This shit is not for the weak. When I had little babies I remember parents of teens commenting on how they’d love to switch places with me and my toddler. Sometimes even mid-grocery-store tantrum. I would just look at them like, “WTF are you saying to me right now?! Your teen can wipe his own ass. Your teenager can have a fairly reasonable conversation about boundaries. Your teenager does not wake you up three times a night or try to sleep in your bed.”
Little did I know.
Right now, smack dab in the middle of parenting a gay 15 year old young man who radiates superiority and adolescent indestructibility, i’m quite happy to relive potty training and tantrums. At least the most unhealthy relationship I have to worry about is inviting the allergy kid to a birthday party. The homework struggle is nonexistent. Too much Sesame Street was the only screen time fretting. And I may have been equally clueless then as I am now, but the stuff I didn’t know regarding my toddler would not result in therapy if I did it wrong. .. at least not immediately. My pediatrician could fill in most of the blanks.
Passwords, hidden assignments, group texts, school activities, social dynamics, its all a shit show here! You have to keep an eye on them all the time, but they want to be alone on an island… with Doordash privileges. You are thrown back into the mentality you became accustomed to when they were toddlers of trying to keep them from offing themselves with electrical outlets and drinking bleach, but now its preventing online predators and text-obsessed drivers. This harrowing gauntlet is only for those with strong constitutions.
Or maybe its just my own 15 year old? Maybe I’m the only person needing to consult the owners manual? I keep seeing and reading about how they need space, they need autonomy and I cant help but wonder, Do They? Really? Allowing my hormone-riddled entitled kid to be his own manager is a recipe for disaster and couples therapy.
There is a reason families sent their kids off to serve apprenticeships in the mid-centuries. There are reasons countries have normalized boarding schools. Its to maintain sanity for the non-teens in the house!
My 11 year old daughter is really getting the shit end of the stick these days. The most attention she’s gotten recently was because she broke her damn arm! I know i’m just telling on myself right now, but my teen seriously monopolizes the drama tolerance for my husband and I lately. By the time we realize and remember that we have 2 kids in the house, the drain of energy and sanity has already taken over.
The constant pull of giving space and independence, and then supporting them so they know there is always a soft place to land. Watching them make mistakes and bad decisions without inserting your own opinion because you know exactly how it’s going to end.
How to get a point across in the 30 second time limit their brains have before they shut you off.
How not to laugh when they say something cliché like, “You dont understand, MooooOOOOOm! You dont know what it’s like to be a teen in high school in 2021 during a pandemic. You don’t know what it’s like to be a gay kid.”
You are correct. But you know what I do know? How to take what i’m given, apply some common sense, and come out vertical. You teens don’t know what it’s like to wait for dial-up. You teens don’t know the thrill of seeing that you have an email. You don’t know how to ride a bike through traffic without the crutch of a cell phone. If you wipe out, go down, crash, you still had to get your ass home. You didn’t know the terror of needing to get to the mall just to have a shot at getting turned down by the mulleted gamer in the arcade.
We all have our struggles and crosses to bear, kids. Just because your parents did not live through your exact struggles didn’t mean they didn’t have their own. We had parents that worked. Parents who didn’t understand positive parenting and support versus strict consequences regardless. You know why? Because THEIR parents lived through a World War. You think my grandparents cared if my mom didn’t turn in an assignment?! You think my grandparents gave a rats ass if Bobby shoved you down on the playground? These people lived through their own parents surviving a World War.
Don’t get me wrong, society has grown leaps and bounds in many areas of acceptance and change. In my opinion, there have been massive amounts of change in a relatively short amount of time compared to other generations within the last 200 years. We still have a long way to go, but lets have some perspective for crapsakes.
Anyway. Long story short, Teens are hard. Marginalized members of teens are a whole other plane of complicated and difficult. I know I can do it, and I know we will get through it but DAMNIT, it’s hard. This stuff wears you down mentally and emotionally.
Thank god for Ted Lasso. Roy Kent can come manage my kid any day.