Life with teenagers can be tough, of course it is. They’re trying to manage the transition to adulthood, trying to carve their own path in the world, struggling with exam pressures, with friendships and romantic relationships, with self-esteem and confidence, with social media and all its negativity. As a parent you try to do the right thing – over and over – you explain that people who troll others on social media are the ones with the problems, you advise spending less time on screens, posting less updates, being less public. You drop hints about having showers, brushing teeth, changing socks, doing laundry. You almost daren’t enter the dingy cave of a teenager’s bedroom, who knows when it was last cleaned but at least you get them to change their bedding reasonably regularly. You are resented for being on their case, for nagging but in the next breath told that you don’t care.
You become numb.
Numb to the grunts that pass for conversation.
Numb to the ungrateful acceptance of the hot meal you prepared.
Numb to the attitude, the sulking, the negativity.
You distance yourself.
Until you actually don’t care anymore.
You don’t expect civilised communication, except when they want something.
Because no matter what you do.
You are the wrong parent.