The simplest of daily interactions with teenagers can be quite a challenge. Moods flip at lightning speed – in many ways reminiscent of the toddler years.
Tiredness and hunger – are amongst the main contributors to me getting my head bitten off. “Stress” plays a big part too. The daily life of a teenager is filled with stress – anxiousness, expectation, anticipation and of course a very generous sprinkling of drama…we all remember those days right??
As a parent, my natural state is to nurture and support my kids, to the best of my ability, but increasingly over the last year or so when I try to engage, I get told, “It’s none of your business” with a frown, a “tut” or a roll of the eyes.
Long gone are days of “ I love you mummy” accompanied by a cuddle that’s seemed to last for hours and snuggling in to tell me every little detail of the day and every random thought that popped into their heads.
Inclusivity has taken a complete 180 and exclusion is the order of the day.
The “Love Ya” and hug combination does still happen but it is much more cursory and often used as bargaining chip.
Reassuringly though I am not alone. I have been soliciting opinion on how guarded teenagers are about any details of their lives and the consensus is “they are all the same”!
It’s hard to narrow down a specific subject matter as “it’s none of your business” is a blanket response for anything in their lives that they don’t want me to know about or can’t be bothered to elaborate on.
The key area of course is their social lives. Friendships, what their friends are up to, who fancies who are all out of bounds.
The days of friends coming round and hanging out at our house are dwindling – unless of course the house is devoid of parents. Even then they are very cagey about who is coming over and for how long. Similarly, the plans when going out are kept intentionally very sketchy. Elusiveness is the order of the day.
Anything to do with their phones is of course none of my business – what’s on them, photos, who they are messaging – which is quite interesting as I pay the contract, so “technically” there are my phones….
The funny thing with all of this, as I have discussed at length with a number of friends, is if our kids live at home and are in full-time education – we basically do everything for them and fund their lives.
But something in their mind-sets has flipped and they believe they are entitled to privacy on all levels. Their lives are categorically none my business until they need me…
I am told this is a phase much like any developmental phase – like teething and temper tantrums. I am told “they come back round” by parents with older children. This does provide me with some solace.
My only concern is the timeframe…some people say their kids are “back” by 22, others say more like 27 (!!)…So I guess I will have to strap in for a little while longer…