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Elusive Teenager

Elusive Teenager

February 8, 2008

The Elusive Teenager

This is his favorite spot in the house to sit with his laptop. I was just in the sunroom pretending to tidy up the bookshelf so I could nonchalantly chat with him. I have found that if I just walk in there and plop down and start asking him questions he gets annoyed with me.

This is a tough age. One moment he is mature and adult like. The next moment he can be a royal pain in the ass. But the thing is, he feels the same way about me.

Posted by Chris @ 5:34 pm  

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  1. Carolyn says:

    Ha, join the club, my daughter is 16 and super talented at everything she does. She mostly has a hard time taking me seriously because (of course) she knows more than I do. This year with our homeschooling I thought I’d try to trip her ego a little bit, (I know, shame on me.) I entered her in a local homeschool Outdoors group. Things like archery, camping, fishing; things that she’d have to work at to accomplish . Things that would challenge her. Well it back-fired on me. We are currently waiting on her results for her air rifle competition (WHAT???!!) She is currently in top place on her team of teen age boys, yes the ones with raging hormones. We’re waiting for the final scores to be totaled to see if she goes on to compete in the state championship. I didn’t see that one coming. I have the cutest pictures of her with her pink safety glasses. Now she knows she knows more than me and she knows that she has fantastic aim! Yay me. Today has been a blessing with her. We’ve had a lot of fun and are looking forward to goofing off this weekend which makes it easier to see the humor in having a teen. Yes, my mother got her wish, my daughter turned out just like me…o.k., only smarter.

  2. suburbancorrespondent says:

    Pain in the ass, you bet….I can’t wait until my teens head off to college….they make me feel ancient.

  3. cheryl says:

    We always found the best time to talk to our young teenagers was right when we went to bed. We would climb into bed, get nice and comfy to watch the news or whatever was on, and sure enough - one or the other would plop down on the foot of the bed and talk, talk, talk. Sometimes it was both at one time. Our son, who does not live at home anymore (he is 25) popped in one evening to pick up something, and even though we were in bed watching a movie, still sat on the bed and visited for a good hour. The other place was in the car - great for some one-on-one talking time. Now that they are both in their twenties - I kinda miss that visiting time.

  4. Rhea says:

    The contrast of the chandelier in this shot is so nice. This is a beautifully captured moment.

    PS- cute couch!

  5. ~Tammy~ says:

    I am on round 4 of teenage boys. Still another year and a half until my “babies” are officially teenagers.
    One moment they are lurking in quiet places, the next they are picking on their brothers. Then they are out of the nest.
    The two current teens (19 and 17) are both the silent types- but given some one on one time, they do- sometimes- open up the can of worms they have for brains.
    Oh, and they are TERRIFIC errand runners once they have their driver’s licenses. Sneak in the hugs when you can!

  6. Sleeping Mommy says:

    I actually look forward to the teen years. (knock on wood) I have always been able to relate more to teens and talk to them then I have the little ones.

  7. nancy says:

    um, this has nothing to do with your words, but I just have to say you have quite the lovely house. all of your photographs show off an incredible space

  8. Lilly says:

    In that photo you posted of the family watching the Super Bowl I noticed how adult he looked sitting behind you with those long legs! I’ve been following your blog for a couple of years and your eldest has grown so much in that time! I’ve got a son on the cusp, 11.5yrs old, and it’s been interesting to get a heads up of what’s in store by seeing your son making the leap from boy to teen.

  9. dcfullest says:

    I work with teenagers and know that the absolute best way to get them to talk is to do it in a way that doesn’t require eye contact. I have several parents that can get their children to open up far more over instant messanger– even when they are in the same room.
    Teens are odd. That’s why I think they are awesome.

  10. She Likes Purple says:

    He’s your oldest? This is such an incredible photo.

  11. Carolyn says:

    My oldest is 13 too. And I had always thought that he would break me in slowly to the fun world of teens. Uh…NO. But the past few months he has really mellowed out to the point where he is actually treating the rest of the family (including 3 younger sisters) as if we are human. Lord help me when the girls (esp my middle) hit their teens. That’s why God invented martinis right?

  12. Kristi says:

    Ha! I suppose it is good you realize that.

  13. nancy says:

    oh to have had a mother as understanding as you ……………………..

  14. LMT says:

    Great shot! Thanks for the glimpse into the future! I have three little boys ages 5 months, almost 4, and almost 5. I keep telling myself that they will be easier when they’re older…you know….perhaps they’ll stop flushing matchbox cars down the toilet…but maybe teenager-dom is just a different kind of hard!

  15. Nicole Gepson says:

    That’s a great tip,though, for how to actually have chats with a teenager. I’ll have to remember that when mine are older. I’m already nervous sometimes about that age.

  16. Scout's honor says:

    Ahh…What I have to look forward to. As it stands my almost 12 year old is clingy to me as he was when he was two. Slightly weird, definitely heart-warming.

  17. Scout's honor says:

    Ah…what I have to look forward to. As it stands, for now, my almost twelve year old son is as clingy and as tied to me as he was when he was 2 years old. Slightly strange, but definitely heart-warming.

  18. balconygal says:

    Wow, this photo says so much, about the boy and the gorgeous floors!!

  19. jen says:

    Oh, I am not ready to deal with teenage stage of life. Thank goodness I have 10 years yet before #1 is there. Good luck! :o)

  20. Cindy says:

    Boy, can I relate! I have a 14 yr old son & he treats me the same way.

  21. Fina says:

    I feel for you. I have one too. A girl. Just about 15. If I’m lucky she’ll speak to me while I painstakingly straighten her hair a couple times a week. I have to be careful though to not cross the line of “Mom, You’re So Annoying! Why do we have to talk?” I shuffle between wanting to cry that I’m losing her and wanting to beat the crap out of her.

  22. kalisah says:

    Man…ain’t it the truth.

  23. Lori says:

    Ah yes, the elusive reclusive teenager! I found thru the years that any one-on-one time in the car is productive as well.

    I survived 5 teens and am on my last 16 year old angst-filled days. You too will make it through to the other side!!

    Has he hit the “sitting in a darkened room writing bad poetry all day because his life sucks sooooo bad” stage yet?

  24. dynamitt says:

    I remember being like this myself. Keep having your nonchalantly chats, I know he do like it more then he express.

  25. Girlymom4 says:

    I am not looking forward to that age. It’s good that you understand him and work with him and his moods.

    I was in the dr office today and picked up the Parenting Magazine~ wouldcha know it, there you are. I knew you were blogging for them online, didn’t realize you were in the mag too! Way to go.

  26. Mary W says:

    I think that once we learn when is what time we’ll be good here.

    Is yours a mouth attached to a vast and bottomless pit that knows no end? I am his hero when I come home from the store with food.

  27. Law Student Hot Mama says:

    You could always use the tactic Roseanne used in her show . . . put on really REALLY embarassing clothes (I believe she wore denim shortalls with a huge sunflower hat), smear lipstick all over your teeth and face, and insist upon walking him to school if he gets too out of hand!

    Just kidding - I’m sure you’re doing better than you think you are. That’s usually the case - there’s generally a lot more eye-rolling going on than there is substantive hostility. I know I was a royal pain in the ass . . . don’t they say that you get back worse than you gave out? If that’s the case, I ought to start getting scared of my son now . . . (he’s 6 months old) in anticipation of his teenagehood . . .

  28. Beverly says:

    Teenagers confuse me.

    I’m glad I’m not the only one.

  29. Jenn A, says:

    Not a mom myself yet, but I teach HS English and this is perplexing…some days I cannot get them to be quiet! But I have noticed that they are much more honest (with each other) when they do not think I am listening.
    By the way, I was thinking the same thing about your house-it is so beautiful. I have 10x more clutter than you and I do not have any children…how do you do that?
    :) Jenn

  30. Norma says:

    I don’t have kids (but I LOVE my nieces and nephews!) so all I can say is: your house is awesomely clean!

  31. Jamie AZ says:

    Taking notes for when mine, currently 4 and 6 1/2, are older! Great photo, too!

  32. Nikki says:

    My oldest son Brandon will be 14 in just over a month and there are occasional days where it feels like we can’t even breathe the same air, let alone speak the same language. I’ve been warned that it’ll probably get worse at some point but for now, I think he’s a pretty cool character. If the worst I get from him is a little lip now and again, I’m thinking I’m a pretty lucky gal!
    Now, my two younger boys aren’t far behind (11 and 10) and I’ll bet a month of sundaes (heh) that at least one of THEM will make me gray. I think I lucked out on the first round!
    Anyway, great picture. Watching them grow up so quickly is a bittersweet thing, isn’t it?

  33. Randall says:

    This is the first time I’ve been to your site. I have worked about 70 hours this week at work so it is Friday night and I’m online with a big bowl of “I’ve worked really hard so I deserve olive oil and cheese” pasta and a cat that likes to sit on my keyboard. I just love all of your pictures and clicking back the charade pictures made me laugh out loud. Thanks for a giggle cap on a loooong week. I can see the joy in your home.

  34. Lizzy in the burbs says:

    I have two boys, my oldest is 17 and my “baby” is 12. My 17 yr. old has always been on the quiet side, which makes the teen years really hard. Not sure if he’s moody or just being himself. Sometimes I feel like I am literally pulling information out from the depths of his soul, he is so unwilling to release things. I think what you said is true, if I’m very casual about it, he’s much more open. If he feels like I’m grilling him, he clams right up. My 12 yr. old, on the other hand, is a wealthspring of information and all too happy to report on all the goings on in his life quite gleefully! I hope that’s just his personality and that he’ll remain that way, but, he may become a sullen and tortured teen just like his brother. I guess time will tell!

  35. Busy Mom says:

    Wait, is he IM-ing my 13 year old daughter? That position looks very familiar…

  36. Emperorp says:

    I really enjoy reading your blog. I have nominated you for the You Make My Day Award. Thanks for your words that stimulate, inspire and bring both tears and laughter.

  37. Maddy says:

    My 12-year-old boy is the same, hard to chat with at times, uncomfortable around girls but still able to be goofy with his friends. A few spots on his chin and his voice is all over the place. It’s a beautiful age, the boy becoming a teen and a glimpse of the man to come. I’m sure the days will get harder but just for now I’m enjoying watching the changes.

  38. Shannon says:

    Beautiful picture. My oldest son is almost 11. The other day he asked me if I was going to wear the headband I had on to the library. So we have officially entered the “my -parents-embarrass-the-crap-out-of-me-phase”. This is the kid who will get on the bus without brushing his hair, lol.
    Good times.

  39. peepnroosmom says:

    Wow The teen years are hard. Right now my 13 year old will talk to me non stop. I should say talk at me. He never really has a conversation, but throws all his knowledge at me. The best time to chat with him about what is going on is when I pick him up from school in the afternoons. The baby is usually asleep and he is fresh from his friends and I get a little more insight. But he is just 13 and I still have a LONG way to go in the teenage years.

  40. Denise says:

    I really really like this picture, Chris.

    All of your pix of the kids are fantastic and I always sigh and get baby fever when you post those adorable pix of Miles but this one is something else.

    Really like it.

  41. Mayberry Magpie says:

    Chat? We don’t need no stinkin’ chat!!!!

    At least that’s what I imagine they think. But they occasionally need a listener, and the key is timing — being there just when they need it.

    Lovely post.

    Mayberry Magpie

  42. steph says:

    I remember being that teenager!! haha Anyways, what’s with the light? Is there suppose to be a table there or is it to stop anyone running through the house? (My grandparents had 13 kids and put a light that low in the middle of the one hallway to get the kids to stop running through there without smacking their heads on it. So mean but it worked).

    Chris says: It is the dining room and there should be a table under the light but we don’t have one yet. The light it high enough for me to walk underneath. My husband has walked into a few times though ;-)

  43. Karen says:

    I too have a 13 year old boy as my eldest (of 4). I really love this age on him! Elusive and moody at times, but amusingly quirky and fascinating at others. I am really dreading my girls reaching their teens however, as already at 9 and 3 they know how to push my buttons - seems we’re always locking horns on some issue or other. They can be so stubborn! I often wonder if it’s just me and a few untamed control issues flaring up, or if this is a common thing with mothers and daughters. Great photo once again Chris.

  44. Jenn says:

    Good lord… I just glimpsed my future. I would have no idea what to do with a teenager. If I can remember that far back, I don’t think I knew what to do with myself at that age.

    And yes, you have a beautiful house. All that hard work is paying off.

  45. lizinsumner says:

    Ah yes, I have one that age myself - he’s going on 14. And since I was a GIRL teenager, as opposed to a BOY teenager, I am sometimes at a total loss as well. So, if you come up with any great wisdoms in how to deal with one of these - PLEASE pass it on in your blog and let me know……I’m a single parent, and I could use all of the help that I can get!

  46. Cary says:

    NOOOOOO! Ok so when do they not let you kiss them? When do I have to stop squeezing his “cinnamon buns”? When do they come back to you? Mine is 3 years old, and I love him, I love him, I love him. Is that why you have 7 children Chris?

  47. kathy says:

    My 13yo is so non-chalant; so much like me that I’m not sure he even has hormones. :) Such an even keel. His 11yo brother, though and his 8yo sister MORE than make up for his lack of teenagerness. It is so funny when the 11yo calls the 13yo a “typical teenager” when it is the 11yo who is out of whack. Ah well. The 8yo has serious hormone issues. sigh.

  48. Bronnie says:

    lol. such an awesome photo!

  49. Laura says:

    (You know the Mark Twain quote? That the only thing to do with a 13-year-old is put them in a barrel with only a small hole through which to communicate? And at 16? You plug the hole…)

    My two oldest each had what I termed a “hell year”, where almost everything I said and did was met with ill-concealed impatience, or, worse, exaggerated patience. I spent so much time biting my tongue I’m astonished I don’t speak with a lisp.

    My oldest is now 22. She called me this afternoon, and we chattered and laughed like old friends. My middle child is 18, and, though he’s a typically minimal-communicator male, he’s also a genuinely nice, friendly young man (with me, too!) — who does any and all tasks I ask of him pretty much when I ask, and very, very rarely does he even hint at a complaint, and always gives me a hug when he heads out the door.

    My youngest is 14, and so far, still a delight. Will I be so lucky as to skip hell year with her? One can hope — but one is also realistic. Having been through it twice, though, I know there’s a light at the end of that hellish tunnel.

  50. jody says:

    I have one of those.

    When my computer became unusable, I snatched the 13yo’s and saw an e-mail he sent to a girl that said “Will you go out with me?”. I just about died a million deaths right there. There is a dance coming up, and I think it was in regards to that, but still……it has begun.

    Chris says: I know…bittersweet, huh?

  51. jessica says:

    I only have one son, he is 15. He enjoys talking to me, but on his terms. He usually winds up telling me everything that is going on in his life and yes he tells me everything. I do get shocked once in awhile, but I try to put myself in his shoes and wonder if it shocks him. I enjoy the days where he will plop down on the couch next to me and ask me how my day is going and then he just starts talking and doesnt stop. This makes up for the days that he is quiet and distant, until I ask him if he is mad at me for something then he usually softens up..

  52. Lorraine says:

    What great pics! Slinkies … I love ‘em and actually have 2 on my desk at work. Have you ever seen the slinkie quote? A little sick, but I love it! :)

    “Some People Are Like Slinkies… …they don’t really have a purpose, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs.”

  53. tonya says:

    Oh, the fun we have being the mom of teenagers! I have a 14yr boy and a 15yr girl. Some days, I don’t know if I am crazy or they are.