Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Yes they could. Wish they would. And they will...

Question: Couldn't they be more tidy, helpful, organized, energetic, communicative, affectionate, sensitive, thoughtful, respectful, generous??

Answer: Yes they could. I wish they would. And they will ... someday.

I am talking about teenagers. Oh sure, we all think our little, sweet faced, cherub-cheeked child will be the one who escapes the dark side of puberty ... who doesn't morph into the body of attitude that seems in many cases to accompany the foray into adulthood. But you will probably not dodge this bullet ... unless of course your spawn is not of this earth. : )

[Gross generalization alert]

You too will awake one morning to a mumbled response to your cheery "good morning". You too may be the object of impassioned pleas of why they have to go there and need that and stay out that long, with those friends. You too may lose sight of your child, lost in a three foot high clothing collection consisting of pretty much everything they have worn, tried on, that has arrived as nice piles of clean clothes, and those that have been salvaged from random backpacks and sports bags. You too may suddenly find yourself behind enemy lines (how did I get here??) ... fighting for the other side - or rather, be told that you are. You may also find yourself the subject of excruciating scrutiny and the extensive inventory of your misdeeds and shortcomings - the source of all your teen's angst and problems. You will be challenged at every turn ... even at the most innocent of suggestions or even compliments ....

"I think you played really well in that game."
"No I didn't. You don't know ... you're my mom."

"Honey, make sure you get lots of sleep -- you have a big day tomorrow".
"Ya Mom. I know that. I'm the one living it."

Parents be forewarned. It happens suddenly, quickly, without warning. One day they wake up, and you find you have been toppled from your pedestal; no longer the answer to all of their questions; no longer the centre of their universe; nor the source of everything they need, unless it's lunch money.

But it's not all gloom and doom. This state of change and strange is temporary, and necessary for both. Teenager needs the space to assert their new found, greatly desired independence. Parents need to see some ugly to help us loosen our grip and let go -- just a little.

When I wonder what to insist upon, what rule to enforce, how much and how far to push, I think back to my own teen years ... I hear my mom telling us to keep our bedrooms doors closed. I recall her telling me as a parent to pick my battles and not to sweat the small stuff (the stuff that isn't risky, unhealthy, dangerous or illegal).

These teen creatures who we love so dearly are a work in progress and one day, just as quickly as they left, they will come back to us. And they will ... someday.


  1. With both my kids now nearer 40 than 14, I guess I'm laughing!


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