They say kids don’t come with owner’s manuals. Nothing can feel more true than if you are raising a teenager, especially if they are smart. They are moody, confrontational, defensive, irrational, grumpy. It’s awful. You go about raising them thinking to yourself, was I this bad?! My parents would NEVER have let me get away with this stuff! Then you have flashbacks that remind you of things you actually did put your parents through and you think…oohh…crap… Then you call your parents an apologize telling them how much you love and appreciate all they did for you.
Then, maybe, out of respect or an effort to pay homage to your parents you start sounding like them, saying things you used to HATE to hear. Ugh…why is this so hard?!!
Here’s the bad news: parenting teenagers is difficult. They are so smart and sometimes hilarious and have so much potential, but….”meh…whatever…they don’t care.”
Here’s the good news. You do have an owners manual of sorts. Statistically speaking the old proverb that kids you make will treat you the way you treated your parents is pretty accurate. Kids are genetically predisposed to be just like you. Ugh…what dumb science is that!? It is good news though, because you are not a teen anymore. You have been there and been through it. You try to tell them this, of course, but they don’t care. Because they are not interested in reading your memoirs yet. Someday they will be. Right now, the best thing you can do is remember. Remember what it was like to be 15, 16, 17 and 18. Yeah, they don’t have to spend time rewinding the cassette tapes with their pencils and you have no idea how hard it is to be a teen while having the whole universe on your phone waiting to judge you. There are ways that you can’t understand your kids. But you CAN remember the things you longed for. Remember what you wish your parents had given you, or said to you, or done for you. Remember how scary it was to make your own decisions but how hell bent you were to make them. Once you have reflected and remembered what you deeply longed for, try to give that to your struggling young adult.
Here’s a hint if you’re having trouble: it might be encouragement, praise, acceptance, or space to fail.
Hey I never said giving it would be easy.
If you are raising a teen and feel like you need to talk about it or need them to talk to someone, call me. 803.761.0324