Forgetful tweens

I’ve heard it said that the reason teenagers rebel against their parents is that it is nature’s way of teaching them to be independent. They have to learn to do things for themselves as adults, so they kick out against authority and go their own way – even if it is the wrong way and even if it is putting themselves or others at risk.

Now my son isn’t quite a teenager yet. He’s 12 1/2, but, being one of the youngest in his school year, most of his friends are already teenagers. He’s in year 8. Let’s be honest, he’s pretty much a teenager.

He’s being doing a fair amount of the kicking out and rebelling recently. Just low-level stuff. Mainly sneering at his brother and sister, arguing with them and doing things deliberately to upset or annoy them. This is not behaviour I take very kindly to. It seems so pointless. He behaves badly, he upsets his brother and sister, he gets told off, he gets upset himself… This is something which is happening pretty much every day right now. I tell myself it’s just his age, he’s just testing us… But it’s not really fair that his brother and sister have to suffer for ‘his age’ too.

But, here’s a question… If he (and teens and tweens the world over) wants to be so independent, why is he so damn forgetful?

As I was leaving for school with the younger two the other morning, I got a phone call from a strange number.

‘I’ve forgotten my violin, can you bring it for me?’


Like a mug, I said yes.

Then after I’d said yes, I wondered why I’d done that. Shouldn’t I have said no to teach him a lesson?

We agreed a time and I arrived on the dot. We HADN’T agreed a meeting place, but I’d assumed where it would be. The same place I’ve met him on previous occasions when he’s forgotten something. I waited. And I waited. And I waited some more. It was very cold and I didn’t have my gloves. And he didn’t turn up.

I tried phoning him, but his phone just rang out. As I knew it would, because he’d called me from a strange number in the first place. His phone was no doubt lying on his bedroom floor. At least it was charged this time, which is noteworthy in itself.

So after 20 minutes, I got back in the car and drove home.

And if you’re wondering what had happened… Apparently the time of his lesson was changed. And he was able to borrow a violin. At no point did he consider calling to let me know I didn’t need to take his violin to him. Nor did he consider it necessary to apologise to me for the time wasted, the miles driven and the cold endured for nothing.

Now I’m wondering at one point will I see the useful side of this teenage independence? Or will it be winding his brother and sister up and forgetting stuff right into adulthood?

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Well you know my response to this – I would have been livid! I smiled when you said that he called from a strange phone number….my Tween (in year 7) does this ALL the time, she never has her phone charged! This kind of useless waiting around for nothing is the exact reasons why I always refuse to bail them out. Did you react?

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  2. So glad you read this one, Suzanne! I just knew you would get it. I tried to react, but it was like water off a duck’s back. He literally didn’t see that he’d done anything wrong! But I won’t be doing it again in future. He can sort out his own messes (as it appears he did on this occasion anyway!).

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  3. Every sympathy, we are at the same life stage! I have one teen who is very organised, one fairly organised and 3 just as you describe. Actually make that 4 as my daughter is pretty forgetful too! I often make them go without when they forget things, e.g packing their own stuff for sleepovers, but often go in with forgotten school items or you end up paying for a music lesson they didn’t have!

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  4. Well, I think you’re being completely unreasonable! Where is your secret magic motherhood gene that should have told you 2)he’d left his phone at home and would need it, b)he’s left his violin at home and would need that too, and c)that he’s be able to borrow a violin so wouldn’t need it after all? I mean really!

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  5. I would have been livid. Think you may be right to leave it to him to sort it out next time.

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  6. I’d like to be able to console you and say that it gets better – but it doesn’t! There are signs at 19 years of age that finally my daughters are moving on from the planet teenager phase but it has been relentless and exhausting!

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  7. Thanks very much, everyone! It must drive you made having quite so many forgetful kids, Coombe Mill!
    My younger two have very different personalities to my eldest and I live in hope that they’re not going to be like this, although I have a few more years to go with them.
    Love your comment, Learner Mother, I really must work on my secret motherhood gene a little more!
    I was quite angry, Erica, but it was water off a duck’s back to him! Although interestingly I mentioned the cost of petrol to him and how much it costs to drive a mile and he did the maths on his own and realised this was a waste of money. He’s a bit obsessed with money, so hopefully this might make him think next time.
    Izzie – I love your blog, but it always reminds me I have a long way to go! Only seven years until the eldest hits 19 – and 12 years until the youngest!

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