Saturday, 18 February 2012

Angry Teen

One of the communication problem I have is with my angry teens. My son has an exam week coming up, my wife had to take our daughter to an entry exam for college and I had to do the shopping. I left a teen doing Spanish. An hour later I came home to a teen using two laptops and a mobile phone, communicating with God knows whom when he should be studying. I told him my observation and surprise. He blew up on me, told me he felt wrongly accused and how unfair it was everybody had their opinions ready. He really pissed me off [I mean really, like standing over a dead body with a bloody axe in your hands] and I got angry. Deep down my son is a peace loving guy so he backed off, shut down the computers and got back to work.

For me that's not the end of it though. My wife and my therapist told me to mend my ways so I will. First of all you need to understand what ticked me of so much. Actually it was several things:

  • I am responsible to get my kid through high school and into a good college. He must perform or he will flunk school
  • If he was loading the responsibility on me to drag him through his exams, I would not be able to fulfil my other obligations
  • I got frustrated because this behaviour has been going on for some time and if he keeps denying what he is doing the issue will never be resolved, especially if he keeps resisting my authority 
So yeah, my blood pressure rose, I got angry and it even worked. Did it feel good? No, it goes against my principles to tell people what to do. Is it helping my wife or the harmony in the house? No. Maybe I was a bit proud of my son for using the quarrel back ruse. It did work after all. Changing the subject is a trick ADD and gifted both use frequently.

So, as promised, I spent about two hours thinking it over and this is what I came up with:

  • the thing I have issue with most is his complete lack of responsibility
  • to act responsibly is to recognise and accept situations and make an informed choice
So, if I get into trouble with my kid, I can tell him I want him to use his freedom of choice and choose, in full knowledge of all the consequences. Kill several birds with one stone: show my son I take him seriously, force him to stay on subject without being judgemental and open up the conversation in order to allow him to use my knowledge and experience! 

Hard to change your habit like that but I know it will work. Before I dissembled into ADD I used to be a wise man.

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