kate sutton



When it comes to parenting, I like to think that I’m fairly savvy. I’ve managed to raise one child through to adulthood and although we have had our ups and downs on the way, I think the fact that he is a well rounded and, dare I say it, extremely handsome individual, says that I’ve done a fairly good job.


Now as regular readers will know, I am really close to Dexter, who is now 11. We spend quite a bit of time together and for the last four years it has mainly been just me and him. So we have a special bond I would say. Which makes the fact that I could have easily throttled the bejesus out of him last night, quite hard to take. You see, he is 11 going on 15, and because there is 9 1/2 years between him and his brother, I think I seem to have forgotten just how hard the teenage years are. It’s a bit like giving birth, the pain is so horrendous that Mother Nature makes you forget about it just so that you will keep procreating. Well teenagehood is well and truly upon us, as last night demonstrated.


I am a fool to myself really because I would say, for the most part, I’m really laid-back. My number one advice to new parents would always be pick your battles, and that’s just what I do with both my boys, but the trouble with that is you end up taking it and taking it and taking it … the backchat, the defiance, the smart arsehattery, until one day you are tipped over the edge and completely lose your shit. It takes a lot to get me to that point but when I do I blow up like a volcano, although I simmer down very quickly. I’m like Mum in that way I think – I remember her being like.


It just defies belief that this wonderfully sweet, curly-headed boy can be so rude and defiant sometimes. It’s like living with two versions of the same child. That might make me sound a bit mental, but I hope that other parents of tweens/teens will know what I mean. One minute he can be cuddled up to me on the sofa watching TV, the next minute I’m screaming at him to go to his room because he has said no to me just one too many times.


The trouble is, once I’ve blown up I think I probably end up feeling worse than he does!


I mentioned how I was feeling on Twitter last night and spoke to two other mums of teens who feel exactly like I do (praise the Lord for Twitter!)  Our children are acting in the very same ways and it felt good to get some reassurance from them that I’m not the only parent going through this. And as I say, I have been through it before, but I think my mind has just played a trick on me and made me forget how god damn awful it is. We all agreed that we would much prefer a room full of babies over one teenager any time, but I take comfort in knowing that this is just a transitional stage that we all have to work through, and I have proof that if I can see one child through puberty, I can hopefully get the other one through it in one piece. (All being well.)


Once again, the fact I’m a single parent does just make me feel a little isolated when I can’t chat to a partner about how hard it is, but watchagonnado? I’m going to have to grit my teeth and perhaps try and be a little bit more patient with him so that we don’t end up one of those families that can only communicate via shouting.


It will be really helpful to hear from other parents of tweens/teens that are maybe going through the same thing, so we can share a cyber gin or two!


kate sutton


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Published by Kate Sutton

Writer, Mother, Dater.

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  1. Oh dear, I’m also a single mom, 7 year old going on 40. Has defiance lots of loveliness, scared!!!!!

  2. Oh Kate I totally sympathise. Whilst we have different gender tweens I’m sure we’re suffering in the same way. The defiance and withering sarcasm does me in some days and I have to go and hide from her until it’s wine (or bacardi) o’clock. With girls there’s a lot of flouncing and door slamming *sigh* x

  3. My eldest two are 17 and 16 now and looking back, I can see just how godawful these tween years were. Worse than the teenage years actually. They used to really push my buttons and often made me cry! No real advice other than the picking your battles bit but I don’t need to tell you that. This too shall pass my friend! *passes all the gin*

  4. I have a 12 year old hormonal, drama queen….lol
    I know exactly what you mean when you say it is like living with two versions of the same child. I love mine to bits but could quite happily throttle her at times. The attitude off her is unbelievable!

  5. My daughter is 15 at the end of August and I can’t remember ever talking to my parents the way she talks to me.

    She can be such a fabulous child and other times the back chat I get is nothing short of disgusting.

    I sympathise with you and I dread my two year old sons teenage years.

  6. I am yet to reach that stage but am already worrying about it, as I remember what I was like as a teen!
    I have been told boys are far easier as teens than girls so Im hoping this is true!
    Sounds like you are doing a great job, and you are human so there will be days that his backchatting is harder to handle, and I think its good for him to see the effect it can have on you, so he might think twice about doing it next time.
    Keep going, you are doing well!

  7. I read this post saying yes (in my head) to absolutely everything. Mine is 9 now but she has been acting in tween ways for years. I spend a lot of time swearing in my head and just generally wishing I could bloody kill her. I’m unlike you, in that it doesn’t take much at all to light my fuse, but I think that’s at least in part down to the fact that I live with M and my parents who are in their 60s. Like the other comments I think, with a lot of her behaviour, that there is no way I would have dared to act or speak in that way towards my parents when I was a child/tween/teen. I still don’t dare now, it’s not worth the fallout. The scary thing is that nothing bothers her, I can’t say if you do that then I’ll take away whatever it might be or she won’t be doing something/going somewhere because she’ll just say she doesn’t care and carry on regardless. Because I live with my parents I feel like a tween myself most of the time so I either need the gin or a punch bag before I seriously lose my shit and go off my rocker at them all.

    1. Oooh Nicola, I feel your pain after just having spent 4 months living with my Dad and you’re right, you do revert to feeling like a teenager yourself, don’t you? I’m ‘lucky’ in that I know the threat of taking away his XBox would be enough. I haven’t had to do that yet, but I’ve been *this* close A LOT! I wish I had some advice for you other than ‘pick your battles’, which doesn’t really help when you’re in the thick of it does it?! It will pass eventually, but in the meantime, there’s always gin x

  8. Oh my goodness, my son is 11 months old but I can sense the defiance building already. Must be his father’s influence. He always has to have his own way. Good luck and if in doubt, just drink wine. xx

  9. Hmm..so not looking forward to the teenage phase! Although the toddler phase sounds pretty similar, especially the backchat and the defiance! Cheers to a cyber gin and a glass of wine xx #singleparentlinky

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