If you have teens, or have had them, you may be able to relate to why I am up at midnight unable to sleep, no grown up in my life to share this moment with right now so I instead will turn my thoughts to the random abyss I call cyberspace.
Teens suck because no matter how many times we assure them that we have been there, right there in their shoes, they feel the need to argue about the differences in our time/space realities. How we could not possibly have experiences similar to theirs when we grew up pre-Internet, pre cell phones, in a time and place where kids got warnings for things instead of adult consequences. And that part is true. Things were different for us but there are still basic adolescent experiences that transcend most time/space warps.
They suck because they refuse to believe that when we say no to things or put limitations around things, it isn’t because we don’t trust them or we are strict or we just want to keep them from growing up. And they suck because, really? That last part IS true. But mostly it’s because we want to protect them.
Becoming an adult is not all its cracked up to be. It brings harsh realities and tough choices and consequences beyond a weeks worth of grounding. Growing up means having problems mom and dad can’t fix anymore and broken hearts and mistakes you can never take back. And I don’t ever want my babies to ever have to know about those ugly things that I can’t fix for them. I don’t want them to have worries I can’t soothe with a hug and a kiss or a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream. I don’t want them grow up.
I want them to go down to the basement, play Xbox and let when I am bringing snack down be their biggest worry. And they suck cause they don’t want that anymore.
They are anxious to get into the big wide world and make their mistakes, have their fun, and be adults. No words or warnings or stories of our experience matters. Cause we aren’t them. They aren’t stupid enough to make bad choices like we may have from time to time. And even if they do, hey, we turned out alright in the end, right? And as good parents we say “right” while in the backs of our heads knowing there are things we wish we did differently or things we wish we could fix but telling them those stories aren’t really going to help them. That’s our hindsight.
So we are left with just smiling and saying, “yes, you are right, I am saying no to whatever it is you want in this moment because I suck. That is my job as a parent. To make sure I ruin any possible shot you have at a little bit of fun in your life. They made me sign a contract at the hospital before I was able to take you home. I looked into your eyes at the moment you were born and I agreed, because I loved you more than I ever thought humanly possibly, that I would do whatever it took to protect you as long as I was on this Earth and probably beyond. And now that you are becoming an adult that is getting harder and harder to do. So can we please just stop the arguing? I’ll absolutely, positively agree with you.
But it’s only because I take this parenting job so seriously.”