Our youngest son recently turned thirteen and my husband and I have undergone “The Transformation” yet again. If you don’t know what “The Transformation” is, you obviously have never had teenagers. It’s when parents who were previously the most beloved, trusted, and smartest people in the child’s life suddenly morph into the most embarrassing, ignorant, clueless, and boring people on the planet. The sad thing is we don’t even realize we’ve changed.
I honestly don’t know how we went from knowing everything to knowing nothing. We used to be omnipotent; now we’re useless. Everything we used to say was taken for gospel; now if we make an innocuous comment such as, “Good morning,” we get an argument. Nor do I understand why the mere fact that we breathe in the vicinity of our son causes him such humiliation. We have ruined his life simply by existing.
In his mind, merely asking him politely to pick his clothes up off the floor or return dirty dishes to the kitchen is merciless nagging. And requesting he go above and beyond by setting the table, taking out the trash, or emptying the dishwasher is tantamount to child enslavement. Taking away privileges such as TV or Wii because he hasn’t completed the unreasonable demand of doing his homework subjects him to full-fledged child abuse. I won’t even go into the injustice of not getting him his own cell phone when everyone else has one. Dropping him off and picking him up from school is mortifying for him, even when his friends don’t see us. Speaking of his friends, they are all infinitely wiser than we are—what do we know, after all, when there are young teens to dispense sage advice?
We dutifully attend all his extracurricular activities, but we’d better not cheer for him, or for that matter, acknowledge him in any way. Nevertheless, we are expected to be there. I’m convinced, however, that our required presence to watch him perform as the water boy at Rocky’s Bayou Christian School football games is for the sole purpose of sending us to the snack bar to fetch him refreshments. This is the only time he deems to speak to us.
We always know when he wants something because his snarly, combative attitude changes to almost civil, catching us completely off-guard. Not to worry, however, as if his demands are not met, the attitude returns with a vengeance. We are the worst parents on Earth and he wishes he could go live with someone else. If we respond with, “Go with our blessings,” he stubbornly refuses to leave. He truly needs to go out into the world while he knows everything. Unfortunately, he is still attached to us by our purse strings, so he is hopelessly trapped in our house of horrors.
I realize in about fifteen or twenty years, we will morph back into the people we were before our son turned thirteen. The problem is we may not live that long to survive another teenager. However, the flip side is that maybe we will manage to hang in there, but by that time we will have become old and crotchety. Then he’ll have to put up with us! You know what they say about Karma!
(I know he’s not reading this, but, I love you Darion, my little chocolate doodlebug)!