Training up teenagers is NOT easy. It is probably one of the hardest jobs on the planet. Ever.
Teenagers are moody. Teenagers are sensitive. Teenagers are unreasonable. Teenagers make NO sense a lot of the time. Teenagers test every nerve and bit of patience you have. Having a teenager is one of the many things that keeps me awake at night worrying.
My teenager (16 going on 17… admit it, you sang it along with me), is actually a pretty cool kid. She is an artsy type. Loves theater, art, musicals, Greek mythology, Batman, Dr. Who, and all kinds of stuff. She has a pretty decent head on her shoulders, is fairly mature for her age, but still loves a good Disney movie once in a while, (hey we watched her favorite “Hercules” ON her 16th birthday, and yes, her obsession with all things Greek Myth related started at age 2). She loves to read, and will devour just about anything you put in front of her. I started her on Little House books like I did, then she moved on to the Narnia series. She hasn’t stopped since. In fact, as punishment for lack of chore-doing or homework missing, we’ve had to take the books AWAY so she doesn’t sit in “her” spot on the love seat with the little dog and her book lol.
I don’t typically give parenting advice, unless I’m asked. Mostly because when people realize how young *I* am to have a 16 year old, most of them think I don’t have a clue, so they don’t ask. So, first things first, let’s go ahead and get this out there. Yes, I am 35. Yes, you did your math correctly, I was 19 when I had her. I don’t regret a thing. (Hey I’ll be 37 when she graduates high school! Which ironically enough, will be exactly 20 years after I did lol). Do I recommend starting that early for everybody? No. It takes a certain amount of maturity to be able to handle all things parenting related at that age. But, I grew up fast. I worked, paid for my own health insurance, took myself to my doctor’s appointments (and later took DD), moved out on my own, etc etc etc.
That being said. DH and I work VERY hard to make sure that both kids, but especially DD now, take a slightly different path than we did. I want her to go to college (and finish). Even if it’s online from home to get her core stuff out of the way first. I want her to find a career and work hard at it. We are strict parents. We know what we got into as teenagers, and don’t want our kids to follow that path. So yes, gatherings with friends either happen at home, or at a friend’s house with parents in attendance, or somewhere very public, with me there somewhere, (ie walking around the mall). Now, before you think I’m completely neurotic. Yes, DD has a “boyfriend”. He’s actually a great kid, they’ve been friends since day one of their freshman year, and are really great close friends. His parents are of like mind as us. And he has a younger sibling too. Which, by they way, make GREAT chaperones, they LOVE to tattle on older siblings lol.
Recently tho, we found out that one of DD’s friends wasn’t exactly making the best choices in life for a not quite 16 year old (she’s a few months younger than DD). I had noticed, that it seemed to me anyway, that DD was pulling away from said friend, who’s life seems to just be one problem, mass of drama, after another. So, in one of our car rides home, I asked a few questions. Heard about various incidents, both in school and out, and suggested that maybe it was time to pull back a little and not spend as much time with this person. Which I explained, if these are the things that are happening in her life, it’s probably best to keep a distance. Don’t need the “birds of a feather” to become an issue for her. Now, scroll back up to where I said, “Teenagers test every nerve and bit of patience you have”. Read that a few more times lol. Because, not the best decision in this situation, DD told her friend that I said it was best to not spend as much time together. *cue … um… poop and fan please*
This led to two days of angry phone calls, texts, accusations, insults, etc. Among various things, I now know, well, first and foremost, I most definitely made the right decision. I also know, apparently *cough sarcastically* my daughter will never have any friends if she picks them by their grades, O.o , I’m a horrible mother for taking my DD away during such a tough time, (tough time being that apparently there is stalking by an ex of the “friend” and um… I want my daughter near that WHY?!?), and that people think I can be manipulated by a crying teenager on the phone. O.o again, I’ve been at this for 16 years, plus I have two nieces, two sisters, and have been around kids most of my life of various ages. C’mon I was a theater kid my WHOLE life. (not to mention, I’m just not one of those overly emotional chicks. I’m more likely to cry when I’m pissed off than I am at a book or movie. Sorry ladies, but I just don’t deal with tears well, I’m more likely to tell you to suck it up and fix it lol)
Now, yes I mentioned we are strict. And I’m not kidding. Lets go ahead and be blunt. There’s really only one reason two teenagers want to spend time alone. And well. We all know what THAT can get you. So, yes, although I trust that we have taught DD well the consequences of sex, I don’t trust two hormonal teenagers to necessarily make the right decision. And so, yes, I am going to suggest that it’s not a good thing for my DD to spend a lot of time with someone who not only is consummating her relationship with a boyfriend, but being allowed to have sleep overs with said person. *facedesk* Sorry, but I will judge you on how you parent. I won’t tell you how to parent your child, we all have different styles. And if it works for you and your kids GREAT. But don’t come crying to me when they drop out of school, tell you they hate you, run away, get pregnant, or whatever, and ask me “What happened?!?”. Mostly because you won’t like it when I tell you it’s because you were too worried about being their friend to actually be their PARENT.
You are the parent. You are in charge. You are NOT their friend. Yes, they have feelings, and those feelings are valid, but sometimes you are going to hurt those feelings. Teenagers need to hear “no” just as often as a 2 year old. Allowing your child to make all their own decisions and force your hand on giving into them are just manipulating you. I’ve heard it before “they’ll run away”. Okay, fine, call the cops, worry, pace, freak out, but let the cops find them and bring them home. “They’ll hate me”. You have NO idea how mean I thought my dad was when I was a teenager. Looking back, he was just doing it all to protect me. If you’re really worried about them hurting themselves, that’s what therapy is for (or just having them admitted, you again are the parent and can have them put on a suicide watch if you are that concerned). If you are really worried about them hurting someone else, be careful, but be ready to call the police. Let them realize that there are consequences to acting that way. That’s the BIGGEST problem I see today. Too many parents want to be friends with their kids, and don’t force them to realize there are consequences to their actions. You are not here to be their friend. Not now. Once they have turned into functioning adults, sure no problem, but not as teenagers (or younger).
*end rant*… ish
I am going to end this with one of my favorite pictures I’ve used on Facebook lately when seeing posts about teenagers. It’s great, and some day I will either find this or make this. lol
Going to end this here for today. Just remember. Parenting is HARD, parenting is WORK, but parenting is the MOST rewarding job out there. Smile everybody!