I drove all the way to Ottawa last weekend to pick up Sean from Cadet camp at Connaught, he had a great time and for about the first hour or so he went on about nothing but how he was going back next summer and planning out what courses he was going to ‘shoot for’. (Pardon the pun, for those that don’t know, he was on a marksmanship course, learning Olympic style target shooting)
I was happy to have him back, until the next morning that is when this new and very much unimproved Sean emerged, a snarky, argumentative, belligerent version that was adamant in his belief, and very vocal about it too, that both his father and myself were now the biggest brain dead parents in the world. He was hell bent on showing us how stupid we were, and determined show us how we could improve and not be so lame all the time.
I have to say that I do not like this new version of my teen aged son, and I’d like nothing more than to pack this boy up and take him back to Connaught and demand that they return to me the not so rude and insolent boy that I left with them.
This morning was the worst so far, I mean I hadn’t even opened my eyes, let alone got out of bed, before he was arguing with me and telling me how I was doing everything wrong and pointing out to me how I was being super unfair to him while his sister was practically walking on water, in his opinion anyways.
I spent the next couple of hours telling him to leave it alone, to shut up and finally I do believe I freaked out on him when he couldn’t zip his lip for even one second and told him to ‘back the fuck up’!
I locked myself into my room and ignored his nonstop chatter about how he didn’t want to do his chores, it was unfair and why did we have to be so mean to him. The typical teenager gripe.
I pulled out my journal and began to write about the boy and his new found assholeness and I began to explore what could be motivating him and suddenly it dawned on me.
While he was at camp he gained a new level of independence and he liked it. And now he’s returned home and he’s trying to assert that independence here. I thought about it for a few minutes and then I called him into another room for a ‘talk’. I told him I understood what he was attempting to gain by this behaviour but I asked him if he thought the way he was going about it was actually going to get him the respect and independence that he was striving for.
I asked him what he thought would work better, a mature approach or the immature one that he was using. I used examples, used flow charts and diagrams and a power point presentation to prove my point.
Ok, I didn’t really but I did use examples of his behaviour and asked him what he thought would have been the best course of action and he finally agreed that in order to be treated more like a ‘grown up’ he’d have to act more like a ‘grown up’.
After our talk he seemed to fall into line more, everything was much calmer and I felt much better about having him here with us again, because honestly, for the past few days I’d been contemplating packing him up in a box and mailing him back to Connaught.
I’m certain that this new found platform in which we had a meeting of the minds won’t last, it’s the nature of the beast, living with an unstable, overly emotional teen, there will be more than a few blow outs. And I told him that. I also told him that I’d prefer for our fights and arguments to be about more important stuff than did you sweep the floor or load the dishwasher.
I’d prefer our fights to be about him missing his curfew, or drinking at parties, and things that parents and their children inevitably clash over.