Taken from a handout by Corrie Lynne Player:
“I just 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 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 footsteps, 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
up its nose at whatever you’re serving, swishing its tail and giving you an aggrieved look until you break out the tuna
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 it is trying to remember where
it has seen you before.
You, not realizing your 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, stay and sit on command, you assume 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 has the opposite 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 must 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 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 you.” Then, you’ll realize your cat is a dog again.”