This photograph of peace and happiness was my family a year ago. I had a chilled husband, sweet boy, delightful toddler and cute little baby. And now? Well, let’s just say we were struck with a teenager, a threeanger, and a noise maker.
Having a teenager has challenges and Jimmy is no exception. If you’ve been reading this blog since 19-voetsak then you’ll know that I have a special place in my heart for my boy. I imagine this is why he inspires such incredible rage in me. Honestly, I cannot express how skilled this child is at pushing my buttons. Nobody else in the world has, does and will ever inspire such highs and lows of emotion in me like my son does.
It was a normal start to the day (sort of). We have a rule that there are no phones in the bedroom after bedtime. We also don’t allow laptops or any other such nonsense in order to try and ensure he actually gets to sleep before midnight. I went to wake him up and noticed the laptop tucked under the bed. This started a chain of anger back and forth between us until he said that was it and he’s leaving the house.
Because I’m stubborn and not mother-of-the-year, I simply said,
“No problem, just hang about until after the school run so I can make sure the door is locked properly behind you..”
This triggered more anger, choice words and some banging about.
It was around about this time (and I must stress that it’s not yet 8 am), that my darling Jocelyn, angel face and joy decides that she is NOT wearing shoes today. At all.
“Put your shoes on Jocelyn,”
And because I’m stubborn and not mother-of-the-year, I simply said,
“No problem, let’s just walk to school in your socks then…”
This triggered a meltdown with a lot of sobbing,
“I CAN’T go to school in just my SOCKS. Everyone will LAUGH at me!!” Cue falling on the floor in a puddle of an immense tantrum.
“I’M NOT KIDDING MOM, I’M LEAVING. I CAN’T TAKE THIS FAMILY ANYMORE!” yelled Jimmy
“Put your shoes on NOW Jocelyn and come and say farewell to Jimmy!” I shouted. “Jasmine get out of the bin! NOW!”
“NO!” shouted Jasmine collapsing on the floor mimicking her older sister.
It’s safe to say that I did not have control of the situation at this point.
So because I’m stubborn and not mother-of-the-year, I simply said,
“Oh sod the lot of you,” and walked out of the room.
Eventually, I took Jocelyn to school. In shoes. Jasmine and I walked back with her trying to run in traffic rather than hold my hand, you know, for her own blasted safety. However just as I was contemplating letting her just go run off, she turned around and said,
“Mommy, love you too. You cute.”
Jimmy was home when we got back and after agreeing he should go out for a bit of air, calm down and so on, we agreed to touch base again at lunch time and talk it out. That took us about 3 hours in the end but thankfully he stayed put.
I’ve still got a box on order big enough to fit 3 children in..
… with a few packs of hair dye and a lifetime delivery of Prosecco in the works for me…
The serious bit…
I often write in a way that makes light of situations, but honestly I was floored and heart-broken when my son said he was leaving. As with everything related to Jimmy, he is my first child, so every situation is new to me and I rarely have the answers or ability to deal with it on my own. I felt lost, and totally confused, especially thinking that we do so much, sacrifice so much and literally everything we do as parents is for him and the girls. You cannot help but feel like bad parents, terrible human beings and a failure at being the guide, mentor and loving support your children require.
I found these sites which in some cases were helpful for advice, understanding and also just to see other stories of families. It helps to understand that the child/parent dynamic is unique and yet there are so many similarities in the way that children behave and mistakes that we all make.
If you feel like you are barely treading water with a teenager I would recommend the following sites to begin with:
Relate – for advice and information with parenting
Shelter – this is where I went first for advice on runaway teenagers.
Empowering Parents – I found this site useful for practical steps on how to work around the emotional melting pot that is a teenager
There are probably loads of sites and resources I missed, but these are the sites I looked at yesterday when I was in the thick of it, and I found them very helpful.
Please feel free to comment and let me know if there are other resources you would recommend.