Tuesday 6 June 2023

JUST YOU WAIT, Said no kind person ever. TEEN VERSION.

Danger High Voltage Sign

Ah shite. I’ve become THAT mum. The mum of a teen who wants to scream JUST YOU WAIT! I mean, I say I WANT to scream because I know I shouldn’t. But I did, accidentally, to a colleague the other day. She was talking about her niece battling a newly emerged three-anger from a very docile 2 yr old.

And it just came out by mistake.

I was mid-way through half term, half working, half battling bored kids. Stressed, thinking about all the things I need to do and haven’t done.

 So, I blurted it. “Ugh, she should wait til they’re teens! Constant but incomprehensible anger, unmitigated selfishness and they NEVER go to bed”.

My colleague, bless her, defended her niece. As well she should. “Well, she’s finding it pretty tough”. I felt awful. Of course, she is! Having a small, unreasonable being who doesn’t know if they want peas/chips/yogurt even when they have it in their hands, is exhausting. The tantrums leave you wrecked, you’ve likely been awake super early, no daytime naps to have down time and you’ve got bedtime to contend with. No one EVER needs to hear at that stage, that it gets worse.

Preteens and teens are a much easier phase in the parenting timeline, in general. It’s not unrelenting work, anxiety, and exhaustion. There’s lots more sleep, which makes everything easier to cope with. There’s so much more independence. No physically getting small, unwieldy arms into coats and wriggly feet into socks. No bum wiping WOOOHOO! No fetching drinks and snacks (although the request for these items has doubled from the teen, where do they put it all?!). And loads of the time they just want to get on with their own stuff.

But, it is a BIT hard work, isn’t it? Like this sweet, funny, shy boy who would eat anything pretty much now freaks OUT if his dinner isn’t Buldak super-hot noodles with a soft-boiled egg and spring onions cut up on it. If I dare to make anything remotely healthy that he was more than happy to eat literally LAST YEAR, it’s major kick off time. I’m talking stir fry, chilli, bolognese, lentil dhal and rice, quorn korma…. I mean not totally disgusting foods?! (No liver & onions here!). Even if we suggest previous fail-safes: pizza, chip shop chips or pasta pesto the result is often “OHMYGOOOOOOD” followed by door slamming. It’s such an odd thing to get angry about. The unpredictability of when the food angers will appear as well?! Flip!

Must-have teen nosh

In fact, the explosive anger and inability to see their actions as selfish is something I really struggle with. I KNOW it’s hormones. I know teen brains are wired to be self-absorbed so that they can sponge up all the knowledge they need to grow. It is a really hard time for them emotionally and I still remember the confusion of being stuck between being a kid and being an adult.

But knowing it intellectually and trying not to instinctively react to a kid who is talking to you as if you were a) a moron b) his servant is veeeeery hard. Because usually my instinct is to bellow his name VERY loudly and I don’t often win the inner battle to remain calm.

Also, evenings are no longer your own. Just as we’ve done one bedtime with the preteen which is a protracted process marked by PDA and other potentially ASD trickiness, the teen then wants attention all to himself.

I understand. This is his time with us solo. If he wants to watch a film, then that’s fab. I get to veg & we get to chill together. But loads of times he’s hyper and jumping up and down and winding the kitten up and doing impressions of me (does anyone else’s kid do this?! It drives me BONKERS) and asking me 400000 questions which he then doesn’t listen to the answer to. And then asking for snacks JUST as it’s time to go up for bed. WHY THEN?!

All this being moaned about said I would NOT go back to toddler times. I love seeing my mini adults emerge. It IS a better time of life and despite the angers, I am proud of who my teen is becoming. It’s hard but it’s ok. Yey!

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