Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood. ~George Orwell
So far in my last two posts, Kyle has been giving me major attitude and disrespect. I got him a math tutor that he didn’t want and feels he didn’t need, even though he tanked Algebra II last year, and now I was waiting to pick him up for church, which he clearly was resisting.
Waiting for the bus to drop off my little man, I greeted him with a big smile, trying to ignore the tone he had already set while talking to him briefly on the phone prior, while on the bus in route. Kyle smiled and headed straight for the house. I told him to grab his homework, we had to go. In all reality, I had somewhere I had to be at 4:30 pm and we were cutting it close, plus I was suppose to be on a conference call for work. I mean my life doesn’t always revolve around Kyle, unbeknownst to him.
What did Kyle do? He ignored me and left me out in the driveway for an hour! Yes, you heard me right. I was sitting in a hot car, waiting on Kyle, in the very hot sun, till I felt sick. I banged on the door, still trying to keep my cool, even though I was boiling and now nauseous with a headache from the sun and heat. Kyle argued with me till he finally came out. I asked, “Did you bring your homework?” He rolled his eyes, went back in the house for another fifteen minutes and came out with a piece of paper. I thought, “That was all his homework? Okay, whatever.” During our brief conversation while he was on the bus, I stated to grab all your homework. In fact, I believe on Sunday, I told him when I was picking him up, to grab ALL his homework. There was no issue on Sunday with the plans, but know there was.
On a side note, if Kyle did that to ANYONE, made them wait on him, let alone in a hot car in the sun, I would have had him moved his butt out the door before he hit the fifteen minute mark. But then again, I respect others and I try to take others into consideration. Kyle’s actions was not respectful and teaches him to be a self centered, rude child to only turn into the same type of adult.
While making our leave, Kyle began the argument fest again, “Why do I have to go to church?” and “Why don’t I have a choice?” and “Why do I need a tutor?” I’ve always been very truthful with Kyle, whether he wants to hear it or not. Seriously, I’ve never lied to him, with the exception of Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny, which I came clean on years later. Always being upfront and honest with the kid was my demonstration of showing respect and the right way to live.
Anyway, I explained to Kyle, his dad, my brother Ryan wanted him to be raised Catholic. And as his godmother, my job is to ensure he has a close relationship with God and is spiritually healthy.
Obviously, Kyle didn’t like those answers and did what I hated the most, he kept repeating himself, without even giving me a chance to explain and kept interrupting. He didn’t want answers, he wanted to complain and get his own way. Then, he argued, “I was raised Catholic, I was Baptized and I had my First Holy Communion.” I couldn’t help but give a little chuckle. That’s the answer of an uneducated child who thinks he’s an adult, but is only fourteen. I said, “Kyle, you weren’t raised, you’re not grown up. And those are milestones to reinforce your faith. You have a lot more learning to do. Plus going to church reinforces your faith week after week so you don’t forget.” That was followed by, “Why don’t I have a choice?” Actually, I corrected him, stating he does, if he chooses another church, I will support him, but he can’t just not choose God and abandon Him altogether. Kyle’s comment, “Why not, I’ve done good so far.” I was very upset by that comment, stating, “Really you think your life was led this way because of you? And you don’t need God?” He shrugged his shoulders not having an answer.
If later in life Kyle decides to abandon church and his faith, then that’s his decision, one I tried to build his spiritual foundation to get him through life, to make honest and moral decisions. Kyle asked when that was, I laughed a little and said, “When you’re eighteen.” Okay, I did giggle over that, but I meant it. He retorted with a, “What? That’s by law! Why not before that?” I simply stated, “It’s by law you can make your own decisions, I didn’t make that rule.” He was furious!
As we were cruising along, he said, “I have a lot of homework to do!”, which was his battle cry from the time we spoke earlier on the phone. I reiterated, “That’s why I told you to bring ALL of your homework.” He snapped back at me, “Well I don’t have it all.” WHAT? I slammed on the breaks, now ready to loose it on this kid. I was already late and at this point, we were going to miss mass. I turned around, and made him get all his homework. He took another fifteen or twenty minutes, making me wait. Obviously, that was Kyle’s way of getting back at me, which I didn’t appreciate, but I was thinking of the bigger picture and what was best for him.
His whole demeanor was less than favorable, even though I promised him I would never yell at him again, I was ready to explode! I reminded Kyle of this fact, and I also stated that I didn’t appreciate him raising his voice at me. He was practically yelling at me.
Once we headed out again, Kyle dictated, “You’re going to take me to church and then bring me right back.” What? Is that what he said? It was, word for word! First of all, who made him my boss, and who ever gave him the right to speak to anyone like that!
It was a struggle the entire forty minutes to Latrobe (counting traffic). I told Kyle to get off of his video games. (he started to play on his iPhone) If he had that much homework to do he could get started on it now, as opposed to wasting valuable time on video games, especially since he made a big issue about church. He wouldn’t listen. I was loosing it big time. He spat, “Why? I don’t have to listen to you, you can’t tell me what to do.” My response? “Yes you do and looks like I just told you what to do.” That kid actually puffed out his chest as if physically threatening me! I was not having it from a little snot nosed teenager with an attitude problem. I smacked him on the top of the head and took the phone right out of his hand. (My reflexes are faster than his) His response?
“YOU STOLE MY PHONE!” Are you kidding me? I merely told him I have his phone because he’s now grounded from it for the night. He yelled like a crazy person, and stated I couldn’t ground him. I said, “Looks like I just did buddy.” Keep in mind, I have yet to yell. My tone was even but very authoritative and unwavering.
I don’t know where all this was coming from, but it was intense and very disrespectful. I was not going to back down. Like I told Kyle when he was a little man, “I invented stubborn and you’ve met your match!”
The best part? Kyle said I was ridiculing him. Really? I asked how. His response. “You keep calling me names and ridiculing me!” My response? “Kyle, you’re acting like a jerk, so I will call you a jerk. What name would you like me to call you while your acting like this? I’m not ridiculing you, I’m not making fun of you, I’m stating a fact. You’re acting like a jerk.” He didn’t like that comment either. Of course, I knew anything I said, unless it was something he wanted, was futile. For some reason, he wanted to take his aggression out on me and in his eyes I was his enemy. However, in all reality, I was the one who loved him the most. Anyone else would have caved in to his demands or sent him back to not deal with him. I chose the harder route, one for his benefit.
I drove us to my parents house, partially to cool off and because I thought Kyle might straighten up for my dad. The entire ride Kyle spat, “Take me back, NOW!” Nope. As we pulled into the driveway, I said, “You go in and give Pappy a hug. He didn’t do anything to you. Be nice, he misses and loves you.” What did Kyle do? He stayed in the car for a while, wouldn’t come in, and wouldn’t begin his homework. I was beside himself. I went out and warned him, “You’re not going anywhere until you do all that homework. Do you understand?”
What did he do? He went into the house and began looking for his phone straight away, with his superior attitude. Prior to that, I explained the entire situation to dad. Dad was beyond furious and at his last end with this kid.
Dad called Kyle into the living room and the major attitude, in the form of a teenager, stood before my dad acting tough, but I saw his lower lip quivering. During the conversation, Kyle stated he didn’t want to come to the house anymore. I knew those words really struck Dad in the heart. Dad’s tone was strong and very intimidating. While listening to him from the other room, I felt like a kid myself getting in trouble. Dad’s voice dripped with anger and yet there was definite sorrow behind it. Something I’m sure Kyle didn’t catch. Then, Dad brought a tear to my eye when I heard him raise his voice stating, “You see that picture (on the mantel) THAT’s YOUR DAD! WE’RE YOUR FAMILY! Do you understand that? So you better start treating us a little better! After everything we’ve done for you, you act like this? Kyle, I’ve always done EVERYTHING for you and you treat us like this? Fine if you don’t want to come here anymore, then you don’t have to!”
What did Kyle have to say? Nothing. He walked out of the house. I found him doing homework sitting on the wood pile. I could tell logic wasn’t strong with him that day, for he should have moved his homework to the deck, but whatever. I got dressed for church and said, “Let’s go.” Without another word, Kyle got in the car. I handed him his youth group t-shirt, the one everyone was wearing for mass. He actually thanked me. That was a step in the right direction. (Previously I explained the process to get him the T-shirt.) He put it on without saying much. Another step in the right direction. I stated that I’ll give him his space and sit in the back of the church, while he sits with his youth group. No comment.
After leaving church, we were welcomed to stay and enjoy refreshments and snacks in the church basement. I gave Kyle the option and he opted out. We went back to my parents house, since it’s closer and I told him to finish his homework and once he’s done, we’ll leave. He came in the house, never entered the living room where mom and dad were sitting, sat at the kitchen table and finished his reading. He was a bit antisocial, but more than that I think he felt bad and awkward due to his outburst earlier. Upon leaving church, his attitude did make a huge adjustment. Perhaps he had time to reflect.
Upon completion of his homework, Kyle managed to give my parents a dry emotionless hug before we headed out again. After hugging dad, he kind of looked like he wanted to cry. Yep, like the Grinch, his heart was growing.
Keep in mind, Kyle still didn’t have his phone, nor did he know where it was located. I had it now in my pocket, and I thought a nice gesture would be for me to give it back. However, just as I was handing it over he said, “Now where’s my phone!” We were almost there! Umm…. I told him to watch his tone. I gave him the phone but he wasn’t allowed to play any games on during the ride back. He did his standard, “Why?” I told him because he was grounded for the night and out of good faith I gave him his phone early. He listened and placed it in his pocket making sure I couldn’t get it again.
On a side note, he was like an addict with that phone. Truly! A little alarming.
The ride was quiet. Partially because I found Kyle dozing off, very unlike him. Just before I dropped him off, I found out the night before, he was up till midnight doing homework because he had band practice till late. That explains part of the attitude, he was tired, but it doesn’t explain what he was saying. Of course, I’m aware he’s a teenager with no logical thoughts or actions sometimes.
Kyle did give me a hug and let me kiss that chubby little cheek of his. He also gave me a nod in affirmation as if stating “I love you too.” after I spoke those words.
You know it’s always situations like these that really makes me stop and reflect on my actions and questions if I’m doing right by Kyle. I was told by a friend of mine, “Stick to your guns and do what’s right, just make sure they know you love them.” I hope Kyle knows that, for I interject it when possible, even when I’m gritting my teeth trying not to grab him by the scruff of the neck.
How is Kyle now? That past weekend he was really good. He even helped me and Dad finish building the turkey run. I didn’t even have to ask. How much longer do I have with this teenage attitude?