Sometimes, when I sit and think calmly and carefully about the way I react to things, I know damn well that I can sometimes behave like a petulant child. All the toys out of the pram. Honestly, that isn’t very often but if I am pushed to the limits of all reasonable patience, I lose reasonable sight of behaving like a grown up.
This can be a tricky one when you are the grown up and you are dealing with your own children.
Take a recent spat with the teen as a very excellent example.
He has been a bit of a swine lately. Swine is the polite word. There are lots of other words, but let us stick with swine in the interest of diplomacy.
I adore my son (as I do all my offspring, just on the off chance they ever read this and leap to the assumption that that statement means I don’t adore them).
He is amazing. He always has been and I am always singing his praises to whoever will listen. Since the move to high school last September, we have seen a big change in him. It is only to be expected, hormones, girls, more homework, devices, social media. All that can mess with your head, I do get it. I am still clinging on to some memories from my own teen years. Turning fourteen seemed to bring with it a delightful surge of hormonal unpleasantness and the last few months have been somewhat challenging.
He is the same great kid and although we do still catch the odd glimpse, more often than not, we are greeted with surly aggression, monosyllabic conversation, a head that is constantly in his phone and an inability to remember a conversation that we had five minutes before.
As understanding as I am desperately trying so hard to be, there are times when I just want to scream and shout. At the end of the day, we are trying our hardest to support him and there are times when his behaviour is just downright rudeness.
That is when I get rather annoyed.
We went to Lyme Regis at Easter and he was horrendous. Full on stroppy teenage strop in all its glory. After the first day, he refused to leave the hotel. I was not amused but my husband convinced me that we should sit down and talk it through and he did reluctantly apologise and I was for the time being at least, calm.
Since then, however, he has been really awkward at times and a couple of weekends ago, he was so incredibly rude, we had a bit of a shout at each other, I tried to take his phone off him, he refused and went out in a huge huff with much door slamming and stamping. It was all rather dramatic.
Cross didn’t come close. I was furious. So I did what any sensible mother would do and I stopped speaking to him.
Yes, I know that is completely immature and the sensible thing would have been to sit down and talk about it all once we had both calmed down.
Yes, I know ignoring your own son is not setting a particularly good example.
Yes, I know.
Part of the problem with my son and I is that we are very similar and that is why we clash. Most of the time we get on really well but when we don’t, we really don’t.
The other thing is that sometimes, just sometimes, I get tired of this adulting. Why can’t I throw all of my toys out of the pram from time to time?
So I ignored him. I still made sure that he was fed and clothed but I avoided him around the house and I only spoke to him when I had to. That went on for a week. Being equally as stubborn as me, he was quite happy to avoid me too. A few texts passed between us when he needed something but that was the extent of any conversation.
I was angry but now I am angrier with myself for being such an idiot. But, having said that, he is fourteen and in my humble opinion, he should be able to come and apologise for being so awful the previous weekend, hormones or no hormones. My avoidance of him is more about not getting into another shouting match and giving us some space and time to calm down but I know that me acting like a two-year-old is not exactly nurturing or supportive.
We are into week two now and things have thawed slightly. I am still cross with him and things are a little ‘frosty’, which is quite a sad state of affairs but we are talking to each other every now and then. I guess it is time to be a grown up and either invite him for some peace talks or just move the hell on, life’s too short after all.
This parenting business is hard work sometimes, isn’t it?