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“But MOM! I’m 16 now!”

bipolar momYep, my teenager turned 16 this weekend. Aside from feeling old it was an exciting day. We took him to breakfast for his birthday and took him to the mall so he could go shopping. It was strange that my 16 year old was at the mall and didn’t find anything at all to buy. It was fun though.

He’s probably the only kid in his class without some type of a smart phone. I was okay with that, to me that screamed spoiled and I think he’s been plenty spoiled enough. My husband and I had tossed around the idea of buying him an iPhone for his 16th birthday, but we hadn’t made any firm decisions yet.

Anyway, I knew I had to change my cell minutes to unlimited with my job, so I was going to upgrade from my iPhone to a better phone. My husband and I decided it was time for him to have his own iPhone, versus a very basic phone with a sliding keyboard. Well, now he is big stuff. He has an iPhone which (for today) doesn’t have a broken screen like most of his friends. After squealing with excitement, he puffed his chest with pride. He almost cried.

He was pretty certain he would never get a smart phone, at least not before he could pay the bill himself. What he doesn’t realize is I have the best leverage ever. I’m such a sneaky mom!

Anyway, he’s flexing his muscles now. He is 16 going on 21 and he thinks that gives him a pass to do whatever he wants. I think not.

He called me yesterday and asked if he could play football at the park up the street (about a mile away). It was close to dinner time and I asked him to come eat first and then he could go, and then he says “I’m already up here, so I’m just going to play. I’ll eat when I get home.”

Ut oh. Oh dear. Oh my. No he didn’t.

So on the verge of freaking out I question him, who gave him permission to walk so far away? No one did. I fussed at him for walking all the way out there without telling anyone what he was doing or getting permission, and that is when he said it. Yes he did. He said “but MOM! I’m 16 now, I’m not a kid anymore!”

Oh I nearly lost my mind when he said that. As long as I am feeding him, clothing him, providing him a home to live in, and a freaking iPhone, he is still a kid!!!

I was so mad but I bit my tongue and asked him to be home by 6. He quietly agreed and hung up. I sat in my chair and I stewed. It bugged me so bad. Since when was 16 and adult? He is not an adult, and he is not allowed to do whatever he wants whenever just because he had a birthday.

He is no less my son, my dependent, or a child than he was one week ago when he was 15. I tried so hard to maintain myself, and gave him a nice gentle reminder when he got home all of the reasons he will still abide by our rules. The most important reason? I am his mother!

Just because you turn a certain age does not mean you can freely and openly disrespect your mother! I will be his mother until the day he dies, and goodness gracious I am not going to tolerate this type of nonsense!

I agree it is time to start allowing him to stretch his wings and grow, but as long as this kid is mooching off me I am going to call the shots. Now, when he decides to get good grades, a job, a car that he can pay for himself, and some responsibility we can talk about extending his freedoms. As for now, he is no different than he was a week ago except for the fact that my cell phone bill increased by $30.

What he doesn’t understand, I will always love him and it is my job to protect him and try to keep him safe. 16 or not, he’s still my kid and I’ll always try to do my job. Period.

Birthday cake photo available from Shutterstock

“But MOM! I’m 16 now!”


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APA Reference
, B. (2013). “But MOM! I’m 16 now!”. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 22 Jan 2013
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