Parenting young children is often about the basics: the sleep, the feeds and the contents of their nappies. As they get older, sleeping and eating might still cause concern but navigating their world of friendships, technology, aggression and independence are added to the list.
Mum of two boys Adrienne* knows what it’s like to parent an uncommunicative teenage son.
“I have been told to ‘f**k off’ after confiscating my 14-year-old son’s device, but mostly I get very little feedback,” Adrienne said.
“I am learning to step back to let him make his own mistakes but it is hard. He makes it clear that I ‘wouldn’t understand’ his problems and while I can see he is not always happy, he can’t articulate why.
“He also no longer wants to hang out with me in case someone sees us together – I’m now an embarrassment!”
Parents of teenagers translated. A moment of silence for the parents doing it tough, this too shall pass.
Another mum of a teenage boy, Natalie* said that while she has not yet been sworn at by her 15-year-old, she doesn’t always like him much.
“He’s a beautiful human and I love him dearly, but right now I am not sure I like him very much. Our once excellent relationship has been reduced to monosyllabic grunts that vary only from ‘huh?’ to ‘wha?’ to ‘why?’,” Natalie said.
“We recently spent a few happy days on holiday in a resort without Wi-Fi or phone reception. All three of our children were freed from their devices and they reverted to kids, playing games with each other and making things.
“We got lots of hugs and it was really wonderful. On our return home, the devices came out and it was back to the usual grunting with attitude.
“I know my kids are good and I hear from friends what lovely people they are, it is just very hard to relinquish the control and influence I once felt I had.”
Both mums agree that like many phases of parenting, it is the support of other mums and dads going through the same stage that keeps everything in perspective.