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Digital Subscriptions > Psychologies > No. 153 > Teenage love bomb

Teenage love bomb

In every family, there are times when communication seems impossible and feelings run high. Heidi Scrimgeour decided to reset her emotional thermostat


The first time I told my son that I hated him is indelibly etched in my mind. Regret washed over me while my words still hung in the air, and a cold, creeping sense of shame followed. How could I have lost my cool when this relationship, above all others, relies on me to be the mature one and to love unconditionally? In my defence, my son was the first to use the H-word, prompting me to lash out with: ‘I hate you, too!’ But ‘he started it’ is poor justification at the best of times, and it is downright embarrassing when you are a mother of three children who should know better.

It’s natural, of course, in the heat of the moment, to say things we don’t mean to those we love. But, as my cute and compliant little boys have morphed into – sometimes – moody teenagers, with minds of their own and debating skills that frequently leave me in the dust, I find myself locking horns with them more often than I would like, and frequently uttering things I wish I could unsay.

I can’t remember what we were arguing about, yet I’m certain neither of us will forget the row. Thankfully, my son is big-hearted and was quick to forgive me. I hugged him and apologised repeatedly, explaining that even adults sometimes say stupid things they don’t mean – but it felt like I was papering over cracks.

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