Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bring It On!

Being the parent of teens can be challenging, even with great kids. (yes I have great kids. Have I not mentioned that before?) There are worries about friendships and relationships, a word that makes a small patch of skin just below my breastbone break out in a rash. (I think it may be the ulcer burning to the surface.) Parents of teens (even really great ones) worry. People who have been entirely your responsibility for years are suddenly out in the world supervised only by a guilty conscious and their own moral compass.

They want more freedom, they crave it, plan it and fight for it, Of course they usually require a ride to and from their freedom and someone to finance it.

Teenagers never have clean clothes. I know that teens are smart, they continually remind me by proclaiming "I'm not stupid." Why, do they not know then, that clothes do not walk from the bedroom floor to the laundry room?

Only a teenager could stand in the middle of the kitchen while you unpack $200 worth of groceries and complain that there is nothing to eat. At that moment it takes every ounce of strength not to chuck a grapefruit at their head.

As the parent of a teen you are directly responsible for plan failure. How this happens I am not sure, all I am certain of is that if a BFF can't make it to the movie because her BF's parents said he couldn't leave the will pay. A simple "what movie are you seeing?" will be successfully twisted into a high pitched discussion about the number of ways you are single handedly destroying a life.

In a comedic irony we are directly responsible to authorities for the attendance, performance and success of scholastic life. Have you ever asked a teen to do their homework?

There are serious issues that rob us of sleep. The minefield of adolescent dangers is ever growing and the urban dictionary is usually a good six months behind. By the time information about the latest narcotic party games, conquest challenges and social network threats filter to your facebook, it's old news.

Yes, parenting teens, even really great ones (yes, I have great kids. I'm not so much reminding you as I am reminding myself.) is challenging. I have a long way still to go on this portion of our parenting journey. Our youngest has yet to enter adolescence. Lord help me, there are days when I wonder if I'll come out the other side. It takes a thick skin not to take it personally. It takes enormous emotional fortitude to weather the hormonal storms. It takes a ridiculous amount of resolve to stand your ground. It takes an infinate measure of faith to withstand the worry.

I'm not going to lie, there are days that end with me curled into to the fetal position with a box of kleenex. There are days when I think they are going to defeat me. There are days when I am sure I don't have what it takes to get them through this right of passage. Some days I don't know where I will find the strength.

Then I get a text like this...

KJ wants to be picked up from her sleepover at dinner not lunch.

...and instantly the batteries recharge!

I'm grateful that teenagers think they are so smart. They remind me that I am stronger than I give myself credit for. Bring it on!