If you know me at all you know that TheTeenager and I have a really close relationship. He’s 18 and about the age I was when I had him. As a teen mom I spent the beginning part of his life learning and growing up with him. From that came a very close friendship on top of our relationship as mother and son. Yet since the start of his teen years I have come to realize that there is a thin line between being his parent and being his friend.
When my son turned 13 I must admit I was ready for the sky to fall and the earth to split open. I had heard such horror stories of how different a child can become once they hit this teen years. Yet for us I honestly didn’t see a drastic change in his personality or attitude. He was still my lovable, quirky and odd humored kid and I figured maybe I had dodged that Teenager bullet.
That is until maybe 6 months later, suddenly my normally light-hearted and soft spoken boy was withdrawn and not sharing any of his bits of what we dubbed useless information. We wouldn’t see him throughout the day for hours at a time. When we did see him we heard no more than a grunt in reply to our attempts to converse with him.
I was upset at first and almost demanded he stay in the midst of the family and stop disappearing all day. Then I remember the way I felt at his age
. I want to be alone just as much and for reasons I didn’t even have the words to explain back then. So I stopped. I stopped trying to make him be the kid he was from birth to 12 and decided to give him time to become who he needed to be then.
It worked. Slowly my boy turned into TheTeenager – a bit more intense but still my lovable kid. He began to come back out of his shell and the jokes flowed freely again. I was happy and still watchful to be sure that we gave this newest version of him had all the support he needed.
The years went by with some of the normal Teen issues and honestly the ones all kids have: school
, grades, friends…girl friends and friends who just happen to be girls. We dealt with it all in stride and things seemed to be going as they should.
Until recently. Then things seemed to begin to change yet again. If you watch any of my YouTube
videos with TheTeenager you will see that we have a very light and friendly way of talking and dealing with each other. We both have a weird sometime off the cuff sense of humor and that brings us together as friends not just as mom and son.
Yet lately I noticed that my friendly banter has been mistaken for a type of weakness. This kid who is normally very respectful and aware of his boundaries began to test those limits. In turning 18 he knew he was legally an adult but for me and my household age is literally just a number. If I am the parent I will remain the parent no matter how old you or I get. So as I watched him begin to assert this new found idea of adulthood I realized that our friendship was beginning to blur the lines of my role as his mother.
It hurt me to my core to admit that perhaps there needed to be a redefinition of our roles. That maybe our friendship had to change in order to maintain order and in all honesty peace in my home. I was in denial for a while but soon came to realize it had to be happen.
I sat him down and the first thing he said was I’m not talking or acting different. I’m just speaking my mind. I told him sometimes it isn’t what you say but how you say it. I had to explain that although his ideas, thoughts and opinions are allowed to be voiced the HOW in how he does it is what was being called into issue.
I didn’t mind hearing how he felt on a situation but I needed it to be expressed with the same respect I have always required. Those 18 years didn’t allow for him to forget who was the child and who was the parent. Although I have always valued how close we are I don’t want him to begin to see me as his equal and lose that respect I feel I have not only earned but deserve as his mother.
I admit the initial reaction after I had to draw our line in the sand has not been fun. He withdrew and began to give me no more than one word answers to any and every request. To him he felt the only way to avoid being seen as disrespectful was to say as little as possible. The funny part is I see so much of my Teenage self
in him that I know once he processes the hurt he may be feeling as well as the anger I will see an even newer version of TheTeenager and possibly my friend emerge.
Do you have a teenager?
How have you dealt with the emotional and personality changes?
How to you make clear that thin line between parent and friend?
Blogger, YouTuber & Media Influencer
Tiffany is the ‘ Tee’ behind TheMrsTee.com - a Lifestyle Blog created as a place to share her love of all things Faith, Family, Fashion, Food, Fun, Tech & Travel. Tiffany has established her influence within both the Blogging and Vlogging Communities. Tiffany has extended her presence beyond her URL to Television as a Panelist for the MomsEveryday TV Show for 2 Seasons and to the stage as a Cast Member of the Finale Season of The Listen To Your Mother Show. A 2016 VOTY Award Honoree, Contributing Author with iBlog Magazine and BlogHer.com growing herself as a Brand and Influencer are always at the center of Tiffany’s passion.
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