International Blog Swap Day

The ingenious people at Tots100 have teamed up with an Australian counterpart to host an International Blog Swap Day. This is where two bloggers, one from the UK and one from Australia team up to host each other and share the blogging love across the planet. Bloggers will be taking over the world soon, you just watch :)

Anyway, I have the pleasure of hosting Jen from Semantically Driven so please read, enjoy and send her some commenting love.
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I don’t have much experience with children and I don’t have much experience with boys. Yet, here I find myself the parent of a 12 year old boy who will be 13 in a couple of months. I need to prepare a kit to get myself through these teenage years. This kit will have much alcohol, much hair dye to cover the ever emerging greys, a very thick skin, and a good support group.

I always hoped that because he was a difficult younger child that we would breeze through the teenage years yet I know I’m deluding myself. Who really breezes through those years with their children?

An acquaintance is going through a hard time with her nearly 15 year old Asperger teen who takes it upon himself not to turn up to school whenever he feels like it. A woman I used to work with went through a very hard time with her son when he was younger. These stories scare the hell out of me. I usually feel stressed enough as it is but something tells me that what I’m going through now is nothing compared to what it will or could be.

You raise your kids hoping they’ll come out the other end not too messed up either from your parenting or from hanging around with peers who’ve led them astray. You try to discipline them. Teach them right from wrong and hope like hell they make the right decisions when it counts.

There are things I expect him to do around the house and for himself, you know, like get ready for school at a certain time. It’s the same time every day but just about every day I find myself stressed because he’s not ready yet. There need to be consequences for this right? So when I have given him consequences like taking the xbox controllers away I get told – from him – that’s not the way to discipline him. I need to reward him, he reckons. Yes, I say, I’ll reward you with the xbox controllers back when you do your jobs. I found myself saying to him recently that I’m the parent, not you.

It’s getting harder to take him out with me. It used to be that there was no choice – when I went somewhere he came too unless I got childcare for him that is. Now I can leave him at home if I pop out to the shops and that’s a lot easier for sure. But if I’m going to a barbeque or some sort of function I have to answer 50 questions as to how long we’ll be there, who will be there etc etc. If he doesn’t like the sound of it then he really digs his heels in and doesn’t want to go. I can be stubborn too, and say that there is no option on this one, that he has to come with me. There are options some times though and we can discuss those and usually reach a mutually agreeable solution. There will be more of that won’t there?

At least he likes being left at home by himself when I pop out to pilates or to do the shopping. I recently asked a friend’s daughter who’s 19 if she would like to come and stay at my place to look after the dog for a few days when we went away. She wasn’t keen because she doesn’t like being in a house by herself. I would have jumped at the chance at her age and so does my son. He’s much happier that he’s got our dog for company when I’m out though. He locks the door behind me when I leave practically pushing me out of the door and sarcastically saying don’t hurry back before he says he loves me. See, I’m already developing a thick skin.

There is a lovely side to him though. He cooked pancakes for me as a treat the other morning, and a month or so ago it was bacon and eggs in bed. I had to stay in bed and it wasn’t even mother’s day or my birthday. Sometimes he’ll surprise me by doing something I usually have to ask him to do like the fire ready to light without me asking. It’s these moments I have to enjoy and keep me going through the tougher times.

I’d open to any tips or advice that got you, or are getting you, through the teenage years. I’m gonna need it.

Read more about us at Semantically Driven and/or follow me on Twitter @jenseeya.