Game, set, rejection

Phew! What an exhausting weekend of tennis. My legs are still shaking from the epic Djokovic win over Nadal in the Men’s final. And Friday night’s dogfight between Djokovic and Murray left me wheezing. But what’s happened in the Murray camp, we’re wondering? Everyone was talking about Murray’s coach, Ivan Lendl, the stony-faced former number one. But what happened to Andy’s mum, who used to be a fixture in the box? Mrs Murray told reporters she had too many work commitments to be in Melbourne for her boy, but the big question is: was she pushed?

Children normally start rejecting their parents around the onset of adolescence, which means Mrs Murray has been living on borrowed time for 10 years. Lucky her! But getting ditched by your offspring isn’t easy, no matter what the age.

So, what can you do when your teen decides you’re just too embarrassing to be seen with – cry, fight back or accept that it’s just part of life?

Ever feel like you're ready for the scrap heap?
This summer we made our annual family trip to a theme park – Whitewater World, on the Gold Coast. We were all set for a rip-roaring day out, but I could tell as soon as we walked in that things wouldn’t be smooth sailing. The place was dominated by swarms of parentless teenagers. I noticed my teen shrinking as we waded through the park, trying to make himself invisible between his parents and younger brother. After one ride, my husband and I were informed that we were too embarrassing to be with. Our company was no longer required or appreciated. I had screamed too much and my husband had just been too … annoying. 
And so, with a large amount of disappointment, we parted ways.  I retired to a sun lounger to count tattoos, (wondering whether the giant wings on Jonathan Thurston’s back counted as one or two), lick my wounds and consider my new role as a mother of a teenager.
Experts agree that teens reject their parents and their values to gain independence and find their identity. Teenagers (especially girls) will criticise their mother’s clothes, hair, makeup, the way they walk, talk and pretty much everything else in between. But here are some things to remember when your teen gets mean. It’s a compilation of expert opinion and advice from oracles on parenting.

  • Criticism is not pleasant, but it’s not personal.
  • Don’t blow things out of proportion
  • Choose your battles – don’t fight the irrelevant stuff
  • Respect your teen
  • Try to stay positive and don’t badger
  • Don’t forget that you’re a parent (you don’t have to be your teen’s best friend)
  •  Keep open and keep talking

 I also find it is helpful to spend some time well away from my teen’s peer group, to give the family a chance to bond and my son a change to have fun without worrying about what everyone else thinks of him. (Whitewater World was the wrong choice for that!)

Also, check out this factoidz for a good overview of why teens rebel.

And here’s Mark Twain’s advice: “When a boy turns 13, put him in a barrel and feed him through a knot hole. When he turns 16, plug up the hole.”

I hope you don’t have to resort to that technique.

Julie

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