Our daughter Grace is now, officially 13. As you may recall from the blog before this one, she was anxiously awaiting the big day when she would finally be a TEEN. Looking back, I don’t really remember those teen years being all that great (except that I met Thomas then – love you, honey!)
So now Thomas and I have another teenager on our hands. Thankfully, we still have “little” Grant who is 11. Unfortunately, with three other teenagers in the house, he seems to have already fallen into early teenhood. It’s a mighty influence, I admit.
On her birthday, I gave Grace the same (spoiler alert) useless speech that I gave her older sister and then brother when they turned 13. It goes something like this: “Your dad and I have always welcomed each new stage of your lives and have never tried to hold you back. We recognize that part of being a teenager is separating yourself from us, figuring out who you are as an individual and not just somebody’s child. Most kids feel the only way to make that separation is by being rude and disrespectful and generally horrendous to their parents. Well, missy/mister, that might be the case for kids whose parents are overly strict sticks-in-the-mud who can’t accept their children growing up. But you’re lucky because your dad and I aren’t like that. In fact, we encourage and welcome your growing up and going out onto your own. Therefore, I want you to know that you don’t need to (and shouldn’t) be THAT kind of teenager. You can figure out who you are, what your interests and tastes and opinions are, separate from us without being a jerk about it, ok?”
Is that mocking laughter I hear from you readers out there? I know, I know, it’s naïve to think that any teenager is going to get through those years without being a mean, rude, pain. However, it makes me feel much, much better to know that at least I put the notion out there. And, yes, I remind them of my crazy idea often, when they are at their snottiest. I like to augment it with, “You know, you are much more likely to get what you want from us if you talk to us decently…” This does, actually, work and it worked pretty well all their years… up until now.
Heeeeheeeeheeeheee! My dear wifey is such a card. I believe this phase is a normal, natural and unavoidable part of growing up. No amount of reasoning and pleading will change the inevitable forces of nature- or of teenhood. It is hard to deal with and no fun… but really, it is necessary as it allows BOTH parent & child to separate. Imagine if this did NOT happen! Kids would never leave home, and parents would always remain The Caregiver/Provider/Final Word…That sounds exhausting! There is a certain logic to all the ways of nature, and even if it hurts sometimes, it is the way it should be.