Who Is This Teenage Tyrant and What Has He Done With My Son?

My sweet little guy, contemplating the universe, at age 6

My firstborn will turn 13 in less than a month, and let’s just say his attitude toward me has soured a bit in recent weeks. What once would have been a simple dialogue about what time he should leave for the bus turns into an all-out argument. My “suggestion” that navy blue and black do not go together is met with a dramatic roll of the eyes and a very audible sigh.

(Disclaimer No. 1: I feel it is my duty to intervene when the men in my life make fashion mistakes. I am certainly no fashionista — I purchase most of my clothes en route to the checkout at Target — but I know a blatant “don’t” when I see one. Plus, his father used to wear white tennis shoes in public, and he doesn’t even play tennis. Someone has to stop the cycle.)

The eyeroll-sigh combo is not something with which I am unfamiliar. My 11-year-old daughter, whom I adore (Disclaimer No. 2), has been shooting looks and stomping her feet since she was 3 (or was it 2?). But my son, the sweet angel boy who worships the ground I walk on? This is definitely new for him, and I don’t like it one bit.

Believe me, I understand teen angst. I was quite salty and rebellious in my teenage days (my husband might argue that some things never change). At 11, during the summer before seventh grade, I moved in with my father and new stepmother. My father and I hadn’t lived together since my mother died when I was a toddler, and my stepmom was 28 years old and had no children of her own. My teen years were a bumpy ride, to say the least.

Because it was such a particularly stressful period in my life, I kept a daily journal (there were no blogs in the late ’70s, folks). I guess that is part of why I remember it so vividly. I felt hurt, angry, resentful and unequivocally misunderstood. And so, as I remind myself constantly, I get this. I know what my son is going through, at least from the female perspective of being a teenager. But as his mother, it doesn’t make it any easier.

What gets me more than the bad attitude is that I just plain don’t want him to grow up. I’m not ready and don’t think I ever will be. So every once in a while, when I catch a glimpse of my sweet little boy in my almost teenager, I greedily gobble up the memory.

The other night, when he came home from swim practice, he bounded into the living room with his arms wide open and a big smile on his face. “How’s my favorite lady in the whole world doing?” he said, and gave me a bear hug. I knew that an hour later he’d be arguing with me about going to bed, but I held on tight and savored the moment anyway.

Do you have a teenager at home? How do you cope? This mama would love to hear your thoughts.


7 thoughts on “Who Is This Teenage Tyrant and What Has He Done With My Son?

  1. I refuse to believe my motley crew will grow up. Nope. Not gonna happen (as I type this one handed Linc is holding my other hand).

  2. Awww! I can’t wait to see those boys this summer! The time is flying by so fast. They need to meet their big cousins.

    Isn’t it crazy to think those little guys will be teenagers some day? I couldn’t even imagine it when mine were babies. Each time my kids reach a milestone, it’s bittersweet. I am super proud of the young people they are becoming, but I miss those baby/toddler days.

    S was taken aback when he read this. He said, “So you want me to be who I used to be?” I said, “Absolutely not. I love who you are becoming. I just miss the little guy you used to be sometimes.”

    I have to remember that this is much harder for him than it is for me. And it’s only just beginning.

  3. Holy parallel worlds, batgirl.
    My oldest will be 13 on June 10.
    My pops married a woman 2 years older than I.
    I might die a slow death during the upcoming teenage years.
    My mother’s voodoo curse will come true- “Just wait until you have teenagers, little missy.”
    Let’s form a support group.
    Kerry at HouseTalkN

  4. The fun of middle school! I get quit yelling at me! Which then in fact makes me YELL! Your youth sounds a bit like mine. I think we must share more over drinks. : )

  5. LOL, Donna! That just happened to me yesterday with the younger PRETEEN tyrant. She literally screamed, “Stop yelling at me!” At that point I hadn’t raised my voice yet, but I had to yell back to be heard over her tirade. It was beyond ridiculous.

    We should form a Mothers of Teenagers Anonymous group. I’ll bring the wine!

    First step: Accepting that you are the mother of a teenager…

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