Wednesday 25th May (Letter to a teenager)

When I woke up this morning, it took me a second to remember where I was.

Having remembered where I was, felt like shooting myself.

These days, the ringing of my alarm clock has become the bedside version of the ding-ding that signals the beginning of today’s round of attempting to keep the Teenager’s hormonal wheels on the tarmac of life.

For the last week, he has been skidding on and off said road on a minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour basis.

I may be guilty of a cop-out in terms of writing a proper entry in my diary today but, in my defence, am exhausted.

The energy required to safely oversee the process of a young man shedding the shell of his childhood is, apparently, more of a 24/7 job than having a new-born baby ever was.

I have reproduced here an email that I sent this very day to the Teenager, in response to his e-attempt to have his, recently imposed, 8pm curfew lifted.

I feel that, whilst there are reams and reams of literature, magazines and blogs dedicated to which yoghurt is best for a two year old, that the difficulties encountered whilst managing the sometimes terrifying behaviour of a teenager are a matter for parental shame.

A damagingly silent void exists.

As parents, we are left to fend for ourselves in the belief that it is just ‘our’ teenager that is behaving like a total and utter schitzo.

I choose to speak out.

This diary is about honesty after all, so here you are: Honesty, Single Mum style.

Michael,

I appreciate your sentiments but you need to be clear on something.

We passed the negotiation phase of this discussion a way back.

I have explained the rules and you will be following them, it’s that simple. If you don’t like it or you are angry with me, I can live with that.

You don’t need to agree or like it, you simply need to understand that you will either follow the rules or things will just keep on getting more and more uncomfortable for you.

You are a fifteen year old school-boy and you’ve got work to get on with, I will not be distracted by all this over-dramatic bravado.

Your laptop, PS3, Sky-box and allowance will be returned, one by one, on a fortnightly basis but, and it’s a big but, you will earn the return of these privileges by following the rules already discussed and also by refraining from swearing, kicking, shouting and screaming.

One such incident will delay the return of any given item by another week. Furthermore the items you have already earned back will be removed again and we will start right back from the beginning.

Your recent behaviour has required me to step up to the plate and do what needs to be done to guide you through what appears to be an incredibly confusing and unsettling time for you.

Expect to find strong boundaries and high walls because I’m here, I’m your parent and I intend to ensure that your actions have swift and direct consequences.

Whether these consequences are pleasant or unpleasant is entirely  your choice.

I hope that very soon you will come to the conclusion, as I did years ago, that you are a clever, talented, kind-hearted young man who has within his reach, all of the wonderful things that life has to offer.

I hope that this will be the case because I love you and remain, despite recent events and what you may be imagining that I am thinking, incredibly proud of you.

We will get through this but there may be some stormy seas ahead.

Be absolutely assured, I am buckled up and ready for whatever may come.

I’m your mother. 

The buck stops here.

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10 thoughts on “Wednesday 25th May (Letter to a teenager)

  1. Single Mum – you are tops bird ! that was a great mail to the teenager. And if anything like my one will maybe grunt, grunt and more grunts but rest assured he will be thinking about your mail and undoubtedly come round… its a tough old life with these teenagers !xx

  2. I am shall i say very impressed by what you wrote to your son. The overall guidance you gave him and the positive outcomes i hope will make a difference. Unfortunately kids think the tiniest of things are the worst things that can happen to them. Living life will teach them different. But for now i hope he trys to understand you as his mum and the fact you are as we all try to do the best for our kids. I love the way you dealt with that. well done exhausted mum now try get some rest before the next wave starts..lol

    • Thank you Diane, thank you for your support and encouragement. I need all the support that I can get right now. I hope that my transparency on the matter might raise some debate on the issue of the ‘cheese-stands-alone’ nature of raising a teenager.

  3. Hi
    So well put. Very positive. Chin up as although the next year or so will be tough, your lovely son will emerge from this teeange coccoon (SP?) as a well balanced mature man!!!

  4. What a fantastic response to what must be draining and dreadful behaviour. You’re right, there’s not a lot out there for us singles to turn to when it comes to teens – and so many teens now feel as though they *ought* to be able to live life as though it’s Hollyoaks I think too many parents are just wandering around shell-shocked. Good for you. Big pat o0n the back.

  5. Can I print this off and put it on the wall in a glass frame with a little hammer ‘ For Teenage Emergency Use Only’? Brilliant.

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