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Friday, 18 September 2009

Boy Trouble

All you parents out there with Year 11 offspring – you have my sympathy. The Boy is doing his GCSEs this year and bitterly regrets choosing at least one. He doesn't like the teacher - he chose badly yadda yadda. I pointed out (sounding horribly like David Brent) that he can't go through life blaming other people for his poor performance. He promised to try harder. And then, a few nights ago he hovered outside my door a few nights ago, an anxious expression on his face that as parents of teenage boys know, means one of three things:

I’m in trouble at school
I’ve got a girl pregnant (yeah this little doozy of a thought pops up too)
I want something

So I was relieved when it turned out to be Number Three. Mum mum all my class are going to the Reading Festival tickets booked year in advance please please please pay you back work very hard pass my GCSEs . . . .
I hadn’t been proposed to with as much fervor. And it would be an incentive! No - not a bribe - an incentive! So I got him a ticket for the 2010 Reading Festival. I pointed out that the line up wasn't going to be announced for a while and if he was very unlucky he might end up listening to Chris de Burgh supported by The Krankies. But nothing could dim his ardour. He actually made me a cup of tea over the next two days and hugged me twice. Yes! A TEENAGER MADE ME A CUP OF TEA! I congratulated myself for understanding. I was providing a good incentive. Quite probably I was down with the kids as well. Why any day a publisher was likely to ring me up and suggest I write a book on Bringing Up Children with my light touch and ability to really get into a teenager's head.

Yeah yeah. I know. It's coming.

The next day I had a call from one of his teachers. He had an official detention for not doing an important piece of homework. I was on my way to the school for one of those Show Your Support For You Child In His/Her GCSE Year Meetings - I hadn't had my dinner and I was grumpy. I clicked off my phone and texted The Boy to tell him about the detention and he texted back saying that he didn't understand the question. But this was a total lie because teacher had already told me it was more a question of couldn't be arsed to do the work and he understood exactly what needed to be done. I was furious and felt ridiculously let down. I mean - the next day?! Husband and I grounded The Boy for a week which means he has to miss about 500 000 parties. Today The Boy sloped in from school and begged me to let him go to a particular friend's party. There's A Girl involved. I know he thinks I'm a soft touch and I said No. Not shouting or angry but if you say you're going to carry out a punishment you have to do it. Now he's next door kicking the shit out of his punchbag. I heard him thumping and crashing and thought I can't make him do anything and a tiny tiny whisper of . . . my son could hurt me if he hit me. Not that I think he ever would. But I found his rage and frustration shocking. And I feel angry and sad myself. But I can't give in. He was grounded for behaving badly and lying. I keep thinking . . boundries . . boundries . . over and over and . . I'm his mother not his mate . .

I don't know how single mothers cope. I take my hat off to all of you.


Andrew Tibbs said...

Good for you. You've obviously brought him up well because he's obeying your grounding. He's got to learn sometime. Maybe you should make a copy of the ticket and threaten him with tearing it up. Or snip bits off it everytime he does wrong - send it in the post in an unmarked envelope till he takes the hint.

Remember, all worth it at the end of the day when he gets a good job and takes you out to lunch because you made him work that wee bit harder.

Jane said...

Thank you Andrew. The idea of making a copy of the ticket is excellent! But as you say, the important thing is to follow through on what you say. Sigh.

Helen P said...

I have a boy and sometimes I feel so angry and frustrated I find I need a punchbag myself.
'Why have you got a detention for RE?'
'I didn't bring a photo into school.'
'But we have 10 albums full of photos of you from birth to last week.'
He looks at me with eyes full of pity...
'Oh mum, it's not as easy as that.'
'The words - You Wouldn't Understand' are always a sigh away with my son ...and who knows, perhaps I don't?

Freelance Mam said...

There is a foot sized dent in a door upstairs in my mother's house from one such discussion. Gosh my three brothers gave her hell sometimes when I think about it. But she always had a friends to laugh about it after...which made her feel better, a little bit.

They a nice to her all the time now.


Bingethink said...

Hmm, interesting, and I feel for you, but is it a good idea to be writing candidly about your son in your blog after the whole Julie Myerson thing??

Product Placement said...

Your post made me fear the future. I thought Jake turning the oven on and off was challenging...

PS I go to young Andrew Tibbs above for all my domestic moaning. He's rather good.

Juxtabook said...

Poor you! i agree with Andrew - you're obviously doing a good job. He is angry because he knows he has to do what you say. Though the thundering of a teenage boy can be scary (you want to try being in a room with 30 of them; pity the teacher) it's because he knows you're right. Don't be cowed into giving in when you have the upper hand. Another 9 months and he'll either be out or asleep all summer and you can relax!

Paul Lamb said...

Having raised three sons (and one daughter) to be high-achieving adults I can tell you that you're doing the right thing with your son.

I have to say, though, that as an American, I'm beginning to suspect that the Reading Festival your son wants to attend doesn't have anything to do with books.