October 24, 2011

Getting Too Big For Those Britches

Yesterday Rob and I had an argument in the car that went extremely well but was nevertheless very unpleasant. He wanted to discuss his theories that no one should be "against" anyone else, and that no one should make any laws that affect anyone else, and that if you can't prove something is untrue you have to treat it exactly as if it's true. I discussed these topics with him for over 30 minutes and didn't lose my cool AT ALL, even when I was making good/calm points and asking good/calm questions, and all he was doing was repeating his few points over and over in an increasingly upset voice and implying he considered me too stupid to follow the obvious logic.

So I should have gone home feeling good about my performance in this first of what will be many, many chances to exercise patience and restraint and the kindness that comes from having a more developed frontal lobe. One of my big worries about the teenage years is that I will lose my temper in a near-constant fashion, because I really do hate Immature Philosophizing---and I DIDN'T lose my temper. But instead of feeling cheered by this, I went home feeling logy and full of ennui. Because it turns out that even when I handled a discussion very well, I STILL hate Immature Philosophizing and having arguments with people. I felt so weary at the idea of the years and years of it I have ahead of me as the kids grow up.

I also felt logy/ennui/weary at the idea that they might not outgrow the ideas I consider immature. It is upsetting that there is so little I can do to control the children's brains so that they will grow up thinking thoughts I agree with. I already knew this was the case going in to this project, but it's bad for morale to be imagining what life could be like when he comes home with his family for Christmas and is still talking this way. Maybe all five of the kids will sit around talking about how much better the world would be if they ran it, and how stupid Paul and I are for not agreeing with them. Then we'll all sit around grimly unwrapping our presents and feeling dissatisfied with each other.

Also, he's outgrowing his pants so I went to my bins to get the next size up and found there WAS NO NEXT SIZE UP. I was going to have to buy him MEN'S sizes. Then I found that actually it's only The Children's Place that doesn't have size 16, but Old Navy and Target still do, so we have one more size to go. But after THAT, it's the MEN'S department!

30 comments:

Nowheymama said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doing My Best said...

Some places have size 18 too! I can't remember if it's Lands' End and/or Sears. That whole MEN'S department thing was a shock for me too!

Bea said...

I think I could put up with the anarchism and the excessive notions of tolerance, but this one - "and that if you can't prove something is untrue you have to treat it exactly as if it's true" - would drive me crazy!

I read a blog post MONTHS ago applying that exact argument to the idea of determinism vs. free will (with the burden of proof resting, inexplicably, on those who believe in free will) and it STILL makes me mad when I think of it (like, maybe once a week).

Laura said...

I'm so glad you wrote this. I'm feeling very alone with this pre-teen/teenage thing. I wish there were more blogs or blog posts or parenting sites focused on parenting kids this age. I'm finding it to be like when the kids hit age 3 and I was caught fully unprepared for the combination of increased independence and deliberate manipulation. This is much harder than I thought it would be.

Swistle said...

Oh, Bea! I am so happy to see you! And your way of putting things is so comfortingly amusing: "the anarchism and the excessive notions of tolerance," ha ha ha! YES.

Swistle said...

Laura- I wish, too, for more blogs about parenting this age. Almost everyone I follow has kids YOUNGER than mine.

Amanda said...

I have to buy my child-man his pants at OldNavy.com because Old Navy does not have size 18 in their stores, but they do on their website.

Hope T. said...

Lands' End goes up to size 20. If you get the exact same pair of pants in the men's department, they will be twice the price. This applies to shoes also. Boy's size 7 sneakers are one price and men's size 7 are a whole different kettle of fish (only in terms of price, NOT size or quality). Speaking of size 7, has anyone noticed that many manufacturers only go up to size 6 in children's shoes and start at size 8 in adult men's shoes? The year that my boys wear 7s, I go quietly nuts.

I am the mother of an older teen, a middling teen, and a pre-teen. All I can say is....well, I can't say much because my brain has turned to mush. I know this, though, they eventually go to college and the arguments diminish greatly. They come home on breaks and take your car and money (the few dollars that are left after the tuition bill has been paid) and take off without a single word of philosophizing.

cakeburnette said...

Men's sizes really suck. Because men's clothing has WAY fewer sales than boys' AND they cost more to begin with.

Oh, and you don't agree with much of what your parents believe, so just hope that Rob (and the rest) will always love and respect you and stay involved in your life they way you do with your parents and it'll all be good! :D Children, like friends, do not have to agree with us 100% of the time to still be loved and valued and to still love and value us. :D I've always admired how you managed to not argue with your mother. I can't seem to manage that 95% of the time, even though I know it's not going to make any difference. *sigh*

Lisa said...

I have to buy A's jeans at Aeropostle, since they carry the elusive 28/29 size. The good thing is they're only $18, which is comparable to Old Navy.

Alice said...

i still very clearly remember having those passionate "discussions" with my parents during my early teen years, and i can assure you that i grew out of them entirely and have lovely Christmases together with the fam, even though i do not agree with 100% of my parents' beliefs :)

alice said...

Wonderful post title!

And I agree with the other Alice above - I was definitely into the immature philosophizing, and although my parents seemed to have a lot of patience with it, there were definitely times when they (lovingly) set boundaries, and said that they needed to move onto another topic.

Even though our opinions still don't line up precisely, age has done a great deal of mellowing me out (and them, to a certain extent). Our super-long conversations tend to focus on areas where we agree, or where we can productively disagree. We don't fully shy away from the Real Disagreements, but we can generally move away from them gracefully when the need arises.

Jessica said...

You sure paint a rosy picture of Christmases to cone! :)

Maggie said...

Yes, my main concern with immature philosophizing is the same concern I have with almost every serious lapse in judgment my kids have - I'm worried it's not something they will grow out of. I know it's not rational, but I worry when my son takes the easy road with his school work that he will take the easy road for the rest of his life and will never learn how important hard work is to success and blah blah blah. With my kids I have such a hard time just taking things for what they are right now instead of projecting everything into the future (of DOOM).

I applaud your ability to stay calm during I.P.!

Nicole said...

Ack. He's all growed up!

I hate that philosophizing too. I was at a party with some much younger people, and this 24 year old kept giving me arguments about the education system and the "free market". And I wasn't even arguing with her - she was pretty much just arguing with herself, but with me, you know what I mean? Anyway, I tried to calmly drink my wine and not flip out and say she was an idiot.

I DID have a rather heated/tense argument with my oldest - who is merely seven - about which of the Great Lakes is the second biggest. Thank god for Wikipedia.

Misty said...

I refuse to entertain the idea that my children will grow up to be Republicans.

I can't handle the stress.

But somewhere deep down, I do realize that there will be many a year when they disagree with me for disagreement's sake. *Sigh*

Do you think that there are less blogs for people parenting teenagers because there is a feeling that teens need more privacy on parent's blogs than say, a 2 year old? Or perhaps that a lot of "mommy bloggers" just don't have kids that age yet? Curiouser and curiouser.

Slim said...

I used to work with a woman who had an HR background and had raised four children. I used to pick her brain about HOW because she seemed to get along with everyone, including her children. She said that the teenage years had had a lot of joy in them because she had learned two things: (1) You have to listen to them even if you know what they're going to say and it is inane or wrong and (2) You must make an effort to do things you enjoy doing together, even if it's a hassle to figure out what those things are. Is there any chance that you and Rob would both enjoy shopping for pants?

Nik-Nak said...

Okay I have no idea how I would handle this so I'm glad I follow you. You who will deal with this and all things before me so I can see how it's done. Keep up the good work.

Mozee said...

What's even more fun(!)is when they deliberately choose an opposing viewpoint only because they know it pushes your buttons. My 17 yr old son is very good a this, I get all wound up before I realize he doesn't really agree with the point he's arguing. Good thing he's still cute.

Sarah said...

Ha ha! "It is upsetting that there is so little I can do to control the children's brains..." Indeed. I sometimes get a little despair-y when I think of this, too. I worry sometimes that as adults, I will LOVE them, but may be forced to admit that I don't necessarily LIKE them all the time. What a bummer that would be! But I guess that's the risk you take, eh?

Alicia said...

"It is upsetting that there is so little I can do to control the children's brains so that they will grow up thinking thoughts I agree with." Oh, yes, yes, yes. Scariest thing ever. And almost impossible to avoid with four children. At least ONE will end up vastly different (than me and my right thinking).

drhoctor2 said...

Ahhh..the teen age philosophers !! I kinda love them. You did EXACTLY the right thing , if that helps. Let them spout off to you and stay interested or interested looking..and logical. They are using you to figure out how to argue/express themselves and find their philosophical way. Safety of the parental harbor and all.
On the plus side, teen agers are interesting !! Sometimes come up with excellent points and everything. I liked watching the emergence of my peoples' real future adult selves and it becomes less about where / how we differ and more about an independent person. I think Slim nailed it.

Reading (and chickens) said...

1. Extremely clever post title
2. I refuse to believe that my children will ever disagree with me or be Republicans or non-recyclers or MEN. NO NO NO NO. They are and will always be BABIES.


right?

d e v a n said...

It is upsetting that there is so little I can do to control the children's brains so that they will grow up thinking thoughts I agree with. -- oooh, this is one of the things that keeps me up at night. I KNOW it, yet it's hard to accept.

fairydogmother said...

My only experience with this is with other people's children, which means I always get to send them back...but man, is it exhausting. A friend from high school summed it up nicely about her oldest boy a few weeks ago: "Wow, is that what reasoning with a teenager is going to be like? Not fun!"

The nice thing is that they do grow out if it, and everyone generally comes through it all in one piece, and without any of your above mentioned fears coming to fruition.

CARRIE said...

I think that it is likely I will have to re-enter therapy when my kids become teenagers. For all the reasons you mentioned.

Laura Diniwilk said...

Before having kids, I used to stress out that my hypothetical future children would have personality (stereo)types that I couldn't deal with (like druggies or, god forbid, cheerleaders). Now I am going to start stressing out about immature philosophizing. THANKS :)

Phancy said...

For all of us with babies, this is both helpful AND terrifying to read about! (Or, maybe just me. I should probably not speak for the masses.)

And, Alicia, I was thinking exactly the opposite of what you said! I was sitting here thinking, "Well, this is why I want three or four kids, so that I am guaranteed one or two that I like as adults."

nicolien said...

Oh goodness, I hate Immature Philosophizing too... and I'm a social science teacher in high school - it's my job to listen to it! All i can do sometimes (other than listen and keep asking questions and provide facts) is blame it on the parents :)

I just read a blogpost that might give you some patience with your philosophizing boy(s): http://www.lastwordonnothing.com/2011/10/26/you've-got-mail-you-idiot/ I learned about this psychological mechanism in teacher's training too, but she gives a good summary of it.

juliloquy said...

"many, many chances to exercise patience and restraint and the kindness that comes from having a more developed frontal lobe." hee.

It's unlikely that all of your children will be like this, even as teenagers. As for Rob, would joining debate help or hurt the philosophizing? I'm thinking at least if he had more sophisticated arguing techniques, it wouldn't be quite so crazy-making. Good luck! (I'll probably be there in about 5-6 years).