Teens: One Mom’s Perspective

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Having somewhat successfully (he’s still breathing!) raised a child to his teen years, I can unequivocally say there is no “easy” stage. I used to believe that if I could just get through the Terrible Twos, Fu*&ing Fours, or Tween years, I’d be golden. Not so.

Being a parent of a teenager is by far, among the most challenging things I’ve ever done. It requires super-hero worthy feats of patience and self-awareness…and a hearty dose of humor. You’re dealing with an individual who can’t be swayed with promises of M&Ms or a trip to Toys ‘R Us. They are still children, but starting to see the world as a young adult. It’s a real eye-opener – for both them and you.

At school they are reminded that they have to take responsibility for their work and behavior. Teens, particularly middle-schoolers, take this as a personal affront. My son’s response to having to do two hours of homework was, “But, I have a life!” I don’t disagree, but, as I pointed out, sometimes, you have to re-prioritize your life, and that’s what’s being asked of you right now. Writing a report for social studies or memorizing a poem for English is not necessarily what you would prefer to be doing, but we all have to do the work to achieve our goals. It didn’t go over well, and there was a lot of complaining, but it got done – and in the end, that’s what matters.

Their bodies and brains are changing day to day, and sometimes, minute to minute and it’s just plain weird. People always talk about those gawky years, where all sense of coordination and body awareness are lost – and it is true. They’re just not comfortable in their own skin and that’s cause for a lot of emotional upheaval. Add an ever-changing hormonal cocktail just for fun and you have a real recipe for disaster. One minute he’s a sweet, loving kid…the next he’s angry or upset over something that happened a week ago. Some days I have the emotional and mental capacity to deal and some I don’t. It’s the best I can do.

Remember when your little one wouldn’t stop talking? Cherish it. Your teenager will only speak to you when, and if, he or she wants to. This is the era of single consonant communication. “Yes,” “No,” “Huh?”  You get used to it, and then, suddenly, your teen wants to talk and becomes a completely eloquent human being – and you’re so shocked that you have to really focus to listen to what they’re saying, rather than dwell upon your surprise – and pleasure –  at their ability to express themselves so well.

The challenge of parenting never gets easier, but it sure does keep you on your toes. At every stage there are challenges and rewards – holding your precious newborn, seeing your toddler take her first steps, sending your confident kindergartner off to school, watching your elementary school-aged child discover who he is…it’s a thrill ride like no other. And those teen years, it’s like doing it all backward and without a seat belt. Hang on, it’s going to be a wild ride.

 

 

1 comments on “Teens: One Mom’s Perspective”

  1. 100% Agree.. the roller coaster of the teen years, makes us wonder sometimes if our beloved, offspring will truly survive,,, or if we will. I managed to make it through a round with a teenage girl. oye!
    I had to choose my battles and one that I chose to stand my ground on was the bedroom door. During the day, it was not allowed to be shut all the way. This way it allowed my daughter to day connected mentally to the rest of us.. I know that our minds play tricks on us, and teens especially. They are angry at the world, so they shut it out… we let them deal with what their issue is and back off… then they will trick themselves into thinking that we don’t want them. Oh mom and dad don’t want to talk to me, don’t want to see me, they don’t invite me down to watch a movie ( because we.. are letting them work through, and we really don’t like to talk to a door). We see the closed door as a “do no disturb”. So I told my daughter, that no, even if she is so angry she wants to throw stuff in her room, her door always stays open, that way in some capacity she is visually looking past the “blockage”. At bed time, for sure, the door closed, she listened to her radio.
    Doing this allowed access to her, verbal or visual. My voice wasn’t muffled and I could see her when I went up the stairs. Her sister could access her, and she could access us. Its a little thing, but worked wonders. I always allowed the “One Slam Rule” too. Because talking back IS NOT an option (and neither is growling at your mother lol) to really show how angry she was with me (or the world… mostly me, though) she was allowed to slam her door, once and only once (so make it count) but after that the door had to be open again,, not all the way, but at least a foot.
    Its a small thing, but it seemed to help her through some difficult bouts. We got to the point where when I went to bed, she would come and hang out, we would either about nothing, talk about important things or just read our own books … She is 19 now.

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