Teens are programmed to fly the coop
Your tricky teen is actually preparing for adulthood, says Marlon Abrahams.
(Jade Photography)
It’s been gnawing away at me for a while now. I’ve noticed it, experienced it, but pretended that it wasn’t happening. Then I started having flashbacks of me when I was 12. I was already in standard 6 (Grade 8)at the time, and the teen changes began kicking in big-time. I just wanted to hang out with my mates, didn’t want to be caught dead anywhere near my parents, and started having deep intellectual thinkathons with myself about the universe and life as we know it. I distinctly remember wondering what if earth was actually a stone in the stomach of some giant creature, you know like the stones ostriches ingest to aid digestion.

Kids start wanting independence

Okay I’ll get to the point. Hannah’s starting to show signs of moving into the teen mindset. No public hugging allowed. Goes straight into her room, is still happy to hang out with me, but less and less so. She prefers to have sleepovers with her best friend instead of spending quality time with papa. Ag, I’m not actually complaining- I think that this is the way it should be. Kids should want to get away from us and forge their own place in the world, and it’s good that the process gets going around this age. Stephen Biddulph, renowned author of Raising Sons, says that when they hit their teens, the frontal cortex turns to mush (just like when they’re two years old) and they redefine their place in the world. During this time, he says, you could find your teen having a deep conversation with a street sign.

In a few short years...

Maddi is still very clingy, what with her only being 6, so it’s interesting hanging out with both of them together, one wants to latch on to you and remain affixed like a leach, while the other is doing a desperate impression of the invisible man.

I really want them to move on and become independent adults, unlike the millions of individuals world-wide who due to various circumstances remain in their parents’ home well into their 30’s. In some countries, like Italy, the mamma’s boys and girls only leave once they get married and that can sometimes take forever.

I left home immediately after matric, I felt a strong urge to fly the coop and do my own thing, and I have never once returned to my parental home, where my room was always waiting. I’d like to think that I would have equipped my kids with the same capabilities so that as soon as their wings were strong enough they too can fly away and never come back. However, I’d also like to think that they would know exactly where to come for the best advice on how to overcome the countless challenges that lay in wait for them.

The amazing, crazy journey of the teen years has begun for me, experimentation, peer pressure and all kinds of scenarios await. I’ve always believed that the blueprint years (0-7) sets the tone for the nature of the adult, I’m dying to see if the blueprints I’ve installed in Hannah will prove me right.

Read more by Marlon Abrahams

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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