The next stage……

This parenting thing is getting harder.
I thought it would get easier. It’s not.
These past 6 months have been hell.
And I find I am getting grumpier. Much less tolerant.
When the kids were young keeping an eye on them, making sure they didn’t get lost, abandoned or hurt was unrelenting. It was stressful and exhausting. But it was our job to look out for them. They were our babies. Innocent, helpless little souls who needed us for more than just money and a lift.
It felt good to get them through that stage. I loved seeing them and being with them every day. Picking them up from school, playing footy in the park, reading stories at night. Wrestling and joking around with them.
My boys are now 10.5 and 9 & a bit.
It’s time they moved out.
I don’t know what has happened in the past 6 months. But our moments of fun and togetherness have been drowned out by a tsunami of fighting, swearing and general attitude.
I’m convinced that Testosterone, the King of hormones has emptied his nut sack onto our house. And our boys are bathing in it.
There is a definite change in the air. The balance of power has shifted. The dynamics are changing.
I’m feeling powerless. Stripped of authority. And full of anger.
Every day. Without fail. There is some kind of shouting match between one or all of us.
Mum shouts at kids. Kids shout at mum. Dad shouts at kids. Kids shout at dad. Dad shouts at mum. Mum shouts at dad.
Meanwhile the kids have forgotten all about it and gone off to play outside leaving mum and dad in a bad mood wondering why they are shouting at each other.
I don’t want to spend the next 10 years shouting. So something needs to change.
I have to realise that they are not intentionally trying to destroy my house one lampshade at a time.
That they are not trying to suck me dry of all and any money I may earn by exploring the inside of my hardrive and other electronic devices.
“but I just wanted to see what was inside Dad”.
Or use the vacuum cleaner as their own personal hickey machine until the motor blows.
“So the whining noise from the motor as it was starved of air didn’t bother you.”
“Ok. Well let me see if the same applies when I try that on you…….”
Most of it is just common sense stuff. Like don’t run across a road without looking. And don’t use the corner of a domino to play drums on my wooden coffee table.
“Did the first 20 marks on the table not concern you?”
It’s more of a boy thing. There is a total disconnect between what is the right thing to do and needing to do that thing, now.
There is also this need for instant gratification. And it applies when one feels aggrieved by the other. Nine times out of ten, there is instant retaliation.
On the very odd occasion. When you catch them in the act. You reason. Plead with the wronged child. To “let it go”, to “be the bigger man”.
“Ok Dad. You’re right. I’m going to walk away.”
I feel so proud as a parent. I feel such love and connection with this child. He is taking the high road. He is stepping up. He is listening to me.
I heap praise on him. I make an example of him;
“look your brother is not retaliating. He is doing the right thing. I am very proud of him”
I talk about ice cream rewards and extra TV time in recognition of this act of compliance and good behaviour.
I walk away glowing. Parenting. Nailed It.
A smug glance to my wife as I walk past her. Then settle into the couch to watch some TV. Quiet and peaceful.
The silence shattered by a howling scream;
“I’m gonna fuckin kill yoooouuUUUUUUUUU!!!!!”
The golden child has only gone and trashed his brothers room in retaliation for the earlier incident. He has listened to nothing. I feel betrayed.
I jump up raging. Run into the room.
I start shouting at the boys, the boys start shouting at me, mum shouts at the boys, the boys shout at mum, dad shouts at……………