Friday 10 June 2016

My Own Angry Young Man

Little Man was long the middle child in my home, until the youngest two babies came along after quite a gap. Sandwiched between a confident and opinionated big sister and a charming and noisy younger brother, he displays some of the characteristics of the middle child: empathetic towards others, good at negotiation, humble and sometimes a little shy. 

Of all my kids he is the one that is quick to help me and loves to please people. Recently though I have seen some changes in him. More than a few times he has gotten really angry and walked off mid-conversation. A few things seem to have gotten broken. 

I now have a spindle in the banister which has been snapped and has left a space in the perfectly good, strong hand rail we have had for the last thirteen years. The children reliably inform me it snapped and fell out itself while they were downstairs. I have a set of mortar and pestle bowls, one for mashing things and one for grinding. Little Man got annoyed with me and worked the grinding stone too hard in the bowl and broke it. Recently I found one of the wooden spoons my mum gave me and that I use for cooking everything, cracked in half across the top.

I love how easy it is to catch my kids out. Little Lady rarely lies and squirms like crazy. Gorgeous cannot look me in the eye when he is trying to hide something, so I simply have to look him in the eye and ask him the question: “Did you break it?/do it?/throw your food in the bin?” Now that he knows I can tell and that he will get away with what he did if owns up, he will happily tell me what he did. So by default, I can catch Little Man out every time he does something, no matter how careful or smart he is.

I can’t bring myself to get angry with my kids for damaging things, so I have been watching this slightly Jekyll and Hyde-ish behaviour with bemusement. Then it dawned on me: the sudden anger, the taking slight over little things and running off in a huff – we are approaching signs of our second expedition into teenager-land. I was terrified that my bossy, strong Little Lady would be an impossible teenager, but at 13 she seems to have gone through teenage and emerged as a fairly reasonable mini adult (although her occasional moody-face gives her away).

In contrast my mild-mannered kind son is showing signs of turning into a mini Hulk as he approaches teenage. I am trying to learn how to manage our interactions so that I don’t provoke him. At the same time I am being very clear that I deserve to be spoken to in a respectful way. I get the feeling that this will be a long learning curve for us. He can still be quit curt, I still manage to put my foot in it and say the wrong thing or get annoyed at him and tell him to watch how is speaking to me. Or I will pull him up on something he says and he will back-track and say it was not aimed at me but at someone else. He will go off in one direction, I might yell after him or feel guilty.

I am going to hold an image of him in my mind. When I was on maternity leave expecting Gorgeous, Little Man was two years old. We spent a few weeks at home together with just the two of us while Little Lady was at nursery. He had a very cheeky smile and he loved climbing up everything. He would always hover nearby me and whenever I turned my full attention on him, he would suddenly get very shy and stop making eye contact. Every now and again, when he gets praise, I still see this. 

Then there are the good things I see every day, every time I come home with my shopping, he takes the bags from my hands at the door and takes them into the kitchen. When we are out and Darling gets tired of walking, he will carry her all the way home on his shoulders. He will always offer to help me with housework when I need it and unlike Gorgeous or Little Lady never seems embarrassed of his mum.

I will keep all of his best attributes at the fore of my mind and when he gets angry or makes me angry, I will draw on those memories and positive attributes to remind myself he is still the same lovely boy and that the changes in him are part of his struggle in transitioning through teenage from a cheeky little kid to insh’Allah a kind, good young man.


  1. ive been following your blog for quite sometime, and this post has stood out for a number of reasons. This topic is so close to my heart and I'm sure many mothers. Some kids grow up easy, some test all our limits but the essence is exactly what you mentioned. You need to hold on the memories, of who they were, of how much you loved them, of how much they mean to you and that way it becomes easier to accept what they are becoming and love them just as much. Kids have so many stages and you need to keep love as your centre point in your relationship with them at all times, even testing ones.
    May this little boy grow up to be a very fine young man who will be able to remain kind when faced with others' shortcoming because he was raised like that.. Love to you and yours. And JazakAllah for writing such beautiful posts xx

  2. This post made me cry esp when u talked abt when he was a baby. Omg they grow up so fast and I didnt knw the teenage years were so tough for boys. May ALLAH s.w.t make it easy for all of u. IA!

    Enjoy him being young, he'll grow up so fast