Teenagers – A Menace to Society
We are starting our week on a Tuesday, thanks to a national holiday, and we are writing about Raising Teens. Next week we’ll write about putting your hands over your neck and hiding under a desk as protection from an atomic bomb. We do not raise teens. We restrain them until they are no longer a threat to themselves of others.
Paul says: I do not like teenagers very much. I am not being mean about it. It is just that my adolescent years were so horrendous, marred with acne, limbs that seemingly moved on their own and a struggle to find a hairstyle that wasn’t best described as oily. Looking at a teen trying to climb their way out of the hormone sludge quicksand tends to whisk me back to about 95% of my entire childhood trauma.
But if we have children, we need to raise them all the way through their youth. We are not allowed to send them somewhere when they turn 13, but I would be willing to sign legislation to that effect. Our teen daughter has just begun to cross over from annoying to ‘kinda’ cool. In the last month, she has become oddly responsible for her own stuff. She is coming home daily and talking about college and scholarships and classes that she needs to take to make her more appealing to universities. My wife and I have taken a collective sigh of relief at this new development.
The big realization was that she was becoming the woman that I hoped that she would be and not the person that I feared that I made her. The tragedy of adolescence is that the teen spends so much time trying to not be you that it makes who you are stand out. Every fear, every worry, and every self-doubt shine like a beacon. Very few parents say ‘I want you to do it right like I did’ but the words ‘I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I did’ is a mantra. Parents raise their children through the filters of their own emotions. Let’s face it, I hated my early adolescence so I assume that my children would too. I am working hard to dispel this belief in me while not transferring it to them.
I find myself being positive with my daughter, which I think is the reciprocal shift in me. I say things like ‘take the easy class. You already have two APs and 3 honors classes’. This is in stark contrast to my fear based parenting that would force her to take another hard class so that she can better measure up. In talking about her going away to college, I see her eyes light up and, surprisingly, I see Lee’s light up. I also know that I am glowing too. Not because we are getting her out of the house – not only because we are getting her out of the house – but because she is walking an independent but parallel path to ours. She is doing what she wants and in her own way but like we taught her.
Now to deal with the two boys. Lord help me.
Lee says: In the words of the lovely classic, ‘Teenagers scare the living shit out of me!’ Chemical Romance may be slightly exaggerating my feelings but sometimes it does not go far enough. I am constantly amazed at the stupid of a teenager. I am constantly amazed at the lemming quality of teenagers. Frankly, I am always impressed when a teenager survives this stage of development.
Unfortunately, they need to do all of this to grow up. If your child does not rebel, think you are an idiot or completely disregard your advice, you may be raising a robot who will eventually try to take over your home and family. If not a robot, this child may be unable to adjust to independent living and differentiate from you. Frankly, the thought that what our teenager has done is to insure her own growth is little comfort. Our emotional scars are not even comforted by ice cream. Ah, the life of a parent.