know when he's aggravating others. I'm struggling with comparison and disappointment with his personality, and sometimes wonder if there's more going on with him. I also worry about him making quality friends. He's extremely smart, and generally a good kid at his core, but has always been strong-willed and difficult to parent. He seems to have an oral fixation - always putting his hands in his mouth, chewing on things, fidgeting, etc, which can be kind of gross. He also lacks social cues in knowing when to stop when others are annoyed or frustrated with him. I'm the complete opposite, uber aware of the social cues of others, which probably magnifies my frustration.
Asked by Trumpet

Parenting is so hard, isn't it? We often question ourselves, our children, and our partners in this journey. It sounds like you're questioning if your 13 year old son's behavior is abnormal and if your response to him is appropriate. You mentioned that he seems to have an oral fixation and a lack of social cues, which is making it difficult for him to make friends. Without knowing him or talking more about him, it's hard to say if he has something going on, but I can say that those can be characteristics of several neurodivergent conditions. This might be something to bring up with his doctor as they often can perform screeners. 

They make jewelry such as chewy necklaces, fidget rings and bracelets, etc, that you can find on Amazon that he might find to be useful. I wonder if he might have some sensory issues going on that is causing him some anxiety and the need to chew. I wonder if he is triggered by loud noises, tight or loose clothing, or being around people he doesn't know? A simple google search for sensory needs could be helpful in your research. 

Strong willed children have amazing qualities and blow you away with their independence, but you aren't alone in finding it difficult to parent. It requires an amazing amount of patience and understanding to be a parent of a strong willed child. Having firm boundaries is also helpful because it helps us be consistent in our responses to them. This can be very difficult to implement because children will often increase the unwanted behavior to try and get what they want because it has worked for them in the past. However, you will find that if you continue to be consistent with your boundaries that the unwanted behavior will decrease over time.

We have to remember to meet our own needs so that we can meet the needs of our children. If we aren't filling our own cup it makes it extremely difficult to fill up the cup of others, especially our children. Are you taking time for yourself? Centering yourself?