realized that while children are dogs ... Loyal and affectionate ...
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 call it.
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 remember where it has seen you
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
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, comforting lap it has not entirely forgotten.
Be there to open the door for it.
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
Then you'll realize your cat is
a dog again.