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!