I think my son is possessed. My house is now filled with grunts, slamming doors, and strange odors.
Do you remember the scene in The Exorcist when the girl’s head spins and she growls “Get out!!!”? I used to think that was scary. Now I realize that she was just acting like a teenager. Anyone who has ever had a teenager in the house recognizes that this happens every morning when you wake them up. I have come to realize that the sweet kid who used to snuggle up with me to watch TV will now not only no longer do that but now often smells like a barnyard animal, so I really would prefer not to snuggle up with him either.
It’s a different world now. I used to spend time trying to find new projects and activities to entertain him and make him happy. It isn’t like that anymore. Now he has his own friends and his own activities. Most of my input now revolves around reeling him in and telling him when he can’t go out because he has homework, or chores or some other obligation that prevents him from doing what he wants to do.
This is difficult for me because instead of being the one who delivers the fun, I am now the killjoy who takes the fun away. This isn’t nearly as rewarding and definitely does not fill you with the warm fuzzy glow that makes you realize that being a parent is all worthwhile. In fact, it is often filled with those moments where after listening to a whiny melodramatic rant on how much worse I am than his friend’s parents, he punctuates it by storming off and slamming his bedroom door. No warm glow here. Actually, at that moment, I am thinking if I jumped in my car and drove as fast as I could how far could I get before they caught me and dragged me back.
Of course, it isn’t all doom and gloom. Otherwise our freeways would be full and many parents would be busily calculating if they have enough equity in their houses to make it worth it to stay.
Amidst all the growing pains there are also a lot of bright spots, too. Teenagers are a unique group. At various times we get to see both glimpses of the child we used to know and the adult they are going to become. When you hear the story of your son stepping in to stop a bully from teasing another child, you feel the pride of knowing that he doesn’t need me standing behind him to make sure he does the right thing. As he begins to navigate new relationships, I hope that he carries with him an understanding that his actions have consequences and that the way he treats others will determine the kinds of friends he has.
It’s a rocky road to adulthood and as he races towards maturity, I will have to content myself to be the speed bump that prevents him from getting there too fast.
Dr. Celeste Lopez graduated cum laude from The University of Utah College of Medicine. She completed her Pediatric residency training at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan. She is certified with The American Board of Pediatrics since 1992. In 2003, she moved her practice, Wishing Well Pediatrics, to Delphos and is located at 154 W. Third Street. She is the proud mother of a 12-year-old son.