Teenagers. I am living proof it is possible to actually enjoy those annoying, hormonal, child/adult hybrids who have taken your phone, tv., computer and fridge hostage.
One of my sons, in his early teens, had just announced he could not stand living under our roof another minute,
“I’m out of here!,” he bellowed, “and don’t expect me to come back!”
The door slammed and he tore off on his ten-speed bike. Of course, my father was visiting and witnessed this dramatic episode. After a few minutes, Dad turned to my husband Michael and wondered, “Aren’t you going to go after him?”
Michael calmly kept reading, then looked up and explained, “Oh, I’m not worried. The only place near enough to bike to is one of his buddy’s and they don’t feed kids over there. He’ll be back when he is hungry enough.”
Sure enough, hunger brought my son home late that night. We did not need to pronounce any ultimatums because the recognition he still needed to live at home and attempt to get along with our rules and his family was humbling enough. No need to rub his face in the facts.
Teenagers are often humiliated by their mistakes in judgment so they relish the opportunity to catch us in the wrong. For example, Michael’s usual response to swearing, disrespect or a poor attitude was, “Leave that sort of stuff at school!”
One evening at the dinner table on a Sunday, Michael yelled in anger at the dog.
David had just filled his plate and was coming back to the table. He leaned over, looked at his dad and with a twinkle in his eye and a huge grin on his face said, “Leave that sort of stuff at church, eh Dad!”
Michael snapped out of his bad mood and had to smile. The kid was right. David’s humour diffused the situation and Michael was the one who had to apologize this time.
Teenagers have a deep inner compulsion to rile their parents and flaunt rules in a blind attempt to figure out who they are in and of themselves. If I remember this fact, I don’t overreact to obnoxious behaviour. I like to compare teenagers to two-year-olds because the very same dynamic is unfolding, only this time it is a stressful transition from childhood to adulthood which requires many years to complete. I read somewhere that young adults finally get an adult brain when they’re 25! In our family, we actually celebrate this birthday and welcome our offspring into full adulthood.
Sometimes teenagers, boys especially, like to prove their new-found strength. David loved to come behind me in the kitchen and with a huge grin on his face pick me up and swing me around or even turn me upside down!
“Oh well,” I’d think to myself, “This too will pass, this too will pass.”