Teenboy got back from uni just over a week ago. For the first 3 days he was back he was the perfect 19 year old son – baby boy would wake him up and he’d spend an hour playing with him and watching TV with him, then they’d both wander into the living room teenboy looking for breakfast babyboy looking for lunch. Then teenboy would sit on the couch with me chatting telling me all about his new life at uni, all his new friends, the girl he likes.
We even had a long chat about him lacking self confidence since he moved out to uni so much so that he’s not sure if he can actually get himself to America this summer. We discussed his health – he’s feeling a bit overweight and worn out – quite a normal occurrence for students in their first year of university.
Then on Thursday it was like overnight he’d flipped from the perfect son into hellboy incarnate.
I’d no idea what had happened. I was aghast and appalled and had no idea what I’d done to make him ‘flip’ over to the darkside. I also had no idea what to do to get my perfect teenboy back.
I mulled all weekend (for mulled read stewed and worried) and then it hit me at 4am this morning – he’s just doing what we all do when we have to spend too much time with our parents.
We revert back to being sulky teenagers.
So I told him my realisation this afternoon. Our talk went a little bit like this:
“You were the perfect son for 3 days when you came home and then bam overnight you turned into both Kevin and Perry.”
Cue teenboy laughing.
“You’ve been walking around here going ‘urghh muUUuum I’m sooooo bored’ ‘you’re so stupid’ ‘why is my life so rubbish’ ‘urrghhh muUUuum you can’t tell me what to do’, all in the your best imitation of both Kevin and Perry”
Cue more laughing from teenboy.
“I understand that it’s hard to live at home and we all revert to being teenagers when we spend too much time with our parents. You see what I’m like if I spend too much time with gran and grampa? But now you know you do that could you please be a little bit self aware and try to curb the worst Kevin and Perry responses cos that would just make both yours and my life so much easier these holidays.”
He laughed again and said he understood and agreed to try his best to limit his Kevin and Perry moments.
I’ve spent so much time shouting at him then trying to work out how to get into his head to make him see the impact he’s having on the household, trying to work out why he’s being such a pain in the arse.
And all I had to do was make him laugh with a reference to some 90s pop culture. And show him that I understand how hard it is to come home to live even when it’s for just 3 weeks.
I can’t guarantee that we won’t have any more run in this holiday but at least now I’ve got a handle on it I can be way more calm and understanding – he’s just having a bit of a teenager moment.
Teenagers don’t have it as easy as we are oft to believe, take ten minutes and have a look back at yours. Then take another couple of minutes and remember the last time you spent more than a weekend with your parents, did you become Kevin and/or Perry?