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Guest Posting: A Mother’s Angst.. I Have A Teen, Now WHAT?

Give me a baby and I’m golden. I can change a diaper, wipe a nose, fix a boo-boo, clean up vomit, feed, and read a book all while drinking coffee and paying bills, but a teen? Here’s the deal, this “teen parenting” thing, I’m not very good at it, it’s hard and well, it sucks most of the time. Heck, I wasn’t really that great at being a teen let alone trying to impart parental wisdom on one.

Okay, here’s the back story: My oldest son is 16 and the truth is, I’m not so sure I know him right now. It’s scary, I mean, this sweet boy who used to cling to my legs and openly give hugs and kisses has suddenly become fluent in grunts and eye rolls. What’s even scarier, I am not so sure I WANT to know him right now. Every conversation I try to start, every question I ask, is like walking on eggshells. No worse, it’s like walking through a minefield, praying that the topic or God forbid, question about how his day was, doesn’t blow up in my face. Yes, he’s growing up and it’s “all part of the age” but does he have to be such a jerk about it?  He just unfriended me on Facebook for clicking “like” on his baby picture, a picture I snapped myself, by the way. Yes, I did check his Facebook page periodically; it was a way that I could see what is going on in his life outside of our home (since he doesn’t tell me) and to see what the kids he is hanging around with are up to, basically to stay involved in his life from a far. I never commented on anything nor did I bring up the various inappropriate pictures or remarks posted by his peers, instead filing them away for future reference if needed. Yes, I check; doesn’t every parent?

You know what else? The “if you see something, say something” rule is not so cut and dry in the teen parenting department. For example, my son recently returned home from a get together at a friend’s house and I could tell that he had been drinking. He lied at first but, after a half hour of intense interrogation, finally admitted to it (after which he was grounded for a month). Do I let the other parents know this took place at their home? And if I do will it come back on my son and cause problems with him and his group of friends?  If it’s a parent I know well (in this case I did not) then the answer is clear, I make the phone call. But what if you don’t know them very well? Some parents are just not open to hearing things about their own children and there is inevitably some sort of fallout for my child and, even in some cases, for myself. I speak from experience on this and I don’t understand it. Aren’t we, the parents of teens, all in this together? Shouldn’t we be? I could definitely use a little help here.

I do respect my son’s privacy, he has his own bedroom & bathroom and I rarely enter but that’s where his privacy stops. As long as he lives under my roof, I have a right to know what he is doing, who he is hanging out with, where they are going and what they are doing there. It’s my job! He is my responsibility! Because even though I don’t like him that much right now, I love him more than even he can fathom.

So, he can talk back to me or not talk at all but as much as it hurts I have a job to do and I don’t need him to like me while I am doing it. Being the parent of a teen is very difficult, extremely frustrating and it can be downright ugly. There are plenty of times when I have lost my cool and plenty of nights I have cried myself to sleep. I don’t always know the right thing to say or do, this is my first time doing this “teen” thing and I have three more to go after this one (Lord give me strength). I just have to keep trying to make him see that this “nosy” Mom cares about him more than anyone and hopefully we’ll both make it through this without any irreparable damage.

The truth is, I just don’t know right now.

Are any of you parents of teens? How have you or are you dealing with some of this? Are you on the other side and if so what advice do you have? Share it QUICK!

 

Susan Pazera is mom to four great kids, ages 16, 10, 9, and 5. Along with keeping things flowing at home, she’s also editor, publisher, blogger and PR/Marketing Executive for Macaroni Kid, LLC. Susan loves people, travel, fitness, Disney, & all things family friendly!

 

8 Comments

  1. Ella Rucker

    December 18, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Wow, Susan. I definitely feel your fear. I’m the parent of a “tween” and I already see me counting down the day to 18 and hopefully him moving out. UGH! I’m sure things get better and you will learn with the first one and each successive teen will get easier…but not easy 🙂

  2. Sandra Sharp

    December 18, 2011 at 11:11 am

    My 19 year-old is proof that Karma is alive and well. My biggest tool was that my son and his friends all thought I was a bit on the crazy side. If they were out, and Drew wouldn’t answer his cell or was out too late….I would call his friends and say have Drew call or you all get your bums home or I will hunt you down …. in my jammies! I got an immediate response, as everyone knew I would be out hunting them down in my jammies looking like a wild woman! I also, well, I have a temper. Being a single mom of two boys, that temper has served me well!

  3. Susan

    December 18, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Thanks Ella! Just taking it day by day at this point and some are better than others. Hoping to make it through in one piece! Xo

  4. Susan

    December 18, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Hi Sandra, my son thinks I’m crazy too and he also thinks I a total bitch ( which, he gets me to thatpoint often) These past few months have been brutal..!

  5. That Writing Chic

    December 18, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I’m the ELATED mom of a 24 year old girl and a 16 year old son. Susan, we should truly connect offline. The teen years have NOTHING on the “terrible two’s”. And I’ve learned that while boys and girls may experience the same things, they react to them differently.

    Last year with my son was HELL! My life was in turmoil and I was considering things that should NEVER be an option. I thought I knew what tough love was after dealing with my daughter. NOPE. My son pushed me to the MAX of my limits. I had to become the mom that called the police on my child. I had to become the mom that was at home living in fear of the 2 am phone call, because I had no idea where my son was. And I had become the mom that experienced things that I could not have even fathomed that I would endure. Not from MY BABY BOY!

    But, I will tell you, that I am now the PROUD mom of a 16 year old who young man who has had to learn some lessons along the way. My son whose behavior and grades were so out of control, that graduating seem like an impossibility is now back to A’s & B’s. My irresponsible teen who kicked in my door, now has a job, working in a pediatrician’s office. And my son, who would be irritated by ANY show of affection, who unfriended me on FB, who NEVER abided by curfew, is now the son who randomly whips up breakfast for me – unprompted. He’s the son who volunteered this morning, to run an errand for me, so I could rest longer. He’s the son who taught me the value of patience, tough love and the power of a praying mom, who loves him so much that it hurts at times. And he’s the son that I have learned to trust so much, that I don’t care if he NEVER friends me on FB.

    It doesn’t get easier with each one – each of them are people and many of their struggles in teen years are brought on by things that exist OUTSIDE of your home. The biggest lesson that I learned throughout his process is that kids, especially teens, need validation, acceptance and encouragement – more than anything else. I thought I knew that before – until I became tested. It’s not easy to encourage someone when they speak unimaginable words in your face or when they are at their worst.

    At the HEIGHT of the drama, I was counting the days that I would no longer be responsible for him. NOW, I count the hours until the next time that I will be able to spend time with him again. I know it doesn’t mean that we won’t have challenges again. But, I do know that we have FINALLY figured a way to work them out. And I couldn’t be happier!

    FYI – you are NOT alone. Not many people are honest about what is happening with their children and I applaud you for being honest.

  6. Susan

    December 18, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    THANK YOU so much for your story and your encouragement! We will definitely have to connect very soon..I have felt so hopeless lately and so unsure of how to parent him. I am so afraid to do or say the wrong thing, I don’t want to drive him further away and have him rebel even more. It has been a very trying year for us and I can only pray that things will get better and that I have the wisdom and patience to get through this incredibly difficult stage.

  7. jake

    March 11, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    i go thru this at home my parents dont understand me im gay os ya they always ask me wat im doing who im tlking to just let them be themseleves like dnt push unless they want to tell you or dnt bother them to much 🙂 and you’ll do grate.

  8. parent_too

    April 17, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    God! I could have written this post myself.

    THANK YOU for making me feel as if I am not the only one going through this. My loving, bright and empathetic son has turned into a grumpy, obnoxious jerk who, by the way, has just unfriended me from FB too!

    I know it’s probably just a phase and that he will grow out of it but right now I feel like dealing with the perils of the teenage years will surely kill me!

    Through Facebook I have read and seen WAY too many things that his peers (and he) is doing and some of it is risky and stupid. Maybe it’s sneaky to check into his life and his friends lives but I can’t help but feel like it is something that has to be done.

    I sincerely hope that other parents going through this can find some solace in knowing that we are all in this together. I know I did after reading this post.

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