If there's anyone you know who has shotguns, try to go fire some before you purchase. That's really the only way to find out what you really want.
I'll bet you find out that a 20 or a 12 is more in line with what you want.
Just to give you an example... I introduced my 13 yr old nephew to shotgun shooting with my 12ga side-by-side earlier this month. There's nothing in it's action to absorb any recoil, but it does have a small recoil pad. I anticipated he would be a little surprised by the recoil. His comment was "that wasn't bad at all".
Ottumwa Izaak Walton League might be able to help out...