Making That Pre-teen to Teen Step A Little Too Early
This mom sees all the signs of a teenager in her not-yet-there preteen.
I think my son has become a teenager two years early.
At home he’s taken to wandering aimlessly or disappearing into the basement to see which friends are on Skype. He may be on the same level of the house as the rest of the family if the TV is on.
The very act of breathing by his younger brother and sister annoys him and his parents are barely allowed to acknowledge him in public. If friends or peers are nearby, we are NOT allowed to acknowledge him.
He’s prone to arguing and he’s just beginning to adopt that “you’re hopeless” borderline snotty tone of voice when he does so. I plan to crush this tendency like a bug now.
I was forced to stop the goodbye kiss before school last year and our bedtime routine became a simple kiss and hug about two years ago so I’ve been preparing for this. I just thought I had two more years. He’s 11 years old so I’ve got two more years, right? Right?
He’s not in full-blown “everything-sucks-why-can’t-I-do-whatever-I-want-you-guys-are-terrible-parents” mode but it’s just around the corner.
The non-stop eating while complaining that there’s no food in the house is tolerable. I can even accept that he doesn’t want me to touch him at all in public. I guess what’s troubling me is I can see that those few years when we sort of lose him are closer than I want them to be.
So far this summer break his goal seems to be to spend as much time away from home with friends as possible. I don’t even mind that. I have three kids so one less from time to time makes my life easier and results in less sibling conflict. I find myself missing him, though.
I accept that during most of his teenage years he’ll be largely lost to us as he develops his own sense of self and begins to turn into the adult he’ll be for the rest of his life. His friends will be the most important thing to him rather than his family.
I accept that I have to step back and mostly watch this process and can only offer guidance and support. I don’t, however, have to like it.
It’s only the third week of summer break and already he was gone for 24 hours between Boy Scouts, friends and a sleepover. He came home, had breakfast and disappeared into the basement.
Oh well. I can’t stop him from growing up and separating from us. All I can do is be there if he needs me and hold on to the fact that by the time he’s ready to leave for college and for the rest of his life after that, he’ll be ours again.