We have only had a teenager in the house for a matter of months and already I have seen a real change. There is an increase in hormones, surly behaviour at times and a refusal to let me go within two inches of him most of the time. All of these were pretty much expected. I have done the teenage thing once already and it is standard territory. Part of growing up and finding their independence whilst dealing with the physical and emotional side of the whole process.
The one I wasn’t expecting is the constant request; can I bring a friend?
We are still trying to cling onto family time and even though we don’t constantly impose it all of the time, there will be the odd thing at weekends or during school holidays where we try and rally some enthusiasm for a trip or an activity ‘en famille’.
For my teenage son, this is not a good idea. Oh no. You can see the disdainful look in his eye. Followed by the compulsory eye roll and accompanying sigh. You would think that we were trying to get him to do something so terrible when in fact we are trying to give them an opportunity to do something fun, whether it be a trip to a park, bowling, cinema or a trampoline park. Then he asks if he can bring a friend.
I know that he is growing up. I also do understand that there are some things and sometimes when he doesn’t want to join in. He wants to do stuff with his mates, he wants to shake the confines of the family. But. He spends most of his time with his friends. School, sport, clubs, going out to play football. He spends more time with his friends than he does with us. Even at home, he is either on his phone or on Xbox live communicating with his friends. Yet, still, the thought of spending even a short amount of time with us seems to fill him with horror.
So we have the discussion and there are times when I reluctantly agree as I am trying not to make his life a complete misery but there are also times when I stand my ground and say no, this is family time. The result of that will be much huffing and stamping of feet and he will either refuse to come or come and then what happens? He has a really good time and I have to resist the urge to shout “I told you so!” in his face.
It is all part of course with teenagers and I have to accept that this will be part of family life for the next few years. Having said that, I do accept that it will be a struggle but I will keep battling to have at least some family time without the addition of friends from time to time.
Then, of course, we will have girlfriends to deal with too. I can’t wait …