Teenagers. Need I say any more? Right, thought not. Red is at the very end of his teenage years and is no less annoying/mystifying/emotional/draining than when he was twelve. Except now, we have the added bonus of a well- developed sarcastic wit.
I have come to the conclusion that it is not possible to have a conversation with Red unless I am on full ale If you are not ready for it, the outcome can be disastrous. I often think it would be nice if I had a visual textbox to decipher Red’s communication. Something that would be helpful on the days when I am not tuned in to his brainwaves.
The level of sarcasm on some days has caused me to develop the quick witted response and to find new ways to remind Red which side his bread is buttered on. It is also directly related to if, how large or what type of audience he has.
I also have to remember not to lay traps for myself. It’s mental gymnastics, hostage negotiation and war strategy all rolled into one. I have strategies to deal with Red.
Testing the water
When Red comes up stairs from his cave (his siblings assigned that description to Red’s room) in search of food, it is helpful to test the waters to check on his state of mind. Lack of sleep and all night gaming will guarantee a red alert (excuse me). Empty cupboards will enrage the beast. Red needing a lift to the train station or wanting me to make sushi will ensure a pleasant interaction.
Knowing your opponent
You must know Red’s perspectives and ‘get inside his head’. It’s a scary place but it helps to understand how he will react to what you say to him, why he does and how to avoid the pitfalls. It’s basic mental health preservation. There is no empathy here. Red takes no prisoners and don’t be fooled into a false sense of reality.
Yep, Baden-Powell hit the nail on the head there. If you’re going to go into conflict, wear the right gear. I prepare for battle with quick- wittedness and just the right amount of rhetoric. I’m talking strategy here people. Battle plans are important.
I often have little Facebook messages like this…/denied or the favourite…/forever alone. Then there is the incessant trolling. I have to assume that if he didn’t care, he wouldn’t bother. I have managed a few comebacks in my time.
Today was not too bad on the war front. Only one cutting remark. More of an aside really. Red was in the kitchen with a friend and asked me about something. I told him. He asked me how I came to know about it. I told him I had made an educated guess. Pause. Head down buttering bread. Oh, right Mum. You can do that now you’re at Uni. I really hope he does knows which side his bread is buttered on. Smirk.