To My Teenage Son

TEXT HERE (1)

As I sat there on the bathroom floor sobbing quietly to myself wondering where on earth I’ve gone wrong. I thought I was doing ok,not perfect but who is? But it’s so much harder than I ever imagined it could be. Being the parent of a teenager is bloody hard, when that teenager wants to be treated as an adult yet the behaviour they display is that of a child just without the high pitched screeching (most of time).

Son, do you think it’s ok that your Mum is feeling worthless because you’ve just told her to stay out of your business again when she tried to engage you in conversation? Or your Step-Dad is in the shed trying to calm down because you’ve told him to eff off when he asked you to clear your mess?

Us parents who gave up years and years of our lives, took meaningless jobs so we could provide food to go in your mouth because we wanted a family, children to love and care for who would love them back, only to find that years down the line said child would throw it all back in our face and fight against every rule they’ve made to keep you safe. Every suggestion to help you get on in life. Those parents that scrimped and saved and went without just so you could get the things on your Christmas list.Sacrificed their social lives and stopped going out with their friends, some of which lost them a friendship or 2 because those friends stopped asking after a while, fed up of being rejected.

Replaced the phones you lost and/or smashed so you can communicate with your social group even though we could ill afford it. Moan that we take away your essential wifi akin to removing all the blood in your body because it seems to be the only punishment that gets through.

Become best friends with slamming doors and huge sighs of irritation at the slightest ask of help, why should we do all the dishes only to find you’ve abandoned your glass on the kitchen counter because it’s beneath you to just swill the damn thing out.

Get out of bed at 12pm and demand a lift to somewhere you should have been an hour ago, hang on – I thought you were an adult – you know, the type who get themselves out of bed and go to work and earn a living?

I was a teenager, I know it’s hell on earth at times but one thing I do remember and remember well is not to bite the hand that feeds. Once you’re out in that big, bad world you’ll know. You’ll see what we’ve been saying all along is true and that really deep down you’re still a little kid who has no idea what they’re doing. I know because I’ve done it. I left home at 17 thinking I was the kiddie and I could rule the world. Til I realised that world was actually full of an awful lot of some quite horrible people. People who don’t care about you and would walk past you if you were on fire. Who do you run to then? I think we all know the answer to that.

Son I love you with all my heart and soul but right now I’m not liking how things are going. I want my boy back, the one who hung off my leg and watched intently everything i did. Where did he go? I only hope that one day we can look back and laugh. Until then we have to ride it out.

 

Julie x (2)

24 thoughts on “To My Teenage Son

  1. It gets better Julie. I’m pretty sure my poor mother had the same problems if not worse.

    I once heard someone say that when a child hits the teenage stages you just pray that they come out the other side eventually as a decent human being.

    Sorry I’ve no words of wisdom to help you, but it does get better.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Julie…as a mother of 4 boys…2 in there 20’s 1 is 14 and a cute as a button 7 year old…I know it gets better. They do return to you around 17/18 yrs only a little bit different than before . What i’ve leant is to pick my battles. If his room is a mess …so what, he has to live in ti not me. I just close the door. But being rude is not tolerated in my house. I know this ‘Phase’ does not last forever…. we just have to get through it the best we can .

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  3. Oh Julie.
    Sending you the biggest hugs – what an emotional post.
    You’re a fab mum, don’t ever think any different.
    Teenage years suck. Everyone has a blip but I truly hope your son comes out the other side and realises how hurtful he’s been.
    Just keep reminding yourself it’s not your fault. Hormones and them finding their feet is a tough roller coaster to ride. I’m truly dreading it.
    Sending love.xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We have recently ridden this wave too. I shouted, slammed doors and used a few choice words to his face at times. He said he wanted to live with his dad. It wasn’t getting us anywhere, only making it worse. We made a choice to stop the tantrums (all mine – he would just smirk) and things got better. We had a few non-negotiables – school work, being polite but every thing else was up for discussion. At times I had to walk away and stop communicating altogether otherwise we were going straight back to tantrum city again. With me biting my tongue a lot I think we have come through the worst of it. Hang on in there – it really does get better, you need to learn to love each other in a different way and once that happens you’ll find out what a truly amazing person you have raised. 😘 Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thankyou,I know what you mean sometimes I can really feel myself losing my temper when he faces up to me (or down to me,doesn’t help he’s a good 6 inches taller) and I just have to walk away because it’s like he’s just switched off and isn’t taking anything in at all.I know deep down he’s a good kid and once he comes through it I really hope we can have a good relationship x

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  5. I don’t think going on about how much you’ve scrimped and sacrificed is remotely relevant. Your children didn’t ask you to do that, it was your choice. I’m sorry you’re having a tough time but bringing that stuff up isn’t helping your cause. I hope things get better soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What you say is all relevant, because its how you feel. Don’t listen to anyone who tries to silence you. Its a big kick in the teeth when they treat you badly when all you’ve ever done is try to protect them and do what’s best. Remember it isn’t personal, it will settle down again. It can be worse when you have other family members who won’t work with you but work against you and tell them they don’ have to listen to you. I hope you have all the support in the world from your family and friends and I hope he settles down soon. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have earned my living working with teenagers and young adults most of my life.

    Most grow up at some point between 14 and 24 with the “average” being about 17 – 19. Then you will have decades of peer to peer relationship, and who knows where that might lead? My mums still alive at 90 and although the last 10 years have been increasingly afflicted by old age, from the time I was 16 and “independent” until she was 80, many decades later, we had a very good relationship; now it is my responsibility to look after her with professional input.

    So, in addition to woes of the present, try and look forward, there will probably come a time when he will look back and realise, to use an old fashioned term, that there were times when he had “fallen from grace”, if that is the case, life will present many opportunities for him demonstrate his regret and display mature acts of love towards you.

    From one who also experiences the smiles and tears of living.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Julie
    I have a 17 year old and as a family we have been through some very difficult times with her. I’ve made many mistakes in my parenting but one of the worst ones has been to hold my disappointment over my daughter’s head. Reminding her of how much she has hurt us and how much we do for her is – I belatedly realised, was the fastest and best route to alienating her even faster and further. Some teenagers respond very badly to feeling guilty – they simply can’t cope with it, and the best way for them to get out of that bad emotional place is to be even ruder, more hard faced and less caring than they were before. It’s a form of denial. Reminding her of our sacrifices and talking about how hard-done by we felt also made us feel more angry and resentful towards her. Not a good combination.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry you’ve been through it too,hard isn’t it.Actually you’ve made a very valid point I never tell him outright I’m disappointed in him but I do feel it and will take on board what you’ve said x

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    • This is such a good point.
      Also, have you stopped to think about why your son is acting this way? In your post, you barely acknowledge his point of view except that being a teenager is ‘hell on earth at times’. You are talking about him as though he only exists as your child, not an independent person. How would you feel if someone treated you that way? It will only cause resentment – teenagers usually yearn for independence and to be treated as an adult, whether or not you feel they are ready for that.

      I was a ‘difficult’ teenager but now have an amazing and close relationship with my mum. I was diagnosed in my 20s with high-functioning autism, which explained a lot of my problems and frustrations as a teen.I know my mum feels a lot of guilt about how she handled things then, although of course she had no idea why I was behaving that way. We both wish she’d taken the time to think more about the causes of the behaviour, but she was probably just overwhelmed with stress and frustration. We’re all only human!

      With regards to all you’ve done for your child… Does this mean he owes you good behaviour? Sorry, but he doesn’t. By having a child, you committed to raising him through good and bad times. I’m sure it’s not easy… It must be impossible and even painful at times, but that is kinda what you signed up for.

      I don’t have children (because honestly, I couldn’t do what you do – giving up my life for someone else – it’s such an enormous undertaking that I have a lot of respect for) but I would like to offer some advice. Any sociology textbook will tell you about self-fulfilling prophecies… For example, if a teacher expects a student to get good or bad grades, their behaviour mirrors that, and eventually so do the grades. Perhaps it is the same for your son? If you are perpetually frustrated by him, he will feel it. And when people feel fear, they often become angry. It may make things much worse. Don’t see him as ‘taking advantage’ of your help, or as being lazy or careless, but as an imperfect man-in-training who is perhaps struggling to navigate his way through adolescence.

      I have no doubt that his behaviour is probably annoying and stressful as hell, and taking an emotional toll on the family, but it is probably affecting him too. But people find it hard to ask for help, and that is even more true for teenagers who already feel less capable than they want to be.

      Sorry for the long post, but I feel your pain and his pain too. Please remember that a time will come when he is chatting with you as an adult and says “god, I feel so bad when I think about what a nightmare teenager I was”. The next line could be “I can’t believe how patient you were… That’s what I want to do for my children one day” or it could be “I can’t believe we fought so much… I felt like you really hated me.”

      There will also be a time when he is the one scrimping and saving to buy you awesome Christmas presents that you would feel too guilty to buy yourself, because he appreciates all you’ve done for him. That probably seems like an eternity away, but it will go quicker than you think!

      My mum used to be so aggravated about having to give me lifts all the time etc.. And I sensed her annoyance, but as I had no other choice but to rely on her, I felt powerless. That made me feel defensive, which made me act hostile.

      Years later, we are so close, and I’ve supported her through anything and everything.
      She tells me she feels bad that she used to get so annoyed with me. She says she felt then like those times would last forever, and that’s why she got so worked up. She couldn’t see an end to it. Now I’m often busy with work, and am settled down and married etc., so we don’t get as much time together. She says she wishes she’d appreciated that time together while we had it, and can’t understand why giving lifts etc. annoyed her so much.

      So please remember that this time will end, and think about how you want to look back on it. As a parent, please try to support your son’s clumsy and ill-mannered attempts for independence. He still relies on you. If you set him an emotional and reactive role model, he isn’t going to respond with grace and maturity. You are the parent. That doesn’t make you the boss, it makes you the leader. Also remember that your son isn’t stupid or forgetful – he knows what you have done for him. Every child knows. But if you constantly hold it over his head, I can guarantee he won’t thank you for it. Being grateful to someone and thanking them out of genuine appreciation requires that you be on equal footing, and that won’t happen until he is a secure adult.

      Sorry for the long post, I hope it doesn’t sound too preachy. I don’t mean to diminish what you are going through… I know there are times when my mum cried her eyes out, and times when I did too. It’s really, really hard for the teenager, and I think it is unimaginably hard for the parent. But it gets better, and one day you will both be joking about his teenage bad behaviour. My dad certainly found it was great material for his speech at my wedding, haha! 🙂

      Good luck to you and your family ^_^ You’ll get through it! Remember, what you are doing is amazing, all the more so because of how damn hard it is.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I could have written this word for word about our teenage daughter. It’s frustrating, heartbreaking and is totally soul destroying at times. I understand every word – I think the only comfort we have is that we are not alone and it seems to be a common problem. Like you say, we just have to ride it out xxxxx

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  10. I have been mulling this over and read the blogg and comments once again.

    I would like to post a comment more from a professional / academic level here; I hope you do not mind.

    For most of history the concept of the teenager did not exist; there were adults and children. The teenager was originally a commercial “invention“, it has, in many ways. been a thorn in society ever since.

    In the early days it seemed to give rise to a “group culture”, e.g. Teddy Boys, Mods and Rockers, Skinheads etc. (I am old enough to have experienced these), but more recently seems to have ever more developed tensions in family relationships. Arguably we have as a society increasingly “infantised” and enfeebled our teens as the years have gone by. When I was 16 I had painted my mother’s house, externally, had a FT job, drove a works on site truck, worked some unsocial hours, studied for a traditional apprenticeship, continued my academic education P/T, sat on the church council, went fishing after dark with my mother’s permission, and, as soon as I was old enough, i.e. 18, had a role in a youth club. This sort of teen engagement with adults does not seem to exist to the same extent today, but I am convinced that many of today’s older teens would benefit from some extra responsibility with arm’s length supervision.

    On the behaviour front may I suggest a read of “Divas & Door Slammers: The Secret to Having a Better Behaved Teenager”

    By Charlie Taylor (Author)

    I found this most helpful,

    Best of luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    • From other people I’ve spoken to,they have said very similar,even my own father had a 40 hour week at a factory at the age of 15.So this makes absolute sense,I hadn’t really thought of it in that way.I will check out the book,thankyou.

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  11. Being a mom of a teen is SO hard. Harder than any other stage.
    They’re trying to find themselves and we’re always seeing them as our babies.

    I hope that this was just a little bump for you and that you’ll see brighter days soon.
    From one teen mom to another, hang in there mama. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Really brilliant post done this 3 times 2 more to go and 2 to leave their teens it’s tough and sometimes they are just appalling the way they talk to you. But it gets better just a different set of problems my oldest is 21 and believe me still getting issues stay strong 🙂

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