We have a pretty good teen on the whole. He walks the dogs on his own, pops to the shop for me when I’ve forgotten something for tea, lays the table and is very concerned about politics and the environment. But he is 13.
This morning I was sitting in bed reading another blog about parenting and laughed out loud. My other half wandered out of the bathroom and asked why.
“I’m reading a post on Facebook about a teen who never answers his mother when called and then swears blind that he did,” I said. He smiled and said, “Well our version is the ‘I’m doing it conversation’.”
Let me enlighten you…
Several times a day, I’ll call up the stairs and ask our teen, who spends most of his time in his bedroom, to do something.
Me: “Can you get in the shower please.”
Teen: “OK Mum.”
Five minutes later not having heard any movement I’ll climb the stairs to his room, suspecting that he’s engrossed on his phone or reading a book and not doing what I asked.
I open the door to find him lying on the sofa.
Me: “Why haven’t you got in the shower?”
Teen: “I’m doing it!” in an aggrieved tone.
Me, through gritted teeth: “No you’re not, you’re lying on the sofa looking at YouTube/reading your book.”
Teen: “Well, I’m doing it now!” picking up his phone/book and retreating again.
Me, in a stressed tone: “Come on, give me your phone/put the book down and go do it.”
Teen with his best flounce and putting down the offending article: “OK”
Objective achieved I retreat to the kitchen, grumbling under my breath. I wouldn’t mind so much if this was an occasional occurrence but this conversation plays on a loop all week and then when we get to Monday morning, oh joy, it starts all over again.
It isn’t only mine I know, teens all over the world do this as part of the letting go process. But it would be nice if, for once, the teen did things the first time of asking; there would be less stress all round.
Whenever I see parents with small children, I come over all nostalgic and think “You don’t know how easy you have it!”