Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Teenagers can suck the life blood out of parents

Most of the time, I like my kids. They're good kids. They're polite and well mannered, they are humorous and smart, they're fun to be around. Except when they're not. Right now, the Girl is a total pleasure to be around about 95% of the time, and that extra 5% is tolerable if not a bit annoying. Her brother has different stats. He's a total pleasure to be around maybe 2% of the time. The rest of the time he's a manipulative, annoying, whining 5'9" toddler. His behavior is more like the terrible twos than when he was IN the terrible twos. In fact, he was quite a delightful two year old. But he is not a delightful teenager and I'm exhausted and upset with him way too much right now.

This is a typical exchange from this morning. Boy, on phone with E, comes over to me and asks:

B: Mom, can I sleep over E (a girl)'s house?
M: NO! Absolutely not.
B: But WHY?
M: Because it's inappropriate.
B: But WHY?
M: Because teenage boys do not sleep over teenage girl's houses
B: You're being a stupid bitch...(muttered)
M: WHAT? Did you say something?
B: WHY can't I stay ever E's house?
M: Because it's inappropriate. I already said that.
B: But WHY? I'll sleep in the basement.
M: NO. The answer is no.
B: But WHY? You haven't given me an answer. WHY can't I sleep over?

Goes back to phone and mutters that I am so mean and I said no. But does he drop it? He does not. He comes back to it, and no matter how many times I disengage with a "go away" or "the discussion is over", he keeps whinging. Because he honestly believes that if he nags me enough I'll give in and let him have his way.

But I don't give in. I just don't. He never gets that. He's driving me insane with the density of his thinking. He is hormonally poisoned. I'm so exhausted by his consist ant need to 'discuss' every facet of life to death.

I was talking to an old friend today, who has a son that might be my son's mirror twin, behaviorally. They've been friends, great friends, for years. Intellectually, they're on par. Behaviorally, they're on par. My friend is as worn down as I am. It makes me want to cry for her, because I know intimately how painful it is to have a kid with so much potential behave like such a jerk.

When you have a profoundly gifted kid, the expectations are that your child will be successful in every endeavor. People assume, mostly incorrectly, that your PG kid will enter the best college at a young age, sail through, and become some famous scientist or artist. That rarely happens with PG kids. They're so outside the realm of "normal thinking" that they just don't seem to understand that consequences apply to them. It's not the way they're parented. My friend and I talk about this often. They have rules, they have expectations, they have boundaries. It is just that PG kids don't understand enough about the social graces to get that boundaries and rules apply to them. Oh, they get that they apply to other people, but they're SO special, which has been reinforced forever by teachers and therapists and every freaking adult that meets them, that they believe themselves above the normal behavioral standards. They think so much differently than we do, even those of us that are also gifted, but not profoundly, that manipulation is a way of life. It's a game for them to see how much they can get away with, how much they can get people to bend to their will, how much they can manipulate the system.

It freaking sucks for their families. Both of our kids have the same behaviors. They have always had them. We grew to be friends over our sons. We've remained friends because we're almost like each other's life rafts. She GETS what I'm going through. I get what she's going through. When she emailed me last night and alluded to new problems, I mailed her back and told her what was going on here. Same exact thing. SAME FREAKISH BEHAVIOR. The boys are 1000 miles apart and have no contact anymore.

So what is this about? I talked to the Boy's therapist today, hiding in the bathroom so he wouldn't overhear me, about this very situation. I want to have a meeting between the school, the therapists, and other interested parties to ensure that this upcoming year in school, the Boy is held responsible for his lack of output. So far, that has never been the case. Excuse after excuse has been made for his laziness. I'm tired of it. I want him to have a real consequence, and if that means repeating his junior year, so be it. He needs to get a freaking clue.

I don't wish this level of giftedness upon anyone's family. It is so painful to watch your kid struggle. It is hard to watch your kid being confused by what most people take for granted. These aren't happy kids. They are kids that are having much to much trouble adjusting to adulthood. Personal responsibility is beyond them. They do not get it. They're not being purposely obtuse. They don't get it.

It's good to know that it isn't just my kid. This is the struggle that PG kids fight all over the world. It is a curse to be that smart. A seriously horrible curse.

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Blogger Poppy Buxom said...

OK, I have two Aspies on my hands, both very bright. The hormones haven't hit yet, because they're 12 and 10, so I don't feel qualified to hand out advice. But I do know that I have to s-p-e-l-l e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g o-u-t to a degree that ordinary people would find extraordinary. I think telling your son that something is "inappropriate" isn't really explaining why you won't let him do something. I think you should explain why it's inappropriate and include all the data about the lack of impulse control enjoyed by the average male until he reaches the age of say, 31. I'm sure this will turn into more of an argument, with him accusing you of not trusting him. But I think it would be helpful for you to use this discussion to teach him about social norms as well as responsibility.

23/7/07 10:35 AM  

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