The French exchange: Loud ‘n’ Proud

My teenage son is many things. But he is rarely caring or responsible.

He’s not a bad kid by any means, but he’s a typical teenage boy – a bit grumpy, uncommunicative, sleeps at the wrong times, nicks far too many biscuits out of the cupboards and is on a one-boy mission to make his brother and sister’s lives a misery.

Like pretty much all teenage boys the world over.

Every morning at 7.15, I make my first attempt at getting him up. When he started secondary school, nearly three years ago now, he used to get up at 7.15. By the end of year 7, it had slipped to 7.25. By year 9, it was 7.40. For an 8.05 departure. I basically pace the landing endlessly from 7.15 to 7.40 in an increasingly desperate attempt to get both boys out of bed.

How would this work with an additional teenage boy in the house?

We agreed before my son went to bed that I would get him and the French boy up at 7.20. But I envisaged my usual battle.

He got out of bed immediately.

I offered to wake the French boy.

No. He would do it himself.

After a week together already, they’d already got a strong bond, which meant that my role in parenting the French boy was pretty much restricted to making his packed lunch.

My son woke up the French boy. Not just one day, but every day. My son got out of bed immediately he was called and went to wake his friend.

When they came to the kitchen, I again found myself redundant, as my son showed the French boy the selection of cereals, then GOT A BOWL OUT AND POURED THE CEREAL AND MILK IN.

I was gobsmacked. He does it for himself, but hell would freeze over before he did it for anyone else.

Over the course of the week, I saw a whole new caring and responsible side to my son. A side I really liked. He completely took it upon himself to care for the French boy – to offer him food and drinks – something he would never usually do, even do for his own friends.

The French exchange is all about independence, new experiences and new skills, but I never would have guessed it would turn my son into a good host. I don’t know whether it would have happened with any French boy or just with this boy, with whom he seems to have a close bond. All I know is, it’s worked its magic on my son.

I’d love it if this new, improved version of my son was a permanent thing. But even if it isn’t, I’m very proud of the way my son rose to the occasion and took it upon himself to care for the French boy.

Are you feeling Loud ‘n’ Proud of any achievements, big or small, this week? Add your posts to the linky below and don’t forget to check out some of the others. Next week, Loud ‘n’ Proud will be hosted by Mama Owl.

Mum of Three World



Author: Sarah Mummy

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20 Comments

  1. So lovely when they show such maturity, it is tough when they are teens but lovely when they show those little signs of growing up. It brings a tear to my eye. Lovely post x

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    • Thanks very much! You’re so right. I was really proud of him, was lovely to see the change in him. x

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    • Thanks very much! I really was very proud. Just proves he can be good when he tries! x

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    • Thanks very much! Just what I thought 🙂

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  2. Sounds like he was a star host. Always good when they take things on for themselves without being hassled to do it.

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    • Thanks very much! He certainly was. Was really good to see the change in him.

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  3. Sounds like the exchange student definitely had a positive effect on him – hope it lasts a little once he leaves but even if not it must have been nice to see 🙂 xx

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    • Thanks very much, was really good to see and to know he can be grown up and well-behaved if he tries! x

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  4. Ahh that sounds pretty lovely. Sounds like he’s made a pretty good friend there. Maybe he’s come through the other end of teenage grumpiness?

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    • Thanks very much. They seemed to be very good friends, which was lovely to say. The end of teenage grumpiness would be brilliant!

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  5. Aw how lovely that he clearly felt a sense of responsibility for his friend. Its lovely when our children demonstrate how well we have brought them up xx

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    • Thank you! I really like that way of looking at it – he was being good because he’s been well brought up 🙂

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  6. That’s pretty cool. I never did the French exchange. I didn’t want to. I dread my girls doing it because a) I’d worry SO much when they are in France and b) I don’t like being responsible for other people’s children. Sounds like you’ve had to do very little though – I wonder if it’s the same with girls? x

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    • Thanks very much. From what I saw (ie a lot of tears when they went home!), the girls obviously all got on very well with each other too. I did lots of French exchanges when I was a kid – I loved it. It’s not easy being responsible for someone else’s child, but that’s far outweighed by all the positives that come out of it.

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  7. Well done him! They are difficult at that ‘mid teen’ age, but he’s shown the man he will become xx
    (I added a link, but it’s not showing up)

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    • Thanks very much! It’s reassuring to see how well he did and to know that we’ve had a glimpse of a more grown up son! x

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  8. Well done on him for looking after his friend and taking responsibility (something teen boys find hard to do for some reason). I love that feeling of being proud when they do something you don’t really expect and you see glimpses of the young men they are turning into xx

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    • Thanks very much, it was a really pleasant surprise! I always knew there was a kind and thoughtful boy in there somewhere, but he sometimes stays quite well hidden! x

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