Tuesday, 12 March 2013
Dealing with a temperamental teenager (or almost teenager!)
I’ve been finding it very difficult to grab motivation by the ears and actually sit myself down in front of my laptop and write any kind of post lately. There is so much tension in our house-hold, any time to myself is usually spent with my face buried in a book, just to ‘get away’ from it all.
As a mother, you get pulled in all sorts of directions – home, husband, kids, school, and responsibilities – but right now I’m being pulled in two. Split between my husband and my son. And why? Because Julian is in high school and he is surrounded by other teens with attitudes of “What your parents don’t find out won’t hurt you.”
Yes. It. Does. Not only does it ‘hurt you’, but it’s hurting the rest of us, particularly his father who is subjected every single day to a smug, disrespectful and insolent attitude. It probably sounds like ‘a phase’ that every teenager goes through, but it’s times like these when you feel alone as a parent.
Is it too much to ask your son to tuck his shirt in? Take his hands out of his pockets? Not to download or put anything onto his school laptop that he hasn’t spoken to us about first? We’ve taught him better manners and to take pride in his appearance since he could walk and talk, so why are we now starting to have problems? Or, more specifically, why is Nigel starting to get the smart remarks and foul looks when he tells him to do either of these things? I fully support Nigel with these rules, helped put them in place and enforce them myself – just without the accompanying attitude . . .
And yet, I can see where Julian is coming from as well and why he’s getting so upset over it all. He wants to fit in, and if that means taking someone at face value that he won’t get in trouble for putting freakin' 'Halo' on his laptop, then that’s what he will do right now. When he’s telling his mates, “I’m not allowed to have that”, he’s getting comments like “You’re Mum and Dad are weird.”
Nigel and I are doing our very best to raise responsible children, and teach them that responsibility means doing what needs to be done and doing it properly. Whether that is taking care of yourself (hygiene, etc), your family (standing up for your brothers and sisters, caring for family members, putting them first), your friends (being a good friend by listening, having fun, being respectful) and their community as a whole (help where it’s needed, even if it’s just holding a door open for someone). When you’re a responsible person, others can rely on you and will know that you will keep and follow through on your promises, and if you can’t, you will have done your best along the way. We want our children to grow up knowing that they will be ‘tested’ throughout their lives, and how they react during these ‘tests’ will show the world the kind of adults they will grow up to be. Whether it’s turning your back on the television to study, telling someone ‘no’ when they want them to do something they know we wouldn’t approve of (like watching a movie or playing a game we have said no to, or said no to something similar), even doing something as simple as doing their chores properly. What we are teaching them now (hopefully) will ensure they do not become one of the ‘me, I and mine’ kids, teens and adults that we meet all too often.
Oh, but balancing that against allowing them to be their own person, make their own mistakes and grow from them, develop their own personalities . . . what a fine line we’re walking as parents, and even more so with Julian. Do we allow him that little more leeway, because it’s always in the back of our minds, how long does he have to be himself? How many of his own mistakes will he get a chance to make? We want him to realise that you can’t have everything you want, but my goodness, we want him to have it!
In this respect, I am still a new mother (I think I’m going to need some back-up!). I may have four children, but I have never been the mother of a teenager before (and let’s face it, at 12 he’s more teenager than child!) and I’m going into this blindfolded. There is so much to consider, and not only as the mother of a teenager. I’m also the mother of a heart-teen.
I’m the mother of a heart-teen!!!