Thursday, March 15, 2007

Monkey In The Middle

I hate being pushed into the middle of conflict. I'm not good at conflict generally; I prefer to have a happy, peaceful existence full of butterflies and sunny days. However, conflict comes to all of us. Sometimes it's directly between me and one other person, and I deal with it as the situation warrants.

Other times, I get yanked in to a conflict that has nothing to do with me and I end up playing referee, peacekeeper, bad cop.

Those times suck. Unfortunately, I'm having one of those times now.

Sweetheart and Son are wrestling through the inevitable male post-pissing contest. Son is hitting puberty, and is challenging Sweetheart's authority in a big way. They are in a deadlock at the moment that is spiralling downward, and guess who's getting sucked in?

And of course, nothing I can say, nothing I suggest is met with any grace or appreciation. Just "You're not supporting me".

Well excuse me for not always agreeing 100%. Frankly, it's just plain common sense that if your current approach to parental authority is not working, you change your approach. You realize that the intellect of a 12 year old is still pretty black and white, you stop expecting them to rationalize like an adult and you bring the hammer down. Hard.

My issue here is that I agree with Sweetheart and think that Son is being too disrespectful. But I feel like if I take up the charge, that Son will see me once again sticking up for Sweetheart and that this will--in his pubescent mind-- make Sweetheart look weak. And Son will continue to challenge him and disrespect him, and the cycle will just start all over. But on the other hand I can't just say nothing either. It's a narrow beam I have to walk, and I'm not looking forward to it at all.


Ellen said...

I'm struggling with a very similar thing with my son right now. I don't know if there's any right answer but to follow our instincts. Good luck!

Honey said...

Too bad we can't solve problems like these with a trip to Disneyworld like the commercials suggest. Life's not just a big bowl of ice cream, is it? :( Hang in there - it'll even out eventually. :)

And happy belated birthday!

spyscribbler said...

Ugh! Teenagers. They sure are a challenge. I don't envy your position!

Robyn said...

Is it just life in general or are there specific sticking points, i.e., cleaning his room, doing homework, etc.?

With my son, I find telling him EXACTLY what will get him into trouble puts the onus on him, not me, whether it is action or attitude. I've told him and my daughter that they are allowed ONE argument when we've said no. After they state their case, we'll think about it. After that, if we still say no, TOO BAD AND GET OVER IT.

If this is "our rules" and not just Sweetheart's-telling-me-what-to-do, maybe he'll be better with the boundaries. But he still may make your life hell in the meantime because he's a teenager that is not. getting. his. way.

StarvingWriteNow said...

Thanks guys! I really appreciate your input.