Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

Are we breeding spoilt teenagers? March 23, 2012

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Teenagers are an interesting breed.  They can be sweet, pleasant, almost enjoyable at times (especially when they want something from you), and then turn in a nano-second and become horrible, hormonal, angry ants, who lose all rationality, typically when they don’t get what they want.  Sound familiar?  Yep, just like a toddler really.

Just a few weeks ago I recall writing that the boys seemed to be turning a corner…..growing up at last….coming out of the woods!  I think I also mentioned some expected set-backs along the way.  You may now call me Nostradamus!

You see our boys can indeed be very charming, provided they get what they want.  Money, a lift somewhere, money, permission to go to a gathering or have someone stay, money, food and drink supplies on tap.  Just stay clear if you plan on saying no or not giving them what they want when they want it.

Lately we are asking ourselves if we have spoilt the men-children too much?  They wanted their Learner’s licence recently, so Father of a Man-Child was convinced to pick them up from school one lunch time and take them for their test, before returning them to school.  Nice VIP service isn’t it?  The same day, just as I pulled into the driveway from work, we got the call to pick them up from a rowing dinner.  So my dinner waited whilst I played taxi service.   They really don’t want for much, although I don’t think we’re a soft touch very often either.

carHaving just got their Learner’s permit (yes I know, fearful times), they are understandably excited.  We however, are understandably not, and suggested that a few driving lessons might be in order to give them some good grounding before they jump in our cars for their first “test drive”.  The ensuing tantrums would have made a 3-year-old with ADHD proud, except I don’t think a 3-year-old has quite the vocabulary of our charming sons.  “We have been waiting SIXTEEN years to drive a car” stated one.  “We’ve driven cars plenty of times” they both claimed.  Now I know one has experienced a small amount of farm driving, but for the life of me I have no idea when his brother did, which leaves far too much to the imagination.  And a determination to never leave the car keys at home if we’re not.

Strangely enough, they are aghast at the idea of having driving lessons.  They think they’ll learn NOTHING.  Hmmm, any wonder that males under 25 are so well represented in the road accident statistics.   An hour-long argument raged with both boys and their father last night over this.  It was quite frankly ridiculous, and made us even more determined to stand our ground.  We promised to get the lessons organised pronto.  It will make no difference to them getting their licence when they turn 18. They just have to learn to wait a few days – sadly something Gen Y aren’t very good at it seems.  I know one of mine especially has an expectation that if he wants something he can get it instantly.  And let’s face it, with online 24/7 you practically can.  Except driving lessons!

So lovely readers, are we being too mean?   Are we being kill joys, and not sharing in their excitement?  Or are we being sensible parents who care about the safety of our own children (and ourselves for that matter)?

As I write this blog I have however had a sudden flash of brilliance.  We have two very early morning runs to school for rowing in the next two days, giving us two perfect opportunities to let two very eager young hoons loose on the road.  Thankfully it’s a very short distance, and we’ll be lucky to see another car on the road.  That’s just how a very nervous Mother of a Man-Child will like it. 🙂

 

Last week we had the build up to the Learner’s permit:  Beep, Beep, Learner Alert.  And we  have experienced our share of power struggles before:  The Parent-Child Power Struggle.  

 

Beep, Beep. Learner Alert! March 16, 2012

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L PlateThe boys are now 16 as you know.  Which means they can now get their L-Plates, or “Learners”, i.e. a permit to allow them to sit behind the wheel of a car and DRIVE!  Gulp.  I don’t remember being 16 when we got our L-Plates.  Help me friends – weren’t we 17?

Naturally there was enormous pressure to get their L’s on the day of their birthday – but thankfully with Rowing Nationals immediately after their birthday it was just too hard to organise and we just couldn’t get them to Vic Roads.  So it will be next week – a whole two weeks after their birthday (you would think we made them wait TWO YEARS the way one of them carried on).

As you can imagine, I am just thrilled at the prospect of being a passenger with a 16-year-old man-child driving.   One of the boys tells me his mate got his licence and drove the car home straight from Vic Roads – What!!  The same one got all excited about driving us to rowing up at Nagambie in a few weekends.  Not on your Nelly I said.  It’s a two-hour drive, with your grandfather, me and your father in the car, and your brother’s girlfriend.  I don’t think so!  Let’s get a few kms (like more than two) under your belt before we go for the long distance drive.

He rightly predicted that I will be the panic-stricken mother every time one of them drives, and that Father of a Man-Child will be as cool as a cucumber, with complete faith in their driving skills.  To be fair one has done a bit of driving on a friend’s farm – let’s hope he can still remember what he learned.

I assume the reason they now get their L’s at 16 is so they have plenty of time to clock up the mandatory hours before they can get their full probationary licence, a practice I fully endorse.  For the twins, I’ve already enquired to find out about getting their mandatory hours reduced, on the basis there are two of them, and it will take us a long time to get them the hours they require.  It’s quite legit to apply apparently, provided you can demonstrate you have made as much effort as possible to get a lot of hours logged for each of them.

Yes, I know, some of you will be saying why did you let them know about the get-out clause, what a great excuse to keep them “practising” for years!  There is upside and method in my madness – when they have their licence, we can call on them to drive us around – they get the hours now, we get a cheap taxi later.  Bring it on!

So, anyone up for offering them driving lessons? 🙂

The boys started talking about getting their licence six months ago.  Read more here: Men-Children in motor cars – yikes!