“Your kids require you most of all to love them for who they are, not to spend your whole time trying to correct them.” - Bill Ayers
There are parents who really do see all the great stuff about teenagers. I just love the article below by Lisa Pullen Kent in The Huffington Post. After all - there really are some big bonuses as your kids grow up and start thinking for themselves and characters becomes formed and identifiable.
One of the things I remember enjoying as my kids moved into their teens was conversation. Driving them to school was less of a chore with some banter and conversation to lighten the mood.
Instead of little creatures that staring wide eyed at strangers who came to the house, they started greeting people and even engaging them in conversation. They needed some encouragement to to this - but it happens.
Lisa Pullen Kent makes a great point in this article. She says her children "felt safe" to come to her with anything. That's so important. What does it mean?
"I love teenagers. I do. Everything about them: the awkward, the self-conscious, even the angry bits. I'm especially intrigued by the way they shed their childhood like a skin and emerge a newer, older version of themselves. I even kind of love parenting teenagers. I know--it sounds nuts, but I feel I hit my stride as a mom when my kids hit double digits.
My babies slathered me with sloppy, open-mouthed kisses and clung to me like monkeys with their dimpled fingers; their miniature selves extensions of my body, not quite separate. Pressing them, sweet smelling and downy to my chest, was intoxicating. It comforted me as much as them. But there was the sleep-deprivation and the crying and the poop. So much poop. Not my fave.
My toddlers left sticky hand prints on the walls, dropping crumbs in their wake and careening clumsily through our days, insisting loudly, "No do it!" Mini-tyrants, they asserted their independence and in conquering their world, dominated mine. Adorable to grandmotherly types who no longer dealt with blow out tantrums and whole gallons of spilt milk. Pass.
My preschoolers asked thousands of questions starting with "Why . . . ?" Insatiably curious, they chased sensory input with the sole purpose of soaking up knowledge . . . and destroying my house. Their constant motion and boundless energy siphoned me dry. Plus, the requisite mommy activities filled me with dread: crafts was code for a special sort of hell surrounded by scissors, glue, and a million tiny beads. Not my best skill set.
In elementary school, baby-fat gave way to long legs as my kids morphed into capable young people with new skills and talents. They lived large and played hard and the noise threshold hovered around ear shattering, leaving me slightly deaf and functionally catatonic. No thanks.
By pre-pubescence, mysterious internal stirrings accompanied outward signs of impending change. On the cusp of a developmental leap, my children remained child-ish, but their sense of savvy and street smarts emerged. Thinking for themselves and testing limits, their personalities started taking shape and I enjoyed their unique brand of humor and conversation. All in all, a delightful stage, except for the hygiene: showers, toothpaste and clean underwear -- not even on their radar.
With full-on adolescence, things got much more complicated; the physical work of parenting shifted dramatically to mental stress and strain. I expected the hormonal mood swings, the acne, the shocking growth spurts and voice changes, but I did not foresee that while their bodies mimicked adulthood and their psyches masked a false bravado, their brains -- and hearts -- remained immature and thus vulnerable. They were babies in grownup bodies. What I wanted most was to keep them talking; I believed that communication is key to navigating the rough waters of parent-teen relationships and in my book, we succeeded. They felt safe enough to come to me with anything. Well, 'aaaal-most anything,' according to my husband..."
Please share and comment if you enjoyed this article - Thanks!