I’ve decided to share my latest book (The All-Important, Well-Fed, Giant White Man) with my followers here, free of charge, one chapter at a time. So… Where were we on this read-along… Oh, yes…
Chapter 24: Mom. Grandma.
After returning from the mission, I lived with my parents just long enough for two things to occur. I was almost manslaughtered by that flying spud; and I was almost murdered by my mother. Both of these events happened within an approximate one-week time span.
It was no secret in our household that I butted heads big time with Mom and Dad, particularly in the latter half of my upbringing. I’d like to say I didn’t carry disdain for them when I was going through the ages of hurting preteen to asshole teenager and all the way to vexed full-grown man, but I can’t do so honestly. I was (more often than not) overly resentful of them, bitter, and angry for the ways they parented. I’d even go so far as to say that I generally loathed them both.
But they shouldn’t take that too personally. After all, two things are true.
First, I seemingly loathed everyone and everything back then. I loathed brushing my teeth. I loathed Barry Manilow. I loathed mushrooms and beets. And as far as I know, Barry Manilow didn’t take it personally, and neither did the mushrooms. Therefore, neither should my parents. That’s sound logic, right?
Second, Mom and Dad carried plenty of disdain for me. Oh, I’m sure they’d tell me they didn’t. No real parents loathe their own kids, after all. But oh, how it seemed to me that I was loathed by my two creators. And, how could they not feel any other way? I was a relentless weenie to them. I made their lives as miserable as I possibly could. They had really damn good reasons to detest me just as so many parents around the world have damn good reasons to detest their own belligerent and limit-pushing adolescents.
Teenagers are just assholes sometimes.
And so are parents. It’s inevitable.
I mean, think about it. Teenage boys are going through this weird part of life where the following is almost always true.
They are thinking mostly with their penises, but they don’t yet know much about their penises, how to use them effectively, or when they should be using them at all. Their brains are not fully developed. They’re literally still missing those developed parts of the brain that think erudite things such as, “dude, you probably shouldn’t ride on top of a speeding car naked,” or “dude, you should probably go to class instead of to your girlfriend’s dorm room.”
Teenagers are too old to be coddled and too young to be given free reign of their own lives. They want Mom and Dad to still supply everything and they don’t want Mom and Dad to have a say in anything.
It’s a seriously tough place to be for most teenagers.
And parents, well, they’re not in any easier of a place in life. I’m guessing that the following is almost always true.
When thinking through how to handle their teenagers, parents obviously don’t do it in the same way their kids do. They don’t do so with their sex organs, and they also don’t do so with the stupid parts of their brains. Those undeveloped areas of their minds that could very much help parents empathize and understand the way their teenagers think literally doesn’t exist for them anymore.
So, they attempt to parent while thinking with their developed minds and with their hearts the way real adults do. That is dangerous, I know. I mean, their brains are actually thinking smart things like, “give him his space,” or “establish your authority and don’t budge. It will be good for him in the long run.”
But when they do that, undeveloped-dum-dum-brain-teens see that space as avoidance and distrust, and they see their parents’ authority and unwillingness to budge as methodical oppression. It’s a no-win situation for everyone, at least when the teenager is as oppositionally defiant as I was.
And those poor, poor parents. Their minds and their hearts never let up, and are often in such extreme conflict with one another. The older their teenagers get, the more parents must choose which of their two thinking organs they will let dictate their own parenting actions. Their minds tell them to cut their kids loose, let them fly and fall on their own, and to give their kids more freedom over their own lives so that they can one day be responsible adults. Their hearts tell them to hold on longer, control their kids’ lives as much as possible so that they don’t make all those unnecessary mistakes, and to continue to both coddle and supply their kids with what they need for as long as they need it…