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!