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Teen Push/Pull

Ever had a teenager?  Ya… me neither.  But I WAS a teenager once, and I thought I could “bring it all to the table” when it came my time to parent one.

(Insert Minion Laughter here)

This morning, I realized that my daughters are heading into full blown teenager-hood…. attitude, entitlement and all…..

And as I laid in bed this morning, I wondered to myself whether or not I should….worry…..

And of course, I knew the answer before the entire thought escaped my brain…..NO – well, and YES!

These are the teen years and there will be a lot of push and pull going on.  The years of individuating from the parents and the beginning of spreading wings, so to speak.  I don’t really NEED to know every crevice of my childrens lives, nor should I want to.  I just need to make sure that the choices they are making in these years are in their best interest, and to be there when they fall.

Now, I can already hear some parents out there screaming at me to MONITOR EVERYTHING!!!  And the truth is….. I can’t! Nor do I have the wherewithall to try.  What I do know at this point is my investigations up til now have led me to believe all is well.

When I was a kid, my parents knew VERY little about me!  I was the 4th out of 5 children, so the microscope turned off long ago (probably somewhere between kid 2 and 3 right after kid 4 was born).  I was gone from the house most of the time and when I got my license and a car, I would call my mom from San Diego to ask for my Aunt’s phone number so I could stop by for a visit (which was about 80 miles away…)  At first, my mom was shocked, because I was only 16.  But then it was almost a game of “where’s Cathy now?”.  Only, she really didn’t ask that question, because she didn’t care. I always came home for dinner……

Nowadays, kids are under a microscope.  It’s a WHOLE NEW WORLD (not to steal from Aladdin, but it is what it is). Parent’s barely let their own kids pack for a trip, because they are afraid they will forget something.  If my kids forget something, they are on their own and they know it.  I’m not as hands on as some parents.  That’s not to say I’m not involved, because I totally am.  I just don’t hover….

That said, I have been thinking a lot lately about exactly how much to pull back and respect, and when to push forward and ask pertinent questions.  And the truth is, I don’t really know.  I’m kind of in a black hole of uncertainty.

The thing I know about teens is they will inherently lie at some point.  They will throw a tude, shut down, yell, cry, ask for LOTS of MONEY,  and maybe if you are lucky… throw an “I HATE YOU” in your direction!  Ahhhhhhh then you will KNOW you are doing a good job as a parent!

I’ve seen a lot of growth in my older one this year.  I’ve seen changes.  Some are great and some…well…they just are what they are.  I can’t go back now.  I have a few short years before I send her off to college.  I have just a few more years to get her to see what she becomes!   The younger one has been “of teen mind” for a few years….. I have my work cut out for me with that one!

I pray every day that I make right decisions and I go to bed every night wondering if there was something else I can do.

And the bottom line is, I like who my teens are.  They are funny, have great friends, they’re smart, and a really good people (told to me by their friends, which is huge).  They also loves their parents and their family.  They look people in the eye when they are talking, respects adults, love children and are great students.  I’m very grateful for my kids and no matter what they put me through (as long as it doesn’t kill us), I will be proud of them.

In the meantime, I will appreciate every day I get with them!!!  And keeping praying a LOT!!!