Teenage Troubles

I want to be a good mum. Actually, I want to be a great mum, one of the best and I want my my boys to really connect with me. I didn’t, however, anticipate what I was in for with teenage years. I can’t stop looking back at photos of their cute little faces and curly blonde hair. Scrumptious, sweet, adorable cherubs and they adored me.

Not so much adoring going on now. Lots of doors closing in my face and sulky, sullen exchanges of words. Other people always comment on what a lovely and polite boy my eldest is, which is great to hear and I’m so proud of him for that. Sadly, I don’t see much of that side of him at home. He generally can be seen rolling his eyes, completely irritated by my presence. When did I become so uncool?

What I didn’t appreciate when I was a teenager was how much my mum and dad had to bite their tongues to stop themselves from lowering to my base level. The temptation to stamp my feet, say something really spitefully sarcastic and add a swear word for effect is huge. It’s a level of self control I never knew I had and I don’t always manage to have it either. My 13 year old has not reached quite the same level of ‘teenage’ communication yet but it will come I am sure. My eldest, B, is 16 in a few weeks. I was in his way in the kitchen today. He had earphones in and he just snarled. Literally snarled at me. I’m not kidding. If looks could kill I’d be a gonner. Then off he stomped to his bedroom, Xbox on and the door firmly shut. The strange thing is that at other times he is clearly still a child. My baby. He will forget himself occasionally and “mummy” will slip out instead of “mum” or “oy!”. He’s generally not keen on any touchy feely stuff but if I am sad then he has no problem with giving me a hug. It’s the moments where it feels as though he really doesn’t like me that are the hardest. I guess that’s what we sign up for when we become parents. Doesn’t make it any easier when your time comes though.

My role seems different now. It’s to parent from a distance maybe. To gently guide but not dictate or control. To allow him space to find his own way and begin to develop his adult personality. To let him separate from me but continue to provide security and reassurance. He needs an environment where he can take some risks knowing that there is a safety net of his family to catch him if he needs it. Goodness it’s complex when you write it down. I know I am never going to get it right all the time but I’ll do my best and my best means doing it sober. B still remembers the rubbish I used to spout when I’d been drinking. He’s repeated it back to me on a couple of occasions. I’m so relieved that doesn’t happen any longer.

I’m not a perfect parent but I doubt anyone is. I lose my temper, try to control too much and sometimes withdraw. I love them both with all my heart and watching them grow into young adults is a bitter sweet experience. So proud of them and happy they are independent and confident, but at the same time wanting them to stay little and close to me. Yep, these teenage years are tricky to navigate but I am facing them head on. I am not wallowing in a fog of booze and drowning my sorrows. Instead, I am clear and awake. I am experiencing the good times and finding the positives, of which, my friends, there are many.

Claire x

ps. The title photo is B’s self portrait for a lockdown task set by his uncle. Pretty cool eh?

35 thoughts on “Teenage Troubles”

  1. Sounds like you’re doing a beyond good job, Claire. I on the other hand I tended to roar back early on..only to discover that was indeed not a great response. My daughter and I definitely had our moments. Those days are definitely tough as you say when you remember them always lighting up when you entered the room. I also agree after a certain point you have given them all you knew in regards to forming a base and after that they won’t take anymore advice and you just hope it was enough. Big hugs my friend🤗🤗🤗. Now kick their asses outside to get those chores done – ha😂

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    1. Some days I just can’t keep calm but I am calmer more often when sober and taking the antidepressants. It is lovely to look back to when they were little but sometimes I have to purposefully not do that, looking forward is the direction of travel. Oh and yes, I do kick their asses. I’m nice, but not that nice 😉😂🤗

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  2. Oh Claire, this must be so so hard. I also can’t imagine how frustrating it must be too not to answer back. For what it’s worth I was a difficult teenager and then became closer to my mum around 18 again. I think you’re an amazing mum and they’re very lucky to have you. Big hugs xxxx

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    1. Thanks lovely friend. It definitely has its frustrating and upsetting moments but there are also times where they are great company and I like who they are becoming. I try not to dwell too much on what they were like. It just makes me sad and I can’t get those days back. I have to make the most of the ones we have together now instead. Hugs back xxx

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  3. Claire you have nailed the how to parent teenagers with your description here! Pat Crittenden once said to me when I was lamenting the loss of my girls earlier adoration ‘how do you separate from the people who love you the most and who care for you (and separation and individuation is the task of adolescence) without rejecting them? It’s normal that they do though hard to bear – I used to imagine myself in a bubble with the words bouncing off before they got to me! Thankfully they become adults and it changes again – you sound like an amazing mum! Lucky boys 💞💞

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    1. Ah thank you DrGS, it makes me happy you say that. I’m definitely using the bubble analogy … that sounds like it will help enormously. That’s so interesting, that they have to reject us in order to become individuals. Interesting times 💕💕

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  4. Love the self portrait!! Ah, yes. I’m with you in teenage land. Not always a pleasant place, but still many rewards, as you said. And truthfully, they may not always like us, but they always love us. 💕 xx

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  5. Oh the teenage years. I really try to remind myself that there was a time if my mom even said the word “and” I would roll my eyes at her! 😂, but so true! My oldest just started college and had to come home for the weekend for an orthodontist appt. She was polite and nice but you could tell she just couldn’t wait to get back to that college. I get it, but like you said I keep remembering when their little lives lit up when they saw me and would cry if they couldn’t be with me. You’re a great mom for sure! It’s all about those teenage years… XOXO

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    1. I suppose we have to be happy they are enjoying life and their independence. That’s what’s it’s about after all. I still have moments of petulance with my mum now .. at 48 😂😂
      Hope you are ok lovely friend 😘 xx

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  6. Hi Claire. I love the self portrait. My daughter just had to do a similar kind of self portrait for school. This sounds so hard, but I guess we all have to go through it. Not looking forward to it! I’m sure that you are a great mom, and your boys will come back around eventually. So hard in the meantime, though! Hang in there! Sending ❤️ and 🤗

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    1. It is hard but there are positives too. They can both be great company and it’s nice to have some freedom and space for yourself. It just takes a little getting used to again. I hope we stay close but boys don’t always tend to. I guess there are just no guarantees with kids.

      How was your birthday Leafy? Xxx

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  7. it never stops, that parenting stuff…i’m still dealing with much of the same from my two lovable 30 year olds….just grateful they aren’t in my house everyday or i would definitely have been on the verge of homocide by now…i just cannot imagine a lockdown with any kids , no matter what age! this pandemic is sure making for some stronger mammas & pappas ! Maybe keep reminding yourself – you surely deserve credit!

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    1. Actually Lovie that is a very good point. It has been an additional challenge for sure! They are in school today and I am not working. I am currently on my own in the park, sitting on a bench in the sun, drinking my coffee. It is heaven xx

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  8. Claire, you sound like SUCH an amazing mother. I am serious. Your boys are lucky to have you and you are navigating teenage trouble with such grace and thoughtfulness. One day (hopefully soon lol) your eldest will thank you 🙂 xxxx Anne

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    1. Thank you Anne. I’m sure I’m not always amazing but I am trying my best and when my mood is good I can remain calmer for longer! Hope you are doing ok with the final stages xxx

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  9. Teenage years are so hard!! Believe me – as currently raising two – what you are going through is completely normal. That doesn’t make it any less painful though. It hurts so badly. Or how about when they’re constantly snarling or in a bad mood from school, and ya feel like you have to walk on egg shells!?

    I feel you completely, but it sounds like you’re doing a great job, everything right and as best you could. Would you even be a parent if they didn’t snarl and scoff at you? 😂🤣 Gotta take the good with the bad. My teens are also very confusing. Some days they are extremely close to me, and both of them will ask for random hugs. (LOVE LOVE LOVE). Other days they want nothing to do with me, I get eye rolls, and the above mentioned snarls and scoffs.

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  10. Hug
    I have a 17 yo son and 15 yo daughter.
    I admit, I am an extremely open and permissive parent. My younger has severe anxiety and she needs me to be stable and calm and so I am that way with them both. I leave much to them to manage. Sleep times, studying, etc.

    When Craig and I separated we all became even closer. Without a second parent to manage (or second guess me) I have chosen to parent my way and no one criticizes or objects.

    As a result I find our family of 3 is very calm and close. I grew up in a yelling, door slamming house. I could not manage that.

    Maybe I am just lucky that both my kids are like me…introverted, smart, calm. They have turned into the most interesting people.

    Hugs. I have wished they came with instructions many times!

    Anne

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  11. Ah teenage years- hard to believe but I was a nightmare teenager always arguing and being a smartarse with me dad- can you believe that? AS DGS says teenage years are about separation and individuation. That can involve some testing of boundaries and pushing away. See it as a sign that you’re doing your job- creating individuals and not clingy mummy’s boys! Well done but it is hard and it will turn out fine. Look at how I turned out! X

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    1. Oh Jim that’s fill me with so much hope and joy … they might turn out to be mild mannered, non judgemental, easy going adults just like you 😉😁. Yep, tricky times but there are some lovely things about these times too. Important to hold onto that I think. Xx

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