The Parenting Marathon

My son is bilingual. Actually, he has become so proficient in his new language that he rarely lapses back into his mother tongue. He picked up his second language with little or no formal instruction (#gifted) … via teenage osmosis I think.

You may have heard of it … it’s called Gruntlish. A complex tonal dialect; gruntlish is characterised by a series of grunts that require an intimate understanding of the pitch, inflection and sequence in order to be deciphered. When speaking gruntlish, you should avoid eye contact at all costs, show no emotion and ideally be walking rapidly in the opposite direction from the person you are conversing with. I have managed to pick up the fundamentals of gruntlish, but without being fluent, some of the subtle nuances escape me, causing extreme frustration for my son.

His newfound bilingual ability has also coincided with a few other (not so subtle) attitudinal shifts. Parenting him now resembles walking a very large, hairy and feisty dog that continually pulls against the leash. It’s exhausting and I frequently feel as though I’ve dislocated my giveashit joint. There seems to be an inverse relationship between his respect for my authority and his rapid growth, exacerbated by the fact that the currency that I once used to discipline him no longer holds the same significance. In fact, I often find myself struggling to find any currency that he truly values enough to act as a deterrent, or more importantly doesn’t come back to bite me in the butt. If I confiscate his phone, then how do I monitor his every move via my stalkers’r’us ap? I have absolutely no clue what Bitcoin actually is …. But I’m thinking there’s a gap in the market for Bitkid; a big kids disciplinary currency traded worldwide amongst parents.

To be fair, I have to accept responsibility for some of his behavioural shortcomings. If consistent messages are the key to good parenting then my bipolar parenting style could explain a few things.

Me : (after 3rd trip to sons room during exam period to find him watching You-tube videos, daydreaming, dissecting an eraser etc) … “@$%! What’s wrong with you? Do you want to fail?” (cue eye roll) … “I give up … fail for all I care … see how that feels”

20 minutes later …. Go back to room to find him constructing slingshots out of a hole punch and rubber bands) … “@$%&!! Are you kidding me? …. You’re still not studying?”

Son : “But you said you didn’t care?” …

Me : Lost for words so resort to slamming doors and swearing under my breath #nailedit

No wonder the poor kid is confused. Who knew this parenting gig would be so damn complicated. I don’t recall reading that on the sales brochure. Oh for the days when we spoke the same language and the threat of the naughty corner saw him quivering with fear. I know I’m on the home stretch of the parenting marathon … but I can feel a stitch coming on and I suspect I might be on all fours by the finish line.

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