I arise to the occasion that both my children are teenagers, I also realize quickly that this could quite possibly be the worst stage of childhood growth. I hate it as it’s mentally draining and, as parents, you’re always on edge.
My children have many friends and as I look around me each child has changed drastically, including my own. I was having a rather serious conversation with a friend who I’ve known since my daughter was in Grade 2. Her family has become part of my family over the years.
As we talked about our parenting ups and downs, I stated that I laugh at those young mom’s who use the phrase “Well if that was my kid I’d….” on Facebook on a regular basis. Much to their chagrin, in year’s to come, no one truly knows what it’s like to raise a 3 year old, 9 year old or 14 year old until you experience it first hand.
The expensive shoes, the constant need to be in clubs and sports, the regular visit to the doctor, and the need to keep them off the television and video games will not prevent the inevitable….A child coming into their own, making mistakes and undesirable decisions.
The past few weeks for myself has been rather fatiguing to say the least. I have become so emotionally involved in the teenage psyche of today only to forget that we went through the exact same thing over 20 years ago!
– Didn’t we have the manic depressive friend that was on the brink of death and despair? Sure we did! I can’t remember what we categorized them as …but today it’s either OCD or Bipolar. Our children must visit a shrink to solve their problems or we buy them a fancy new gadget that may help them to forget that they truly are a teenager with issues.
– Didn’t we have the outspoken, overly anxious but friendly teenager whose emotions were all over the board? She was the social butterfly, who was friend’s with one group one day but switch to another group the next. Today she’s categorized ADHD, put on phen phen to control the impulsivity. Her emotions are categorized as outlandish and you must tread lightly in her presence rather than just accepting her for who she is.
– Didn’t we all have the chubby boy who really did nothing but sit in the cafeteria playing cards and eating? Ah ha- this was just a dietary issue. Today he’s a video addict who social inept. Suffice to say that 20 years later we have probably met that boy in passing and now is 100 pounds lighter, happy, and is a successful father and businessman. He chooses his friends wisely based on values rather than aesthetics.
– Who has experienced the star athlete at school die from over usage of steriods and everyone was so shocked because he was the “most likely to succeed”? Who has experienced the strict upbringing of a teenager who was teased and categorized “nerd”, only to see them at the local college hangout drunk as a skunk and now categorized the “alcoholic” ever since they left the parent’s nest?
Teenagers….we over analyse them when all that they are doing is finding their way through life.
“Mom, stop worrying.”, is that an alert for help or is it truly a message to stop worrying?
“Mom, stay out of my business!”, is that what we should be doing? Seriously, our parent’s in the 80’s seen us as normal no matter how truly fucked up we were? I can count on one hand the teenage friend’s who went down the wrong road. Actually, I think my pinky may suffice.
“Mom, I’m depressed, I think a nice new camera would be the solution to my problems. I could find an outlet to release my frustrations.” Bullshit, it’s a game. A game which we taught them at the ripe age of 1. Cry wolf and we’ll buy you a treat to shut you up.
I have a daughter with ADHD and severe learning disabilities. I worried about her the past 15 years. She’s overly emotional and cries all the time when things are wrong. She worries about other people’s happiness before her own. All these years of taking her to physician’s and I’ve finally got it right. REWIND…..I was that way too! She’s a mirror image of me at 15 minus a few key things that I’m very proud to say she didn’t follow suit on.
I share my experience’s with her no matter how hard they are to tell. I make her laugh about my stupid experience’s of sneaking booze, getting drunk at the school dance for the first time and being suspended. I show her the lesson as we talk. I make her concerned when I tell her about the hard times I had, but also provide her with some insight on how I changed my life. I also apologize for my many failures I had as a parent of a first born child.
Will this work? Well, I hope so because loading her up with drugs certainly isn’t a long term solution. Nor is, weekly visits to the shrink’s office. I just don’t want to see her teenage emotions roll into her twenties like I did. I was an angry adult acting like a spoiled teenager until I finally “Got It” no my own. My ways were incorporated into my children’s delicate toddler years. Do I have regrets? You betcha!!!
Of course, there will be times, where she will pull the wool over my eyes and make me believe that things are perfectly normal. REWIND….I did that too. That’s a TEENAGER!
We worry so much medically today that we truly neglect why we are the chosen one’s for our children. Children truly don’t require an over dose of meds, discipline, exterior support, categorizing, sports, or analysing. What they need is love, guidance and a whole bunch of patience and understanding. REWIND…do you remember saying “My parent’s just don’t understand?” Well, it is my considered opinion that what we needed then is exactly what our children need now.
Guide, don’t dictate. Listen, don’t push. Love and hug. Never neglect a situation where a lesson can be learned. Don’t make the small stuff, HUGE.
Did our parent’s screw us up so badly that we have this incessant need to make things better for our children even though it’s the same? I don’t think so…..because I’ve never seen the doctor’s office busier with teenager’s, than I do today.
As in the 50’s. 60’s, 70’s and on, our loved ones are put on this earth to simply walk through this world with us. How we learn and grow with them is up to us. We can only control ourselves for the rest of our lives.
NOTE: This is just my opinion…..we all have our right’s to believe what we believe.