Mariska, 42, has been in a difficult relationship with her son Robin (17) for a few years now. He is so violent that she can’t handle him. “Robin brings nothing but misery.”
Mariska: “A while ago, I cleaned out the cupboard in the living room. There I came across old photo books of Robin. I made a cup of coffee and sat down for him. Ten minutes later I was roaring. Robin was eating like a baby. What a full, sweet baby he had to be.” He laughs at everything. But he was also a great kid as a toddler and preschooler. Very easygoing and always fun – for that matter, I had my hands full with his one and a half year old younger sister Anouk with her tantrums.
Seeing those pictures touched me ever since. Robin is seventeen now and sometimes I can watch him outside the house. He leaves such a stamp on our family with his strange temper and behavior that I no longer like him. Of course I don’t say it out loud, at most once when I’m really sad or angry with my husband, Roel.
Rowell can put all of that aside a little easier. It was not easy as a teenager, as I know from my mother-in-law. I think he recognizes a lot of himself in Robin. Plus, Roel works a lot and only gets half of what goes in. When he’s home, I don’t want to bore him with my disturbing stories about our son.”
Robin started to change when he was 11. I still remember the first time I got a call over a fight at school. Roel had to laugh a little about it. I was furious. Robin had lashed out and his classmate was bloodied. He reluctantly apologized and the teacher took me aside after the joint discussion. “Robin is precocious, puberty has just begun,” she said in a somewhat flattering tone. I didn’t really know what to do with that.
But she was right. The fence was across from the dam. Fights followed one another in quick succession and Robin was the standard there as there was rot. He always had a keen interest in fireworks, but that interest became almost obsessive that year. At the turn of the year he traveled through the neighborhood with a large group of young men and several acquaintances and neighbors told me that Robin had “become a real villain”.
They were still friendly after that, and a year later it was already different. Robin was disturbed by the neighborhood. Wherever he was, there was always something going on. Then again illegal fireworks went off, then again a lot of rubbish was left behind, and there were occasional scuffles with residents. I heard myself complaining about him more and more. The fun times we had together became more sparse. Where I still regularly get hugs from him, it never happened. Once Robin was in seventh grade, I was allowed to hold my hand even if he greeted me when he came home.”
He started smoking in high school. Not long after that with bloating. I thought that was terrible, we had lively discussions about it. We roiled ourselves and stopped when the babies were born with great pain and difficulty. We wanted to spare Robin that, but for all our tirades, he persisted. Hypocrisy, call us.
Robin’s mouth got bigger and his mood became more casual. Dinner has become a real crime. From the moment he got a job and earned his own money, he calmly went to McDonald’s with his friends at half past five. “Go eat, I’m not hungry,” he’d say coldly when I put a healthy meal on the counter an hour later. I could really blow over it, but at the same time I also loved that he was in his room, rather than with us.
If he had eaten, it was rarely fun. A nice conversation was not possible, and Anouk often kept her mouth shut in front of her brother. When she said something, his reaction was very negative. Then, like, she did something with her friends and he always knew something bad to say about one of those girls. “She really is a dumb cow,” he once said of one of her best friends. “Cage and I are kicking our dog out of her.” This, of course, turned into a major fight. Cage is Robin’s best friend. These two bring out the worst in each other, I say sometimes.”
When I tell someone about Robin’s behaviour, he’s quickly brushed off with, “Oh yeah, teens, right…” or: “It’s a phase!” I can’t hear those words anymore. This phase has lasted for six years and all that time Robin sets the atmosphere in our house with his mood and demeanor. He hangs on the couch for hours, watching movies on his phone, with the sound on. When I ask him if he wants to put his earphones on or Going to his room, he doesn’t reply or just says “yes,”.
I often pick eggs for my money and go upstairs to fold laundry or go shopping. I’m so tired of arguing I’d rather let my kid chase me out of my living room. Anouk lives in her own room once Robin gets home. Sometimes I go to bed with her to catch up on what happened. In it, she notices that she also suffers from the fact that her brother cannot be enjoyed.
Robin brings nothing but misery. The conversations at school are always negative, every year he either cuts his heel over the hole or stays put. This year he will take his final exams. He doesn’t know what he wants to do next. Sometimes he says “get rich.” Because that’s what bothers him the most: he has an obsession with extreme luxury. If he talks about anything, it’s five hundred euro sneakers. Or see him again on Instagram showing off an expensive bottle of champagne at a party with friends. He appreciates it so much, I find it disgusting.”
Rest in the tent
“At the age of 16, we gave him a used motorcycle. Less than a month later, the thing was stolen; he didn’t lock it. It wasn’t his fault, of course, he couldn’t help it. Whether we wanted to buy a new one, because now he had nowhere to go.. So stupid, but we did it a few weeks later. And if I’m being honest, especially since Robin was out a lot at least. Also with this second scooter we just have trouble. Then there’s another tire leak, then it won’t start again, and then it’s a knock other.
It can never be normal with Robin, I sometimes sigh. Last month I was able to get him into the ER, and he had barely slipped into a coma. This past weekend he dropped his phone; The screen is shattered in such a way that he can no longer use it. I always have a hard time shooting.
My dad always says, “Let him have a good time.” Roel thinks the same. I find that hard. This makes the problems not only bigger for him but for me as well. Especially I want peace in the tent.
Where Anouk had tantrums when she was a small and tiny baby, now she’s the easiest kid ever. I had a great time with her, she makes up for it a lot. We regularly go shopping or to the sauna for a day together. Rowell has sometimes suggested that jealousy plays a role in Robin. He sees how much fun you and Anouk are having. I think he feels left out. I can’t do anything with that. I don’t believe it either. As if Robin wants to go shopping with me or spend time with me at all. Occasionally we buy some clothes online and then I’m mainly busy explaining why I didn’t want to pay eight hundred euros for it. “These are really nice coats,” he exults. Yes, great quality – no doubt. But with Robin no time under the burn holes or completely lost, because “leave him somewhere.” ”
“I do so much for him, but I get nothing in return. He doesn’t come to Mother’s Day and has already forgotten my birthday twice in a row. It’s all very thankless. Last summer we went on holiday to Greece with the whole family, but I don’t anymore.” That anymore. We’ve only been gone for a week, but it was really hard. ‘He didn’t mind,’ said Robin – we forced him to come. The only thing he could get his approval on was the all-you-can-eat buffet. I didn’t feel like leaving him alone in the house. , but then I had to see if he couldn’t stay with Cage for a week or something.He ruined our entire vacation with his lame commentary and temper.
I can look at him outside the house, but I’m afraid we’ll be stuck with him for years to come. Houses simply aren’t there for the taking and Robin isn’t someone who goes to college and moves rooms.
Of course I love him. My dear, it becomes clear when I look back on those pictures from the past, and then a lot of emotions are released. There’s a good kid hiding under that teen. It’s not really happening at the moment. I think Robin doesn’t suffer from that herself. He leads a somewhat carefree life, without any responsibility. The only thing that matters is himself. He does not understand that I lie awake at night thinking about his behaviour. He doesn’t see Anouk fleeing the room as soon as he enters. He does not understand that his father and I are fighting more and more because of the rising tensions.
I hope it ends soon, but I’m afraid we’re still in the middle of a teenage storm. In a few months he will be eighteen and then he will be allowed to go out and drink and drive and gamble: I’m holding my breath. Who knows, he might come across a cute girl who knows how to keep him in check…
This morning my sister posted a picture of her son on Facebook. My nephew turned seventeen today. “Congratulations my dear child, because I am so proud of you, what a beautiful person you are,” she wrote. You touched me. I would love to love my son just as much.”
Text: Hester Zitfast
For privacy reasons, all names have been changed. The real names are known to the editors.
Photo: Getty Images
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