4. This is not about you. There will be days (or weeks) where all you get from your teenager will be a resentful glare, an eye roll, and – if you are lucky – an angry growl. The teenager will address you with completely spontaneous, “I hate you!” on regular occasions. Remember: it isn’t you he hates. It’s the hormonal storm that is driving him nuts and that he can’t verbalize or comprehend. Please, see point 1 of the first post in this series for suggestions as to what to do.
5. Provide assistance that is being asked of you. Don’t try to correct the teenager’s mess-ups according to what you think will be a good way to do so. At this point, the help that matters is the kind that has been explicitly asked of you.
A real-life example: Once, Molly called me on the phone at 11 pm.
“My boyfriend is a jerk!” she declared. “Can you tell him he is a jerk and scream at him if I hand him the phone?”
Molly’s boyfriend was always extremely polite and respectful to me. As for me, contrary to what people might believe after reading my blog, I don’t walk around insulting people and screaming at them. However, if that’s what the kid needed at that point, that’s what I had to provide. She passed the phone to the boyfriend.
“You stupid MF, FY from here to hell!” I ranted. “You, horrible, nasty jerk!” I swore at the poor guy for five minutes and then asked him to give the phone to Molly.
“Cool,” she said. “Thanks.”
When she came back home, I didn’t ask any questions, of course. (See rule 1.)
“My boyfriend and I made up,” she informed me. “Thanks for putting him in his place.”
It is very difficult to restrain oneself from lecturing and sharing one’s profound wisdom. You have to do that, though, if you want to preserve your relationship with the kid and not just have them call you on Christmas and Mother’s Day.