Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

Brotherly Love – NOT! August 23, 2013

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fightingIt’s been a big week in the home of the men-children.  Perhaps something had been bubbling along beneath the surface, waiting to explode, just like the head of a giant teenage pimple.  What started out as a simple argumentative exchange across the dinner table (over absolutely nothing of course) escalated into an all in brawl upstairs and some pretty hideous outcomes for both of them.  It was so bad, even Sister of a Man-Child was upset and crying over the fracas upstairs.  When time passes I might be able to share the exact details, but suffice to say we were still dealing with the fallout the following day and into the next night.

I went to work completely exhausted, feeling like I had done ten rounds with Rocky Balboa myself.  Father of a Man-Child and I managed to debrief during the day, and both planned our individual approaches to dealing with the event.  He, a much more calm influence, was happy to talk to the boys about what happened and how to avoid future incidents.  Me, a little more intense, and prone to getting excited (okay, read yelling), decided to take the other approach, penning a letter to the boys that day and hand delivering it to them both before dinner.  I think sometimes it’s better for them to read something, reflect, and re-read it if need be.

We spent a fairly tense night with continued discussions (arguments) about their behaviour, the causes behind it, our expectations of their future behaviour, and negotiations about the damage and what we would cover (absolutely zero by the way – they break it, they pay for it).  I ended the night even more drained, with a quick text to them both:  “Goodnight boys.  Tomorrow is a new day.  Let’s make a fresh start.  You have two parents and a sister who love you both and just want a happy family at home. xo.”

Sister of a Man-Child subsequently told me that she had wanted to hug both the boys after being so upset.  I agreed with her sentiment completely.  So we did exactly that the next day!  We gave them both a huge, big hug each.  We didn’t say anything, because we didn’t need to.  They knew we were saying to them it’s all okay, it’s all in the past, it’s all forgiven, and we love you.  Do you know how good it felt to hug my bigger than me, gorgeous boys?  I hope it felt as good for them as it did for us.   And I think we should do more of it.  The human connection that comes with a physical hug, the reminder of your family’s unconditional love and the sense of security that touch communicates is pretty powerful.  For whatever reason, I hug my daughter every day when I head off to work, and sitting on the couch at weekends, but as our teenagers grow up, that seems to diminish (I suppose understandably).

So, I am planning to hug my boys more often.  And maybe I can use it as my new secret weapon to diffuse future fights and arguments.  Don’t yell, just hug them into submission!! 🙂

Do you have teenage boys or did you have teenage brothers?  Did they fight physically?  Tell me mine are normal (if a little extreme)!

It’s not the first fight they’ve had of course:  read more here and here.

PS.  That is NOT a picture of my men-children!


Do The Men-Children Actually LIKE Each Other? July 15, 2011

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yin and yangAs those who know my men-children will tell you, they are extremely different.  Not just in looks but also in personality.  They have different friends, are quite opposite in their natural strengths, have diverse interests (except playing sport), have completely different fashion approaches, and like all siblings they fight a lot.

This year a couple of their individual friends moved to a different school together.  Not surprisingly new allegiances have been formed amongst these boys, thrown together in a new environment, and as a result new relationships have developed with my men-children.  One day I seemed to have one man-child talking about a mate regularly that plays in the same sports team, the next week he’s here with my other man-child and moreover now seems to be a permanent fixture with the latter.

The big surprise came when Man-Child II asked if he could stay over at a friend’s – who just happened to be the BFF (“Best Friends Forever”) of Man-Child I – go figure!  I was so taken aback I said he could stay as long as he told his brother first – I thought that was at least fair.  Man-Child I didn’t seem to mind at all.  And went so far as to lend his twin brother a jumper – yet another first in our household.  Trust me normally there’s a complete shit fight over the Bonds jocks, school shirts, footy shorts, Skins, and socks every morning – they just don’t do the sharing thing well at all.

So whilst my boys show disdain for each other often, at least at home, obviously their friends find them both good guys, and maybe not so different after all?  Or they enjoy their differences and uniqueness, just as they do with all their friends.

So is this a sign of things to come?  A new era of loving, sharing, caring men-children?  Based on the fighting going on upstairs at the moment and the charming language filtering down the stairs whilst I write this post, I very much doubt it.  But hey, mother of a man-child is always open to surprises. 🙂

Read more about the boys “play-fighting” here:  Testosterone Power Surge in Melbourne Suburb



Mother of a Man-Child: Twins – United Momentarily September 17, 2010

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My twin boys are very different – just like my twin sister and I were growing up.   They have different personalities, dispositions, appearances, and quite naturally therefore a different circle of friends.  I love the fact that they are different – completely unique individuals.

At home, they fight often, as all siblings do, especially teenage boys with testosterone surging through their veins.  In fact they remind me of tiger cubs on occasion, sprawled across furniture, the floor, each other, engrossed in TV, Facebook, PS3, then unexpectedly playfully lashing out at each other.  Invariably this sometimes escalates to high level fighting, complete with the strength of miniature men, and the man-child determination not to maliciously harm I think but to “win” – yes they are highly competitive.

Whilst they fight against each other, it is always interesting to see them unite as one in battle, or in sympathy with each other, or even perhaps conspiracy?  Because at the end of the day, whilst they may not like a lot about each other, when pitted against their parents, or other authority figures, they realize that they share a common ground, that of teenagers living in a world that doesn’t understand them, or allow them the freedoms they so surely believe they should have, or just leave them alone and stop nagging them.

So whilst some mothers might feel rejected, left off the adolescent bridge across which they travel, my over-riding feeling on these occasions is a silent pleasure that they can actually be friends (albeit momentarily), and that they do have things in common, and maybe even “like” each other.

I know my twin sister and I were extremely different growing up, with diverse interests, friends, and career paths.  But as we got older and married and children entered our lives, we became great friends.  We talk regularly by phone, we see each other often, we delight in being and having a close family (along with our other sister I should add) and we’re always there for each other.

So when I see Man-Child I and Man-Child II occasionally united, and even looking like friends momentarily, I have renewed confidence that in time they will become good, even great friends, and be there for each other, and I hope their younger sister.  Because we all know that family is the most important thing you can have in the world.


World Wrestling April 11, 2010

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If you are ever short on entertainment, perhaps you could drop into our house for some live World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE on Pay TV for those who are fans!).  Yes, on any given night (normally when our 6-year-old daughter is trying to go to sleep) you will hear the sounds of two testosterone pumped boys doing their best impression of world wrestling right in their own lounge room.

Whilst we try to avoid it most nights, sometimes it’s just impossible to ignore the screams of Teen-Child –  he’s mastered the art of bellowing so much, that we now recognise it as simply a case of good acting, not actual injury, except maybe to his pride.  Coupled with the bellowing is a regular case of crocodile tears – just to extract maximum sympathy from any onlookers.  Meanwhile Man-Child – not one for tears – just channels all his energy into physical strength to ensure he doesn’t lose.  He is highly competitive.

To be honest, I have no idea who wins on any given night.  Occasionally we will watch with amusement, although I can’t really do this for very long.  I don’t like violence, even if it is healthy “play fighting” – and I use that term very loosely in the case of our boys.  Again, as very different boys I guess their differences are bound to boil over occasionally, and to result in physical attacks against each other.  I don’t imagine it’s any different in other houses with males of a close age.  I distinctly recall as a youngster  watching a friends teenage brothers chase each other around the kitchen table, and I was sure they were going to kill each other!  But then I was one of four girls, so my exposure to this sort of behaviour had been fairly limited – although trust me girls have their own unique version of fighting.

When our boys were little we always said they were like puppy dogs – always better after a good run in the park to burn off some energy.  Now as adolescent males, my view (and those of many others) is that they just can’t do enough sport.  It keeps them busy before and after school and on weekends, expends massive amounts of energy, and is a healthy alternative to some other activities they might otherwise choose.

Game on!