You're Mean and You're Stupid: living with teens
Having older kids I sometimes forget what it was like to live with younger teens. Pre-pubescents and early adolescents have a tendency to whirl around the house sucking the life out of every room they enter.
At 16 and 19 my kids are past that phase of conflict. My son never really put on the battle gear much. He is more even. He navigates the boundaries fairly easily and when he does buck me it is usually with good cause and we can work it out. Perhaps he knew I had been trained by the master, his sister.
As a young adult my daughter is so even that I sometimes forget that curly-headed little maniac that used to haunt my days and nights with testing my patience and wearing on my last nerve.
I am reminded of an incident when she was in her early teens. We were sparring over some issue that I was standing firm on and she was none to happy that I would not budge. At that time of her life I was certainly, in her mind, the strictest of all her friends' parents.
After we had gone around in circles for far too long, my famous line at this point would be 'case closed'. I have always subscribed to the 'no means no' school of thought, sometimes to a fault. I would later learn that I had to pick those 'no's' (not pick my nose) very carefully. Well that too, actually.
There we were, like the bullfighter and her bull, head to head, breathing fire through our noses (nice visual, right? c'mon, many of you have been there). And that is when she said it. First part of the sentence with conviction, second part with the knowledge that it would not turn out all that well for her:
"You're mean and you're stupid!"
Part of me wanted to laugh, but I knew better. My answer?
"I may be mean, but I am sure as hell not stupid. And now, you can go to your room."
All I can say to the moms out there who are in the throws of this stage of parenting is that it ends. Not unlike potty training and pre-school separation it all works itself out. And for us it ended well.
In place of that little hormonal monster I now have a level-headed, responsible, hysterically funny young women who I would choose to spend any day of the week with.
Not a bad ROPI (Return On Parenting Investment)!