Julia Proverbs: Tell me it's a passing phase

You're mean and I hate you," she spits out, venomously, and storms off to her room. Slam.

At least that's what she has been telling me of late.

Am I a bad mother?

I don't think so.

I stay up late at night baking biscuits for her lunchbox, paint her fingernails with glitter on the weekends and dish her out plenty of cuddles.

I also make sure she does her homework, keeps her room tidy and brushes her teeth before bed.

Which is where our differences lie.

"I don't want to", "I'm not going to", and "I can do whatever I want", are also frequent phrases in our house at the moment (usually precursors to the "H" word).

The script running in my head on such occasions is: "Right now I don't particularly like you, either."

But, fighting fire with water, I bite my tongue and calmly tell her: "That's a pity because I really love you."

It's a risky strategy because, in the first instance, it makes her even wilder.

"Well, I still hate you," she says, hopping mad.

Which is understandable. If I put all my energy into telling someone how peeved off I was, a smug smile would not be appreciated. It may even take the steam out of my rage.

I ignore the second wave of abuse and, miraculously, she has very little else to say thereafter.

However, hubby was slightly taken aback when he returned from almost a month overseas to find his little girl with an attitude of teenage proportions.

"I hate you. I wish you would go back to England," she told him as he tried to help her with a particularly tricky piece of homework.

(This is despite having eagerly marked off all 25 days on the calendar until his return.)

He looked wounded.

I left the room, suppressing laughter.

"We have been getting a bit of that lately," I said, after I had finished choking on my tea.

It does make me wonder, however, what we will get when she is 16.

I doubt I will be laughing then.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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