Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

Teenage Torture Techniques November 18, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Before you worry that we are monster parents who are torturing our men-children, it’s quite the opposite.  We are regular victims of “Teenage Torture”, a tried and true technique used by adolescents to wear down their parents when a decision is not considered favourable.

We all know that as a parent one of our key responsibilities is to make good decisions on behalf of our children.  This is especially true when they are very young, and are completely dependent on you for everything.  As children get older, there is a slow and eventual shift to their own decision-making, and along the way you hope you have provided them with the right guidance, but also an understanding of how to make decisions that are on the whole the right one, based on considered thought and reasonably sound judgement.

And somewhere along this spectrum is the difficult teenage period, when they think you don’t understand them at all, and that you don’t know anything, (no we’ve never been a teenager have we?) yet somehow you are able to make decisions on their behalf.    A couple of recent cases in point, which have caused a fair amount of discussion/debate/angst in our house:

Pre-drinks on race day:

You would have read recently that we had to be very firm and put our foot down to stop a bunch of teenage boys descending on our home recently ahead of a Melbourne Cup Carnival race meeting.  If they’d been allowed to, they all would have bought along a 6 pack of beers and sculled them before going to the races.  Thankfully we quoted recent legislation that meant we could be fined $7,000 if we gave underage kids alcohol without parental consent so we were saved.  But we had to withstand over a week of pressure from Man-Child I to relent.

Christmas Holidaysfireworks

We recently decided that our planned Christmas holiday was going ahead.  For most, a trip to Sydney to see the sights would be exciting to say the least, especially when it includes such icons as Bondi Beach, and the Coat Hanger bridge.  However, when the said holiday includes New Years Eve then the trouble starts.  The objections list went like this:

  • “What do you mean we’ll be in Sydney for NYE?”  (OMG, my life as I know it is over, I have to spend NYE with my PARENTS)!!!
  • “We have plans already” (about staying up all night and how much we’re going to drink)!
  • “Can’t you just send us home on an earlier flight so we can be with our friends?” (and use the empty house for a great party).
  • “You can call our mobiles whenever you want to find out where we are” (they won’t know we’re not at home when they call).

Now I don’t know about you, but the men-children are 15 (almost 16 and yes going on 25), but we just don’t think it’s a responsible decision to allow them to fly home 3 days before us, and then to allow them to head off somewhere for a NYE party.  It’s not a responsibility we want to pass onto anyone else, and we’re just not prepared to do it.  We did explain our decision to them, and the reasons for it.  The timing of the holiday is driven by my new job, which dictates when we can take the break.  We also explained it may be the last time they want to come with us for a family holiday (unless of course we pick a nice exotic destination), and that there’s plenty more NYE’s to come.  But as I remember all too clearly, at 15 all you want to do is be with your friends, and NYE does seem to take on some ridiculous mantle of excitement and superiority over any other night of the year for some reason.  As we all know, when you get older you can’t even be bothered staying up until midnight sometimes.

Alas, having made the decision and booked the flights (totally committing us) we are now enduring “Teenage Torture”.  At 7am the other morning, just as I had finished making the school lunches, and was wolfing down breakfast, Man-Child II appeared to raise the subject again.  “Why can’t we fly home from Sydney early”…..etc etc (see above).  I don’t expect we’ve heard the last of it.  Likely it will be a common theme running right up to Christmas.  It reminds me of the days of toddlers, and tantrums, and the constant nagging in the hope you would just say “here, have the bloody thing and now shut up would you!”.

Girlfriend Sleepovers

The other great point for debate has been over having the girlfriend to stay over.  And we’re not just wanting her to stay at our house, but in his room and in his bed.  Call me prudish, but that just is NOT happening now.  They are still only 15!! To make matters worse, it seems this is now allowed at her house since they have been officially GF/BF.  Hmmm, not happy to learn about that either.  Both Father of a Man-Child and I are adamant on this, and refuse to give in, at least until he gets a bit older, and if they’ve been going out for longer than two months!  Nevertheless, the Teenage Torture methods are again being employed.  Man-Child II appears at odd times to subtly bring up the conversation yet again.

  • Can she stay over on x night?  Yes sure.
  • Where will she sleep?  Downstairs.
  • Why can’t she stay in my room, with my other mate too?   Because he’ll be on the floor and she’ll be in your bed.  No.
  • Are you serious?  Yes.  Then don’t have her to stay at all.

Teenage Torture is relentless.  It’s constant, always there, ready to test your resolve, looking for a moment of weakness in the event you might just change your mind.  The best remedy is Parental Persistence – just don’t give in once you’ve made up your mind.  It’s exhausting, but sometimes we just know best (don’t we?)!

Please tell me, are we wrong?  Are we being too prudish?  Does it really matter if the GF stays?  Should we lose an occasional battle to win the war?  Or stick to our guns?  Help!!!

In case you missed the related stories:  The Races and Girlfriend Sleepovers


Mother of a Man-Child: She Knows Everything! May 20, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

“She Knows Everything” declared Man-Child II to Man-Child I recently.  Yes, they were referring to me, Mother of a Man-Child, who stood calmly in their midst, delighted that her men-children had finally conceded nothing escapes me!

Naturally Father of a Man-Child concurs – I seem to recall his speech at our wedding more than 20 years ago, which centered on the theme that his new wife would “always be right” and he would “always be wrong”, and that’s just the way it was going to be for ever.  This was much to the amusement of gathered guests and meant half in jest of course.  20 years on, I suspect that poor Father of a Man-Child thinks that he’s never spoken a truer word in his life, and he had no idea how prophetic his words would be.

So back to the story that led to the wondrous proclamation of my skills. 🙂  Man-Child I had been out to a party, arriving home before midnight.  I let him in the door just as a friend left our house; he literally bounced in the door, all smiles and slightly glazed eyes.  It took me less than a nano-second to process that information as I farewell-ed our guest.

Shortly afterwards I casually wandered upstairs to see the boys.  Our conversation went something like this:

MOMC:  How was the party?

MC-I:  Yer, good thanks.

MOMC:  What did you have to drink?

MC-I:  Nothing.

MOMC:  Don’t bullshit me (insert name), of course you have.

MC-I:  How can you tell?

MOMC:  I just can.  It’s not hard.

MC-II (twin brother):  There’s no point lying (insert name).  SHE KNOWS EVERYTHING.  Don’t worry you won’t get in trouble.  She’s okay with a few drinks.

MC-I:  Okay, I had a few beers.

See, nothing to it.  Out came the truth.  Apart from relishing the fact that they had recognised my amazing skills, I was actually pleased that he had admitted he’d had a few.  Having remained surprisingly calm (no real harm was done after all) it will hopefully ensure open dialogue the next time too.

Of course it also reminds me how naïve a 15-year-old can be.  I too was a teenager who no doubt also thought my parents would be too stupid to know I’d had a drink, regardless of my glazed eyes and swaying stance.  It was surely only me that could feel my tongue not quite managing the words properly and my brain synapses a little dull – surely no-one else would be noticing would they?

So around and around the circle of life goes.  I too had a “Mother Who Knows Everything” and “Father Who Knows Everything”. Obviously they taught me well!


Mother of a Man-Child: Suspicious Minds? April 29, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

beersOkay, so here’s the thing.  I seem to have an in-built bullshit radar that is on high alert these days.  Which means my poor men-children get away with very little.  I have taken the suspicious parent to new levels, with good reason it would seem, as the history of this blog shows.  But assuming my radar isn’t fool proof, they must be getting away with something, sometimes (just like their mother did in her day).

My learned and wise uncle once commented that sometimes it pays to turn a blind eye – and just not notice everything.  In other words, cut them some slack and just let stuff slide.  I have to admit I find that incredibly difficult to do.

Case in point over the Easter break.  We seemed to spend the entire school holidays cajoling and encouraging the boys to get out of the house.  Go to the movies, have a Pizza & Poker night, go bike-riding etc.  Any alternative is better than sitting on the computer or play station all day every day, indoors, not expending any energy.  Sure, I’m all for them having a rest, but teenage boys can take “resting” to a new level if you let them.

As the holidays drew to a close, even I was surprised to find Man-Child I sitting around at home on the second last day of the holidays, especially being one of the most glorious autumnal days Melbourne can muster.  I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t making the most of his last days of freedom but he constantly evaded all my questions.  Hmmm.  Until of course he sat down at dinner and casually mentioned a small gathering at his best mates house that he’d like to attend that evening!  Instantly explaining staying home all day in order to increase the chance of being allowed out at night.

So we asked for some information (the Spanish inquisition has nothing on me)!  When was this arranged? It’s very last-minute.  Are his parents home?  Do they know about it?  They just got back from holidays.  What time will you be home?  DON’T text us at 10.30 to ask to stay the night as you always do!  How are you getting there and who with?  My gut said whilst it’s all designed to feel like a casual, last-minute get together (nothing to worry about right), that wasn’t the case at all.  And you know what – my gut was right.

So I casually offered to drive my son to his mates!  Ah, really, but I was going to meet so and so….No probs.  Happy to give him a lift too!  (Gotcha).  And he assured me he’d get a lift home with a friend.  Really?  Last time you said that I didn’t hear a car pull up.  No parent would drop you up the road at midnight, they’d bring you to the door, which means you’re catching the tram home late at night, when I’d rather you didn’t (yes I know I sound like a paranoid mother, but I don’t trust the bogan element on the streets late at night – even in our leafy suburb I know boys who have had their front teeth knocked out in an unprovoked attack).

So do you know what happened?  My husband wisely offered to give him a lift (sometimes Dads just need to step in).  Turns out the reason he was meeting his friend on the way was to buy beers via some contact they have – I KNEW it.  Then he gets to the mate’s place.  Turns out the father of the mate didn’t really know about the party until it was too late to pull the pin – not impressed.  I KNEW it.  Oh and guess who rang Father of a Man-Child’s mobile at 10.30pm to ask if he could stay the night?  I KNEW it.

So do I have an uncanny ability to detect when something is going down?  Yes, it would appear so.  Do I need to learn to let stuff slide, just a little bit, just occasionally?  Yes, probably.  Should I stop worrying and just see what happens?  Gulp, don’t answer that – I’m just not sure I can ignore all my motherly/parental instincts just yet.  They might look like men, but they’re only 15 years old!

As my friends with older kids say to me – God help you when they get their license and take the car out – then you’ll know what real worry is.  So I better start up a new business before then – “Taxis for Teens” – fully funded by sponsors, free to kids and parents.  E.g. they can have a free taxi trip if they go via the Maccas drive-in on the way.  There, that should keep them off the roads for a while longer. 🙂