Grant me Serenity (and a son with clean teeth)!

March 21, 2018

Grant me Serenity

(and a son with clean teeth)!


OK, as parents, you’ll understand when I say that I love my teenage son with all my heart, but …! While I understand this frustration is mine, and I should have the age and experience to rise above the egocentric and defiant behaviour produced by his incomplete brain, I am still often  reduced to nothing more than a screaming banshee.

I wish I could live by the mantra of Alcoholics Anonymous—whose conception must have been heavily influenced by an exasperated parent of a teen—‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference’, but alas, I struggle!

In reaching the teen years, we have come full circle. My son outgrew the constant barrage of ‘why’, the tantrums, the demands and illogical reasoning of a toddler only to ‘regrow’ into them as an adolescent—particularly when he is asked to do something.

It starts with the ‘why’; a point of frustration, but something I willingly answer as I have done all his life. ‘Because if you don’t clean your teeth,’ I say for example, ‘the plaque that is so thick around your teeth I can hardly tell you have braces, will result in my next dentist bill being for a false teeth fitting’. This may, at best, be acknowledged by a groan or grunt (on a good day), but little teeth cleaning action occurs.

Following enough threats, he commences the long trip to the bathroom, a journey that is somewhat analogous to climbing the peak of Mt Everest. Slowly, he unwinds and stretches his long 6’2” body as though awaking from a six-month hibernation. After some more  'encouragement’ from a mother on a rapidly shortening fuse, he slowly slides off the lounge. Apparently, the effort to simply get up and walk is far too draining!

Rising eventually to his feet, he can’t resist waving the red flag at the bull one more time as he adopts a slow shuffle. By now, I have been attempting to get ‘action’ for well over half an hour (clearly no wisdom here - where is the learning!). As he moves away, I breathe a sigh of relief. A success for today I think!

Feelings of achievement though are squashed two hours later. As he breezes past me, I catch a glimpse of the same unbrushed teeth! With a complete lack of serenity, I fly into a rage, and my son, knowing his life is now at stake, quickly retreats upstairs.

Unfortunately at this point, the chances of teeth brushing are still remote, and with wisdom, I would realise this. But as much as I know not to, there’s no doubt I will return another day to battle again over other similarly ‘annoying’ instances of my son’s teenage existence.

Names withheld to protect the plaque-ridden teen and his unenlightened mother!

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