Sometimes It’s Not OCD

Image courtesy David Castillo Dominici @
Image courtesy David Castillo Dominici @

Blake is still away at camp.  The Camp Mom has told me he’s doing great and we are passing the days in relative quiet.  I think it’s good for Michael.  To me, though, the house sometimes feels a little hollow.  As I take in the peace, I am musing over life with a teenager who has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  It’s quite the adventure, I must say.  Sometimes we have some real uproarious run-ins.  You might think that they are all about OCD, but that is far from the truth.  Many times, they are just about parenting a teenage boy.

A few weeks ago we had a doozy of an argument going on here.  Blake had earned a “C” in Spanish class.  Not quite up to his usual work.  When we asked him about it he told us that the teacher was too difficult to learn from and that a lot of the kids had a tough time.  Apparently that was true, because shortly after the semester ended his small, project-based learning school offered Spanish Boot Camp for the high schoolers who wanted to boost their skills.  We signed Blake up, but not until we told him first.

“School is offering a one week Spanish Boot Camp.  Since you said it was difficult to learn from your teacher this last semester and we don’t want you to go into the new semester at a disadvantage, we are going to sign you up,” I told him.

You would have thought that I told him that we were shipping him off to do hard labor in a work camp for a year.  He tried to begin logically, but things quickly escalated to his being furious with my hubby and I.

The Conflict Rises

“I can’t believe you are sending me!  This is like a punishment!  I won’t go!”

“Blake, this is a one week camp.  You said that you didn’t learn anything from the teacher this last semester.  You didn’t let us know until the report card came that you were struggling.  This is an opportunity to be ready for the new semester.”

He screamed.  He cried.  He ran from the room and slammed doors.  When he was calm, we let him know that he was going anyway.

The day before boot camp began, he tried to bargain to get us to change our minds again.  We listened, at first, then things rapidly began deteriorating. We were trapped in a car together so there was no walking away.

“I’m not going to learn anything anyway,” he said.  “I didn’t agree to this!  You’re not listening to me! Fine…ignore me!  You’re going to do whatever you want!”  and on and on and on.

I had to keep looking at my hubby and gesturing at him not to get into the power struggle.  Michael shoved his headphones into his ears and tried to read a book.  Blake raged on.

Boot Camp Begins

The next morning, Blake was off to Boot Camp.  The teacher structured the whole thing like the kids were immersed in a Spanish-speaking country.  The week was to culminate in a Skype conversation with a high school student in Ecuador.  By the end of day 1, Blake was intrigued.  At day 5, he couldn’t wait to meet the student he was going to talk to.

“Thank you for sending me to Spanish Boot Camp,” he told me late that Friday afternoon.  “It was a really great experience and I learned a lot.  I wish that teacher could teach me next semester.”

Really?  After all the yelling and screaming. Really.

“See…Dad and I didn’t enroll you to torture you.  We were pretty sure you’d get something good out of it.  Maybe next time something like this happens you will think about it before you start getting really angry?”

“Oh no,” he answered.  “Next time I’ll probably argue and scream and yell again.  You should be ready for it.  That’s my pattern,” he said nonchalantly.

“Gee, thanks for letting me know.”

“You’re welcome.”

Ahhhhhh…life with teenagers.  Never ending fun. 🙂


4 thoughts on “Sometimes It’s Not OCD

  1. Fantastic post, Angie. One of my readers recently asked how you know if you are dealing with OCD and/or a “typical” teen, so I forwarded him your post. Also, great to hear Blake is doing well at camp!

  2. LOL. I am always wishing I had THE book that told me if the situation was a “normal” teenage issue or an “OCD” issue. I always think that maybe I just didn’t get the manual and every other parent knows what is going on but me. 🙂 It is SO frustrating to get into that “power struggle” argument. It makes me feel a little better to hear the words Blake says. That lets me know I am not the only parent who hears that from their children. 😀

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