The Tigerboy grows up

The young man of the household is seventeen now. I’ve never been a terribly conventional parent – I don’t order him about, I don’t shout at him unless there’s a genuine emergency and I’ve always taken his opinion seriously. We’ve had a fairly gentle time of it through his teens – despite him doing that while I’ve been sauntering towards the menopause. He doesn’t need to fight me because he knows he’s respected, and that, I think, has made a lot of odds.

This year particularly has raised a lot of questions for me about when one stops parenting (if ever) and what it means to parent someone who is an adult. I’ve looked around with interest at the parents of friends, especially. The parenting of adults in my own family is not something I can usefully refer to – on one side, a lot of silence, on the other, a lot of arguing, and neither giving me models I can work with. I’m asking a lot of questions about where to stand, when to step in, how much advice to give and when to step back and let him get on with it.

I can look at my own history as a teen and twenty something and see a number of times when I wish, with hindsight, that someone had stepped in. Inevitably there was a lot I didn’t know. I could have done with a wise elder to teach me about boundaries and self respect. I could have done with some solid relationship advice. So I’m doing the sorts of things I think I would have found useful and we will at least get to make new and different mistakes.

I’m also at a point of feeling like thus far, I’ve parented pretty damn well. I say this because the young man – formerly Tigerboy but now evidently evolving into something else, is a pretty awesome human. He’s kind and considerate, he looks out for people, he gets in and helps when help is needed and he does so cheerfully. If things are tricky, he negotiates. If he’s upset, he doesn’t slam around or yell at anyone and we work things through. I could wish he had a better sense of how unusual and splendid he really is, but in terms of shortcomings, this is one we can live with. He could be tidier, but I honestly can’t find it in me to care about that most of the time.

Parenting has been an often terrifying adventure, but we both seem to have come through it reasonably unscathed. That’s something I am proud of.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

5 responses to “The Tigerboy grows up

  • Eliza Ayres

    Reblogged this on Blue Dragon Journal and commented:
    To even have a teenager reach maturity and still be a kind and reasonable person is a great accomplishment for both you and him. Congratulations.

  • potiapitchford

    With my lad turning eighteen later this month this resonates strongly. My experience is that with mutual trust and respect most things can be muddled through. I try and remember to ask before supporting in ways I might previously have done and he understands that I can’t help doing the worried mum thing sometimes. Your young tiger sounds like a wonderful young man, I have thought so before when hearing snippets about him.

  • Michael

    What a lovely and refreshing post! I rarely hear/see parenting successes in the virtual world, especially about teens. It’s so great and nice to read about. I’m not a parent, and don’t know if I ever will be, but it still warms my heart.

  • Readerbythesea

    My eldest is 42 and youngest 35 😱 you will always worry for them, even when there’s no need, I now find I also worry for my grandchildren! I suppose it only ends when they take on the role of parent and you of child🤔 hopefully a long way in the future yet!

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