With only a few months before I have my first teenager..I thought this was appropriate!
Kids are Dogs, Teens are Cats
by Adair Lara
I just realized that while children are dogs ... loyal and affection-
ate ... teenagers are cats.
It's so easy to be a dog owner. You feed it, train it, boss it around.
It puts its head on your knee and gazes at you as if you were a
Rembrandt painting. It bounds indoors with enthusiasm when you
Then around age 13, your adoring little puppy turns into a big
old cat. When you tell it to come inside, it looks amazed, as if
wondering who died and made you emperor. Instead of dogging
your doorstep, it disappears. You won't see it again until it gets
hungry ... then it pauses on its sprint through the kitchen long
enough to turn its nose up at whatever you're serving. When you
reach out to ruffle its head, in that old affectionate gesture, it twists
away from you then gives you a blank stare, as if trying to remem-
ber where it has seen you before.
You, not realizing that the dog is now a cat, think something must
be desperately wrong with it. It seems so antisocial, so distant, sort
of depressed. It won't go on family outings. Since you're the one
who raised it, taught it to fetch and stay and sit on command, you
assume that you did something wrong. Flooded with guilt and fear,
you redouble your efforts to make your pet behave.
Only now you're dealing with a cat, so everything that worked
before now produces the opposite of the desired result. Call it and
it runs away. Tell it to sit and it jumps on the counter. The more
you go toward it, wringing your hands, the more it moves away.
Instead of continuing to act like a dog owner, you can learn to
behave like a cat owner. Put a dish of food near the door and let it
come to you. But remember that a cat needs your help and your
affection too. Sit still and it will come, seeking that warm, comfort-
ing lap it has not entirely forgotten. Be there to open the door for
One day your grown-up child will walk into the kitchen, give you
a big kiss and say, "You've been on your feet all day. Let me get
those dishes for you."
Then you'll realize that your cat is a dog again.