Monday, October 24, 2005

Teenagers

A friend phrased it best lately - "teenagers have their days". They can be warm, they can be thoughtful and considerate, they can be kind and sweet, they can be helpful. Then they can be angry, violent, and disrespectful.

I'm no saint, not going to claim to be one. Couldn't pull it off if I tried.

Some days it takes being a saint to get along with a teenager. Too bad, I'm not one.

Last night we had a knock down, throw the chairs against the wall, drag out fight. Over trying to get him to turn the computer down and go to bed at 11 pm on a school night. OMG!

Part of the problem was that I was tired enough, and frustrated enough in my life, that I wasn't willing to put up with anything. He'd had three chores to do this weekend - 1) find the keys to the car in the shop 2) do three to four loads of laundry and 3) take the trash out. 1 didn't get done at all. 3 got started at 11:20 pm when it was agreed upon that I would leave and let him calm down if he would just do as I had asked before it had turned into a fight. And 2 got started at around midnight - I assume because he had trouble sleeping - and hope that at least part of a guilty consience was involved - although - I won't hold out hope. He probably just did it to lord it over me that 'look, see, I did do my chores'.

I know that I over-react when I'm tired. I know that at 11 pm when my alarm goes off at 4 am represents a bad time for a confrontation. But, I really, truly did just go down to get him to turn down the computer game and convince him he needed to consider going to bed soon. But, then, when he flat out responds with "No, I won't" - I see red. Then when I warn him "I have to get up in a few hours - I'm already upset that you haven't done your chores, let's not fight over going to bed on a school night". He responds with "No, I'm not going to bed - you go to bed." I see more red. Then I tell him, he needs to shut down the PC and go to bed.

Now, looking back - I feel like a complete idiot. But, I feel like he thinks he doesn't have to do anything I tell him to do. I don't feel like he respects what I do around the house, or the food I put on the table, or the clothes I put on his back.

And when he flat out defies me - then stands up and screams at me - just shut up and go to bed! I feel like I have to stop it, like now. He doesn't have the right to talk to me like that.

I didn't intend to push him past his limits. But, his temper, like mine, is on a VERY short fuse. Before I knew it, he had me on the ground in a choke hold. I tried to pull his arm back enough to tuck my chin in (sad, that his abusive father taught me the steps to take to try to save my life the hard way). When he tightened his arm even more - I dug my nails in. Finally he let go after I started to scream at him about "violence only lands your a** in jail". He slammed a wooden chair against the bar, then the floor - then I took part of it's remains and said "see, I can do this too - what good does it do?" and slammed it against the bar and the floor till there wasn't enough left to call it a chair. OK, I know - I should have taken a deep breath and calmed down and stopped things there - screaming, yelling and busting a chair doesn't fix anything - in fact, it probably only validates his right to do it himself. But, geez... who can think when their fight or flight instincts kick in and I know I have to make him understand that having a temper tantrum like a two year old isn't going to get him his way.

After a little more pushing, shoving, and a little choking - and me countering with "Well, do you feel like a man now that you're big enough to choke your own mother?" -- low, I know, dirty, I know... but certainly heartfelt at the time. I kept trying to count to ten before speaking to try to lower my voice, to try to become rational - but that seemed to tick him off even more. He finally became rational enough to tell me that we needed to separate, get some sleep and talk things over in the morning. I agreed, but said I had conditions. The conditions were that he had to take the trash out, turn off the computer and get to bed. Which were exactly what I had come down to ask him to do 20 minutes earlier. He agreed, I went upstairs.... and I'm certain that after he did as he'd been told - we both spent hours crying by ourselves in our beds.

I thought putting a two year old to bed was tough.

1 comment:

Bob said...

P, I'm emailing you...