Teenagers are lucky to be alive. . .

Honestly, I don’t think I’m a bad parent, or an “inhuman monster” as my son declared today. He was furious with me for “bullying” my other son, his twin brother. Nevermind the fact that the twin brother had repeatedly spoken to me disrespectfully, refused to do his work and interrupted my instructions with comments like, “I don’t care!” and “I’m not going to do it.”

Finally, at my wits’ end, I dialed the phone and said to my husband, “Please, just listen to this.” And then I repeated the instructions to my son while holding the phone between us. I said, “Please write down the formula and then do the work.” He said, “Okay.” Then I said, “Thanks,” to my husband and hung up.

And then, out of his father’s hearing, my son started up again, refusing to do his work, arguing with me.

I dialed again. This time, my husband spoke directly to my son who began to cry.

All this because the boy refused to write down the formula, plug in the numbers and solve the problem. Four problems, to be exact.

Teenagers make me long for the days of tantrums and diapers. Teenagers make me nostalgic for the days of spilled sippy cups and plastic toys all over the floor. Teenagers make me view their toddlerhoods through the gauzy film of selective memory. Ah, they were so cute! Even better were the days before they had language and all they could do was cry. Crying seems preferable, after a day like today when my teenager told me in no uncertain terms what he thinks of my parenting.

I excelled as the parent of twin babies, twin toddlers and twin preschoolers. However, just to keep the universe in balance, I fail miserably as the parent of twin teenagers. At least that’s what they’ll tell you.

(I’d like to resign now.)

20 thoughts on “Teenagers are lucky to be alive. . .

  1. Oooh, inhuman monster! I love it! I will expect to hear that around here any day now.

    Hang in there, Mel. You know you’re a good mom, and they’ll know it too. Someday soon.


  2. Listen, Mel, I don’t have any teens, but I do have 28 4th graders. And when someone calls you an “inhuman monster” for making them do homework, it makes me proud to be your friend.

    You are a really good mom, ESPECIALLY if he is right and you are not a human. If that is the case, you have done and AWESOME job raising humans. How did you even know how to raise a different species? Wow.


  3. I agree, great post! I’m not there yet, but I can’t wait…oh, I can’t wait. I know that 6 year old emotional outbursts will be magnified exponentially by then. Yippee…


  4. I’m certain you’re not failing! If it makes you feel any better I am IN the toddler/preschooler stage and I feel like a failure too 🙂


  5. I am with ya girlie. Teens are TOUGH. I used to frequent an ice cream counter back home in AK, it was operated by a mom who had twin teens. There was a sign that hung in plain sight:

    “Moms of teenagers understand why, in the animal kingdom, mothers eat their young.”

    I KNOW you’re not failing. Just a day in the life of a mom with teens.


  6. Trust me – they hit 21 and suddenly you become one of the smartest people on the planet – something miraculously “clicks” and they transform into humans that suddenly see that there is this whole big world, and that it doesn’t actually center around them. Although 21 is miles away, it’s here in the blink of an eye, and suddenly you wonder where it all went – and the realization that the raising kids portion of your life is over hits you like a ton of bricks. In the meantime, know that I, too, am struggling with a 15 year old boy (after successfully raising 2 other boys who are now 27 and 26) and I’m still pulling my hair out……


  7. Soon, it will be the ‘pre-driving’ stage you will long for…

    …so fasten your seatbelt and get ready for THAT ride…

    …times two.


  8. God is so wise. He gives us those tiny little babies and gives us two years to fall madly in love with them before the terrible twos hit. Then He gives us ten more years to fall in so deeply in love with them that we don’t kill them during the teen years.

    I had five teens at the same time. I feel your pain.


  9. With literally 100 teenagers of my own (I teach 9th grade) I feel your pain. Just remember you are a great parent, a great mother and that while you love your kids you don’t actually have to love everything about them all the time…

    Frankly, you were kinder and gentler than my parents would have been in the situation… I know I would have said something pretty short myself… maybe that’s why I don’t have kids but just “borrow” other people’s!


  10. Lordy. I have two who’re pretty new to the teen years but are working the system hard. The moping. The arguing. The slothfulness. The mood swings. I’m in fight-or-flight mode on a regular basis. I am seriously not certain I will survive.

    You handled this situation with coolness and quick thinking, and I applaud you.


  11. I have an 18 year old son who has become condescending–demonstrated by the roll of the eyes, a shrug of the shoulder and a favorite phrase “whatever…” I want to cut him off from all financial support and change the locks.

    I have a 14 year old son who has become manipulating. He NEVER has homework, is doing “great” in school (until I get the inevitable email from the teacher or 5 week progress report), recently watched pirated movies on line for free (and can’t understand why I would object) and has far too much charm and quick humor.

    I have an 11 year old who slipped and revealed that his goal in life is ” to always get his way”. I fear that I have led him to believe that he can. He has yet to hit the testosterone poisoning that ruins sweet little boys.

    There are just days when I want to drop my head in despair. What chapter in “raising boys” did I fail to implement? Will my unintentional omission result in their being jobless, homeless, selfish and addicted to something awful? ( I watch too much reality TV….)

    I figure that as long as we keep earnestly praying for them, loving them and fighting back we will win the big battles. Whatever is left will have to be dealt with by their future wives, the Holy Spirit and the fruit of their own mistakes.

    Parenting teenagers demands more courage than just about anything. You were fearless and bold! Bravo!


  12. My two weren’t perfect as teens but we truly got thru those years without too much angst or pain. If you asked me how, I really wouldn’t know what to tell you. Maybe because we never forgot what it was like to be teens ourselves? And we listened…we REALLY listened…when they spoke. Mutual respect was a large part of it. Telling them we were sorry and admitting we’d screwed up at times helped a lot, too. I dunno. But at 29 and 31, they’re two of our best friends. We are truly blessed.


  13. I just came over here from reading Nutmeg’s blog, and I can tell you that you need to watch Supernanny…no, not for any parenting tips (you know I already think you’re marvelous), but so you can at least look at them and say to yourself, “At least I’m not THAT bad!” I watch Supernanny myself, just to feel superior.

    Mel, good luck tomorrow. You are in my prayers. I hope you can take comfort knowing that your grandmother is home with her Savior, probably in a field of flowers.


  14. Oh I know exactly how you feel. My boys are two years apart and that close enough for me. They are 17 and 19 and still have selective hearing. Sigh. I keep thinking,”Where did my sweet toddlers go?”


  15. I’m with you 100%. My twin teenagers are driving me into an early grave. The arguments are so similar to what you posted. Yesterday they had a huge fight over the words “cross the train tracks.” I know, it sounds pretty innocent, but those two can fight about anything.


  16. ok, I hesitated in commenting yesterday. I waited a day to come back just to make sure that I wanted to say this. This is my thoughts. Please don’t beat me with a mallet. I say this not out of judgment but out of love and wisdom.

    Children have a way of working up to this stuff. It didn’t just click when they became teenagers. Judging from my own childhood memories I realize now that I wanted to make mom happy. I served her and cared for her the best I could. As children hit that stage where they start to reason at a mature level, they see what kind of people we are. I saw my mother as lazy (because I did ALL the housework when I got home from school, even though she didn’t have a job of her own and was able to work/clean). As my now 17 year daughter got older I kept my eye out for back talk and when she tried to get away with it, I knocked it down quickly. For majority of children, I believe, will turn out right if we train them right. If we swat their bottoms for calling us stupid when they are 6, and again when they try to call us an idiot at 10, then at 14 they won’t be calling us names.

    Also, if your children sense that you don’t really want them around and want to do your own thing then of course they are going to not like you. I learned this as a child too. People, children and adults alike, want to feel loved, wanted, believed in, etc. It goes such a long way. And this is not just in my experience as a person myself, or my children but also in the fact that when I watch my neighbors son, I can see how he responds in our family. He is coming out of his shell. He is testing his limits. But he also is learning he is a wonderful human being in our home and we love him. It says something when a child who is known for hitting other children at school and home is known in our home as a good friend. All I am saying is that environment puts so much into this. We get what we give. I know there are some out there that are rotten just because but I suspect that your twins are good children. They just have not learned to be respectful to you.

    And before I get a handful of people telling me I am mean for saying this, I just say to look into your hearts and if you really think that children are supposed to grow up and call their parents names then you can embrace it when it comes. Don’t be surprised because for you, it is the inevitable. For others, it is a lesson in diligence, training and love – to get the right result.

    And Mel please don’t take this as an attack on you. I just put two and two together when you say you can’t wait to have your alone time and them calling you “inhuman monster”.


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