I find myself these days getting overly upset about the relationship with my teenage son or lack thereof should I say. I mean I knew it would change as he got older so that is not the issue. I did not even once think it would mean that he would not really want to have any kind of relationship with me at all and spend zero amount of time with me. Why do teens think family no longer matters?
I raised my son from before the age of 3 until age 12 as a single full time mom. Dad was in the picture with his regular visitations but when we separated and later divorced I was his full time parent. I took him to his sports games and practices. I was there at the school for every award ceremony and play. We went to eat together and watched television and movies together. We did a lot together. Even once he got a bit older in those preteen years where he was so busy with friends we still had the night time. When it was time to come in at night and wind down for the night that was our time. We had a whole mess of television shows we liked to watch together. We would sit next to each other on the couch watching them and talking about them. He would sometimes hug me or lay in my lap when he was tired. It was just the little things and small chunks of time but I enjoyed it and he always seemed to enjoy them as well. Even up until last year at the age of 16 we still had one show we watched together on a regular basis. Sometimes we would watch others but we always watched that one and in fact he would get rather upset if I watched it without him. One day he went into a rant of how watching television was stupid and he was too old to be watching television with his mom. He was “16” he would say and now he is “17” he says as though I don’t know his age even though I gave birth to him.
I have always known that things would change as he got older. That alone is no shock to me. It is the basic nonexistence of a relationship that I cannot seem to grasp. He still hugs me and tells me he loves me when we are not fussing back and forth but any dedicated time for just he and I does not exist. Even talking to him is a task in itself. He doesn’t want me to speak to him with friends around and they are almost always around. He does not like me texting too much and he certainly has made it all too clear he does not want to watch television with me. I have even asked him to go to dinner or a movie as our family empowerment counselor has suggested but I get an “I don’t know” or “I am busy”. Besides all of this what is so wrong with just sitting together and watching television together for 30 minutes. I think the whole point of this is that family should still be important and we should make time for each other no matter what age we are. I hope when he is 30 he will not have dinner with me because he is too old. I cannot make sense of it all and as a mom who has always had her son at the center of her world to have a basically nonexistent relationship with him is devastating. I feel like he is ashamed of me or just cannot be bothered with me. I gave birth to him and brought him into this world and have always tried to do everything I can for him but he cannot find it in his schedule to give me 30 minutes or more a week. It is unfortunately very hurtful to me. Why must age mean we don’t do anything with our parents or family anymore? Isn’t family always family?
I struggle daily to deal with this and hope for a balance here somewhere between his teenage growing pains and making family time important. I continue to try even though some days it all seems pointless. As long as I know I try to have a better relationship or a relationship at all with my son I can look back and know that I tried. Family is important and I think this day and age it seems our kids try to grow up way too fast in this ever changing fast paced world.
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