For weeks now, Dylan has been saying, “I don’t want to talk to you.”

I’ve been reading books. I’m simultaneously reading How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, The Five Love Languages of Teenagers and Enter at Your Own Risk! 8 Secrets for Parenting Through the Middle School Years.  Bill and I even went to see Kirk Martin again – my fourth time – to get some new insights into the teenage years.

We were doing okay, or so I thought. I allowed room for independence and growth – while still drawing the line when the cell phone came to the dinner table. I thought we were doing pretty well.

Then last night happened. I was downstairs and the kids were in the shower. Suddenly I realized, It’s too quiet! I raced upstairs as Shane was opening the bathroom door and I heard Dylan say, “Do you have any questions about that?”

I looked at my baby’s face, as Shane walked slowly out of the bathroom.  Something serious had transpired.

“What were you and Dylan talking about?” I asked Shane, genuinely concerned.

“Nothing,” said Shane, for the very first time in his life.

“Nothing?” I repeated. “You were obviously talking about something!”

Shane stammered, “He told me not to tell anybody. It’s a secret.”

Normally, I would be thrilled that the boys were so close that they could share secrets. But Dylan is in a stage where nothing is off-limits, and Shane is too young to understand a lot of what Dylan says and does.

I went back to Dylan and asked him to tell me the secret.

“No,” Dylan said. When pressed, he cried, stomped his feet and had a mini-meltdown. “I don’t want to TALK to you!” he yelled – as he had many times in the past few weeks. All I  can think, when he says that, is What have I done to ruin our friendship?

It’s a thought that, thanks to the ex-30-year friend, hasn’t left my thoughts for weeks.

“You ALWAYS have to know EVERYTHING!” Dylan screamed at me. “Why can’t you just let me have MY LIFE?”

“Fine,” I said, and stormed into the laundry room.  I started throwing laundry – Dylan’s laundry – into the washer. Then I stormed back and said, “You want me out of your life. You don’t want to talk to me. That’s fine. But I don’t need to do things for you, either. You can do your own laundry from now on.”

“I can do that,” he said.

“And tomorrow, you can make your own breakfast, make your own lunch, and catch the bus to get to school. I’m not getting out of bed at 6:30 to drive you to school if you won’t even talk to me.”

“That’s fine,” he said.

I did put his pills on the counter, in the hopes that he’d remember to take them. They were back on the kitchen table this morning. The peanut butter was sitting on the counter, along with an empty plastic bag.

And Dylan was gone.


  1. Greg, thanks again for your words of wisdom. It’s so good to know that I’m not alone in this, and that everyone else goes through the same thing! I’m hoping to shorten this stage to something less painful (for me anyway) – a truce of sorts, so that, at the very least, I can do his laundry for him again! We’ll see how it goes… stay tuned to the blog. It’s such a great learning experience for me!

  2. Greg Williams says:

    i have 2 daughters and had to deal with the same stage in their life. its natural Kirsten. the first show of independance. he will grow out of it. You handled it the same way as i did my daughters. Fine here do it yourself. It lasts a couple of weeks. lol It doesn’t mean you have done anything wrong. I remember having the same rebelious streak too. think back to when you were that age, i’ll bet you had the same thing. you are a great mom. Don’t ever question that.

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