If you feel worthless, like all the accomplishments you’ve achieved over the last few decades are pointless, that nothing you say or do has any meaning, don’t worry. Before you schedule a doctor’s appointment, simply look for the following signs. If you’ve noted any of these happening in your home, you don’t need a prescription for anti-depressants, you simply have failed to notice that your child has become a teenager.
The tiniest sign of affection embarrasses him – Forget about holding hands, hugs, or pecks on the cheek. Any attempt at affection is met with him pretending not to know you. I first noticed this with my son when I took him for a trip to the local Starbucks for a treat. The only other person in the establishment besides us was the clerk behind the counter. When I went to throw my arm around his shoulders to give him a gentle squeeze, I was told “not now Mom, we’re in public.”
Vampires get up earlier – Gone are the days when he used to bound into your bedroom at 6 a.m. ready to play. My son always used to be a morning person. In fact, he was so much so, he would wake my husband and I in the middle of the night to play for an hour or two. If you put him down at 7:30 p.m., you needed to expect to be up at 4 a.m. Now 12 p.m. can roll around before I bang on his door to get a mumbled reply. And like vampires he shrinks from any sunlight. God help the parent who tries to raise the blinds or open the window, for you shall feel his wrath.
Everything you say is wrong – I can remember when we could tell my son anything and he would believe us. We used to tell him they stopped making peanut butter when we forgot to buy it at the grocery store. He would look disappointed but convinced. Perhaps as fate’s little payback, now nothing I say is true. I hold a master’s degree in engineering and have taken Advanced Calculus. But should I suggest that the negative sign in his pre-Algebra homework is incorrect, I have to prove it with an argument worthy of a Ph.D. thesis.
Nothing from your time can be any good – Suggestions that he might like a TV show, movie, or song from your youth results in a look of complete and utter disbelief. I must say I take perverse pleasure when in a store like Abercrombie & Fitch and a song from my era is being played on their sound system. When told that this is a “great new song” by my son, I smile and nod, and tell him it was great when I was in high school too. This is met with a surprising and sudden interest by my son in whatever is on the sales rack.
Showing interest equals mind control – Asking “how was your day?” only solicits a suspicious stare. Understand that any attention is considered unwanted attention. If I go so far as to ask my son to do a chore or “favor” for me, I don’t get “yes, Mother” as a reply. I get “yes, Master.” At this point, I’m just happy he still does the task. But I’m keeping my expectations low on that one as well.
If you recognize any of these signs, don’t despair. I’m told the condition is only temporary, and that this stage too shall pass. I am a little concerned; however, when I ask my older friends what comes next, they smirk a little and look away.