Feb 11, 2017

Teenage Weirdness

There is this weird thing happening around here and it's really making me stop and take stock every few days...

I have a teenager.

A teenager who has just, in the last six months or so, turned surly. There is no other word for it. He is super,
duper,
SURLY!

And I have a 12-year-old who is entering the "question-everything-and-argue-for-the-sake-of-arguing" phase.

TWO!
Two boys who are in the throws of hormonal calamity.
Constant mood upheaval and fluctuation. Doug says he doesn't think he can handle it.
He's only here half the time.

It's just really weird watching all of these super cliche stereotypes happen before my eyes!
Let's take the eldest. He doesn't want me to touch him any more. No more hugs.
Unless he's in a *rare* good mood while also needing some attention. Then he'll come curl up with me on the couch or start trying to bait me into wrestling him. He's discovered that for the first time in his life, he's stronger than an adult and he loves getting a chance to stretch those muscles. (Me. I'm the adult. So that's not saying much because I'm super wimpy.)

Also, both boys are officially calling me on my hypocrisy. I mean, I always knew it would happen one day. You can only get away with constantly contradicting yourself as a parent for just so long before someone notices.

{Here's a good example: Me: "STOP YELLING AND TALK TO YOUR BROTHER NICELY!!!" with rage in my eyes and spit flying from my lips...
Or, another common theme: "Quit being so obsessed with devices! Go do something productive!!! *Glances down at phone and clicks on IG for 18th time...*}

 And then there's #2.

"Why do I have to go to bed early?"
"It's not early. It's 9:30."
"That's super early! I'M NOT EVEN TIRED!!!"
"Listen mister, I know you're just being argumentative because..."
"JUST BECAUSE YOU READ SOME STUPID ARTICLE ON PARENTING YOU THINK YOU KNOW EVERYTHING AND YOU DON'T! I'M *NOT* TIRED AND I DO NOT HAVE TO GO TO BED!!!"
"Hey, I'm not saying this because of an article..."
"YES YOU ARE! EVERYTHING YOU SAY IS FROM A STUPID ARTICLE!"
"Listen, you're body needs rest..."
"YOU ALWAYS SAY THAT AND IT'S *NOT* TRUE!!!

I feel like most of the time I can handle these interactions okay.
Right up until I can't. (Uh, let's just say 4-6pm before eating isn't my best time.)
And then I "Hulk Out" and go full-on ballistic.

I've tried to analyze my melt-downs after-the-fact so that I can avoid them in the future. A few common triggers I've notice for above average personal melt-downs are these:

*Senseless acts of violence perpatrated by a bored brother onto a super whiny brother. *Screaming ensues*
*Asking "Why" for the 18th time after I've already told him why. (Always followed by "But that doesn't make any sense." Even when it makes perfect sense.)
*Being disrespectful to Dad. (Alternately, Doug is not super happy with them being disrespectful to me.)
*Child yelling, in my face, for the 87th time, "THAT'S NOT FAIR". (I never said it was fair. It might not be fair. BUT FAIR IS NOT THE POINT! NOT EVERYTHING HAS TO BE BLEEPING FAIR!!!)
*And did I already say "Repeating myself for the 94th time."?? I don't like repeating myself. I repeat, I DO NOT LIKE REPEATING MYSELF! ESPECIALLY WHEN I WAS PERFECTLY CLEAR THE FIRST TIME! ARE WE CLEAR?!? I THOUGHT I WAS CLEAR!
Or do you need to hear it one more time...??

But that's just life with kids, right? They're never perfectly well-behaved and then they become teens and things get kicked up into a new realm of hormones, angst, and baffling insecurities swirled with feelings of super-human superiority.
So I try to remember that I was a teen once. I did stupid and reckless things. I fought and yelled and honest-to-goodness absolutely believed I knew more than every adult in my life, and I still somehow managed to grow into a relatively productive member of society. (I said productive. I won't throw around terms like "well-adjusted" or "normal", but I have produced five humans and that's not nothin'.)

So after the disagreements. And fights. And complete nuclear meltdowns,
I walk away,
and regroup,
maybe eat my feelings a little bit,
pray for strength and patience and help for the billionth time,
apologize if needed,
--even when it's not wanted--
and wake up ready to do it all again.

Heaven help me. Heaven help all humans living in the same house as a teenager.

Amen.

P.S. I wrote this a few weeks ago and never pushed "publish" because it doesn't feel finished. I don't have a strong conclusion because, well, I don't have a strong conclusion. I don't actually have a real life answer on how to fix this, or make it better, or any profound insights or conclusions or anything. Can bloggers even write posts that don't offer super definite answers and/or polarizing advice any more? Is it even legal? Regardless, I'll leave it up to those of you with more wisdom and older children. Help me out. How does this story end?

P.P.S. If you know my eldest in real life, how 'bout we don't mention this post to him and just keep it between us. He's still mad at me for trying to hug him earlier.

4 comments:

dalebud said...

You have no idea how this post has caused me to regret that I could have been and that I should have been more like you when I had teenagers. I think you are doing a much better job raising your teens than I did with mine. But then, each generation should build upon and improve. The mark of a wise parent is building upon the past to make the future generations better. The greatest spirits have been reserved to come forth in the last days.

LaDawn Hall said...

I'm right there with you! Today I had a conversation that started with me saying, "You need to take a shower today," and ended with a child screaming, "WHY DO YOU HATE ME?!" There was some other stuff said in between (and some doors slammed, and a device confiscated) but when I looked back on it to "analyze the meltdown" as you put it, the essence of it really can be captured in just those two sentences: need shower>>mom hates me. I don't have a conclusion for this comment either. Hopefully whoever reads it has or has had teenagers and will Just Know. And now I'm doing that thing where I knock twice on my chest, kiss my two fingers, and salute you.

Sherm said...

Eventually, while it may not help now (and you may look at me as they now look at you), they and you get through it and they grow up to be something like their mom.

KT said...

I love this Emily. If only there was some sort of support group for all of us that are parenting teens so we'd know we weren't alone and that we do make a lot of sense despite what our teens tell us. Hang in there. My 16 yr old... Oh my... Good times. I have nightmares about when my boys are all teens. Yikes!

Also... Keep blogging! I love it!