Pushing boundaries

Dan

Watching your children grow up is hard. With a capital ‘H’.
Harder than I ever imagined. Just as you begin to get used to one age and one phase of their life, another one comes along and BOOF hits you straight between the eyes.
And each one seems to be more challenging than the next.

The baby and toddler years are nothing compared to this!

My gorgeous, sensitive young man is on the verge of 11 and he’s changing.
I can see it happening right before my eyes; subtile shifts, tiny alterations, barely perceptible differences. But I see them and over the past few months they are increasing. He’s pushing boundaries, seeing what he can get away with, challenging me, questioning me, stamping his authority where he can.
We argue more and his arguments are well thought out and stump me. I can’t get away with ‘because’ any more. I have to explain why ‘because’ and it’s not reasonable for me to just say ‘because’; it’s like talking to an adult.

And that is exactly how it should be; it’s a part of growing up. He’s dipping his toes into that murky void between being a child and turning into a young man.
I want him to enter this phase; I know it’s right. But urgh.

Then last night hit me. He went to bed, turned his light out and turned to face the wall giving me the cold shoulder.
No kiss goodnight, no chat, no hug, no ‘love you, see you in the morning’. And it’s left me on the verge of tears. So bloody silly really. It’s one night, one incident. But it’s the first time he’s ever done it and it feels like a huge kick in the guts.

It all stems from a conversation where I’ve said I don’t want him wasting his birthday money on ‘gems’ for a game he plays on his iPod called Clash of Clans. It’s SUCH a waste of money and I’ve asked him to think about it.
Instead of thinking about it, he’s thought about how mean I am and how he’s now not going to speak to me because I’m “dictating” to him and if he wants to “waste his own birthday money” then I should let him do it and let him learn.

And he’s right and I’m right too. There are arguments for the merits of both sides of this little row. But right now I don’t care who is right or wrong because I just feel like a heel.
Of course all will be well in the morning and he’ll say he’s sorry for overreacting and I’ll hug him and say ‘let’s not row, let’s talk’.

You’re never prepared for how hard this is. The growing up. The boundary pushing.

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12 Responses to Pushing boundaries

  1. Rachael says:

    Ohhhhh, Tara. I know. My little girl has recently hit thirteen with a VENGEANCE. Eyeliner, grumpy mood, criticism of everything I do… I know it's textbook but it doesn't make it any easier to deal with. And the nearly-twelve-year-old is doing the boundary pushing, too. I have to keep telling myself it's natural, but it is so hard. So painful. Much love. x
    My recent post friday night catch-up, pretty things (and a giveaway)

  2. onlydads says:

    I think I mentioned this on Twitter, Tazza – it doesn't get any easier, well at least not for a few years.

    …that thing about letting your children make mistakes so they learn is THE hardest thing in parenting. But we have to do it!

    Good luck with everything. Bob x

  3. Elaine Livingstone says:

    sometimes when they start with the huff its difficult for them to come out without appearing to back down. It does hurt though, and the hurt will happen more often, I always use to make sure I ended every disagreement with I love you, and would tell them again at bedtime.

  4. Alysonsblog says:

    Tara my daughter is 15 and our previously perfect relationship see saws between lovely and heart breaking, I hold onto the good times and pray that one day she remembers who we used to be and how it was and comes back to me again, but if I have learnt one thing in all this its that the harder you hold on the harder they pull away
    My recent post Dear Nana

  5. Mich says:

    Glad I'm not the only one going through this! My 12 year old is so difficult at times. It feels like we're always rubbing each other up the wrong way. So hard to let go. OOF.

  6. K-Ville says:

    Oh, I know, it can be hard as they start to grow up mentally too. Be careful about which arguments you choose to fight with them or you'll find yourself arguing all the time. As they grow up it gets harder and harder and sometimes you have to learn to just let some things go.

    I seriously can't recomend the Alpha Parenting Course highly enough. http://www.aguidinglife.co.uk/2012/10/the-parenti… It is an easy few hours listening to parents and children talking about exactly the sort of experience you had. In reality we changed very little in my house as a result of it, but it changed the way I feel about it which in turns make for a more relaxed abode.
    My recent post Donna Nook

  7. Kate on Thin Ice says:

    My son is a new teenager as of last month. I started noticing what you talk about here and I guess it is all part of getting away from the apron strings whilst wanting them at the same time. My 13 year old talks harshly and then wants a cuddle or buys me a bar of chocolate. I try to use laughter a lot as a tool to break down the conflicts. Not always easy and makes us realise what we put our own parents through.
    I hear they come back to you fully at about the age of 22.
    My recent post Christmas Reindeer Biscuits

  8. Oh I feel for you. There are signs that it's coming in our house soon and I hate the thought of it. No matter what arguments we have, I cling on to the fact that at least both my kids still want to hug me, and it's easy for all of us to say sorry. I know it won't always be like that
    My recent post The loveliest book for children – but you’ll have to be quick!

  9. Iota says:

    Let me know when he yells at you "I'm NOT angry! Why do you ALWAYS say I'm angry, when I'm NOT!" at full volume and stomps upstairs and slams his bedroom door…

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