My teenage son s usually agreeable and well mannered. But this week we had quite an argument. I was surprised how he raised his voice at me.
While the kids are sleeping in until noon and staying up half the night, I have been getting up to go to work every day. Coming home to a sink full of dishes, empty chip bags on the counter and crumbs all over the kitchen floor made me mad. Really mad!
I let my kids know in no uncertain terms that that was not acceptable. They are responsible for taking care of their own mess. I warned them they would lose some privileges if they continued leaving a mess for me to find when I got home. They ignored me.
On Monday I came home to the usual mess. I went on my app that controls our internet and set their internet to go off at night so they couldn’t stay up all night with their friends playing games. I quietly cleaned up the messy house and went to bed. As planned the internet shut down. It was raining so the kids assumed the storm knocked out the internet. The next night the internet shut down again. This time they put two and two together.
When I got home from work the following day my son met me with all the reasons I was wrong to shut off the internet. He was fired up. He listed all his arguments. He raised his voice. He told me I could not do what I did. I listened. I argued back. I let him know that having internet access was a privilege and not a right. I told him I could have it shut off permanently if I wanted to. I could drive him to the school parking lot to do his homework where he could tap into their internet.
I stood my ground. The next day the house was spotless when I came home. The rest of this week the house has stayed mostly clean. That is how it should be.
But after the argument with my son I was upset. It was the first time he had raised his voice at me. It was not in a threatening way, but out of frustration and anger. I was upset and felt disrespected. I was about to tell him so.
Then after thinking about it for a couple more days, I decided I was proud of him. I didn’t raise a wallflower. He is opinionated, he feels he can voice his opinion to me. He feels confident about his beliefs and he feels confident he can voice those opinions without being shut down by me. I like that. I am raising a strong young man. I am very proud of that.
He should be pushing the boundaries now. It is what teenagers do. It is o.k. It is how they learn to navigate the world. I am willing to give him the space to do that. He is getting ready to fly out of the nest and finding his voice is part of the preparations. I’m glad he is growing up to be a confident and opinionated young man.