Expat Dad: Dealing with Daunting

When you have been a parent for several years, it’s nice to see your friends become ‘new parents’.

Just like going back to your old school or university after you have left, you can smugly walk around the place, free of the burdens of academic expectation and bookish pressures. As you see the smear of worry across the other souls who are still trapped within, you have the perspective of having been there and done it.

So the same applies – from your new, outside perspective, you can now observe the absolute rate of change and difference in your friend.

Instead of their usual, silly comments about a funny signpost or a Menu mis-print they might have seen that day, they are instead commenting on astral and galactic-sized issues of philosophical and psychological that they have been instantly faced with.

Getting their newborn baby to drink milk and poo it out are now conundrums that intensify their day and disturb their sleep.

Meanwhile, having done this but several years ago, we can simply sit back and enjoy their agony.

We, the parent who still has so many ridiculous things on their mind to worry about – but we feel some strain of success at having successfully gotten our newborn baby to drink milk and poo it out. Not that we really did much to achieve this – that’s more God’s trophy – but in any case we must have done something right. For there sure was a lot of poo.

Not that the worry ends.

I read a new-site ‘article’ about a mother worrying about her son being a teenager.

This is a common theme and one that still needs correcting.

The problem is that parents will often bemoan the behaviour of their teenage son. ‘He’s grumpy’. ‘He doesn’t talk to us’.

Now, either they have raised a person who literally has mental or psychological problems, or: there are reasons for this.

Now, stupid people will say “I don’t care what the reasons are – no, oh no, he cannot act like this and that’s that”.

So – do you decide how all people must act then? Are you God? Who ordained you with these powers to make decisions about how people must act?

So if you are not God and no one has ordained you with the power to decide how other people must act: then if you care about the issue, the reasons must be addressed.

Teenage boys (let’s deal with teenage girls’ issues another time) issues are that they have expectations suddenly foisted upon them at age 12 or 13.

While their mother declares dis-satisfaction with her ‘sweet boys change’ and distancing away from her – she must realise that her own expectations need to be kept within the realms of reality.

Does she want her son to be turned gay in childhood? If not, then she must stay away from over-mothering. What does she expect? That a teenage son will still have the maturity and presence of mind to maintain strict dedication to his mother?

And that, importantly, he can do this while dealing with other expectations?

His father expects him to quickly become manly, grow facial hair, tolerate his beer, win sports, do girls and probably go sailing.

His friends – who all secretly and quietly also do not know what the fuck is happening to them and around them – keep a faux-casual air of coolness and teenage ‘fitting in’, while they also expect all of their peers to know about sex, know about rude things, have fights or be in the sports team, successfully experiment with intoxication and more — all of the things that they pretend to be experts about, yet in reality are trying to simply understand in their stupid, pre/mid-pubescent brains.

So – what is the expectation of parents?

That their son will go from the expectation of being 10; smiling, having clean hair, still owning miniature trucks, not smelling, into the expectations explained above of a young teenage boy —— and be able to cope with this?

Obviously this is impossible!

So that he mopes around the house and reduces communication with people who seem to have no way of understanding this … it is just something that you have to deal with, if you are a parent that finds yourself in this situation.

How can a parent deal with this?

The question really is – is there a way to deal with this, as a parent?

I don’t know.

I’m just one man, I have no onus of knowing such things. No parent does.

Yet, what possible ways may there be:

– Expect it and realise that it is not the end of the world.

As parents, we should always keep in mind the broad perspective of things that our children could do. If they have not commandeered dictatorship of an evil regime and are not causing pain to hundreds of thousands of people – that is somethin to be thankful for. Remember that ‘it could always be worse’. Having a child who is doing something normal: going through teenage years – could be a lot worse.

– Realise that your child’s age is not frozen

Your children need to grow. From their very early age, you must try to take into account the different experiences that you will have as a parent, and try, try to enjoy each stage for what it is — in the context of your own life also. Obviously your child will grow apart from you as he or she grows up. Unless you want to raise a freak who still lives with his parents for all his life and doesn’t want to have any friends ‘but mummy’, then they need to be their own person!

– You will be given the gift of your own time

As your children grow up and leave home, to university etc. and their own place, remember all of the things that you thought about doing, the places that you thought about going to but couldn’t.

– Wait for Grandkids

There will inevitably be new small ones on the way, so if you can’t deal with any of this, you can soon cling the Grandkids close to your bosom and hope that they never grow up too. It works for an entire nation. So I’m told.



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Categories: Expat Life


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