The Silent Treatment

The other day my son and I were talking in the car and he offhandedly said something that offended me. It wasn’t his fault really. He is a 12 year-old boy trying to figure out the world and he was just talking out loud. Either way…it didn’t make me feel very good. He’s not five anymore so I can’t just slap his hand and tell him “no.” He is a big boy with big boy thoughts. I realized he is getting older so I am going to have to change the way I handle his indiscretions. I have to start to deal with him as a “young man” and not as a child. That’s when I decided that the best way to teach my son to speak nicely to me was to give him the “silent treatment”. I’m not proud of myself. I was thinking on the fly. The silent treatment is my “go-to” with my husband so I guess I just fell into that response. He’s a boy, and Jim’s a boy….so it made sense. At first, like Jimmy, he had no idea I was even mad and just kept calling my name. “Mom………….Mom…………can you hear me?” he said. I should have spoken up then, but I was surprisingly and sadly curious to see how he would handle it. He kept asking me if “I could hear him” and I think he really believed I had suffered an injury while driving that rendered me deaf in the car. You could see in his eyes that he had absolutely no idea what was happening and I realized this was his first “silent treatment.” It’s like a right of passage. He would be on the receiving end of this stupid game for the rest of his male life and it started today. I felt really bad. I told him I was giving him the silent treatment because he had upset with what he said. He honestly had no idea what I was talking about or that he had offended me. He is really a super sweet kid, so naturally, I felt like a horrible mother. We both learned a lot that day. I learned my baby boy is growing up and I have to start treating him like a young man…but using words. I’m not sure exactly what he learned. Maybe “my mom is a nut job” or “women are crazy” or “I had no idea we were actually fighting.” Sadly, my husband is learning these same lessons every day.