Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

Mother of a Man-Child: R.E.S.P.E.C.T…..? October 22, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 4:30 pm
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I am sure you all know the Aretha Franklin song – “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.  Want to know what it means to me? “ etc.   As a child of the 80’s disco era I am all too familiar with that song, and spent my early youth singing it at the top of my lungs and dancing enthusiastically to it.  Unfortunately it seems, my men-children are not at all familiar with the song, and indeed it’s message.

At the risk of sounding exactly like my parents, my children just don’t seem to have respect for their elders the way we did when I was younger (OMG, did I really say that?).  Take my boys.  I am sure they show an appropriate level of respect to their teachers at school – I certainly hope so, and since I haven’t heard otherwise I will assume so.  In an all boys school they’re pretty strict on how you address teachers, and how you behave, so I think that’s probably pretty well-managed.  However on the home front it seems to be a different kettle of fish.

For some unknown reason, my sons have taken to calling their father “Neville” (his real name is Rob, but to them it should simply be “Dad” of course).  Now I am not sure how this started, but recently it seems to have escalated out of control; where once I think Neville may have been a term of endearment, I now often wonder if in fact it’s a derogatory term?  This may have originated from the nicknames that my husband gave the boys, and in turn they decided upon one for him (fair enough I hear you say).  And whilst you could call it senseless fun, male bonding, etc etc, I often overhear the way they use his nickname, and cringe at it. Of course once you’ve allowed this sort of thing to go on for a while, it’s a little hard to stop it – the name has stuck!

So what’s in a name?  It is the fact they call him Neville?  Or the lack of respect that underpins their behaviour?  Am I perceiving one issue to mask another?  Are they just being normal teenagers?  Does it stem from our home environment?  After all, they say children just reflect their own parents behaviour – GULP!  Clearly I don’t have all the answers.

Interestingly, I don’t have a nickname – at least not a definitive one they use to my face unless you consider “Pyscho-Woman” a nickname?  So do they respect me any more than their father?  Probably not if the truth be known.

On reflection I suspect it’s a case of typical teenage attitude – they apparently know everything, we apparently know absolutely nothing, having never been teenagers, or had pimples, or boyfriends/girlfriends, or been in trouble at school, or snuck out late at night.  I guess I can respect that for now.  🙂


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