I feel I am entering a war zone. In my own house (well, rented own house).
My eldest is showing distressing signs of pre-adolescence and he's only 9. I've been busily reading up on dealing with teenage boys, never having been one myself, and the only experience I really have with them is memories, ghastly ones, of my brothers.
Bad temper abound, as did all the other classic adolescent behaviours: sulks, defiance, disobedience, secrecy, explosions, and terrible smells.
My book is useful; gives all sorts of sound advice and reassures parents at the pit face that it's just a phase, albeit a long one. I know all that, I can remember being a teenager all too well, and hated almost every minute of it myself, so god knows what my parents went through.
Despite all my good intentions though, the fragile state of my situation hacks away at my capacity to deflect the grinding down my eldest inflicts on my tolerance levels. I am relatively sane, but what happens to those who cannot escape? I take refuge in my bedroom and the computer, read a little online newspaper, note the crappy lives a lot of other people are living, and calm down. I give my son a hug and tell him I love him. He goes to bed happy. I leave feeling like a wrung out dishcloth with my mind too paralysed to do much else but retire frazzled.
It's okay though because I've only got another 15 years to go. Maybe I'll get to finish my book just after...