Why I'll never write a book about raising teens

I can't believe I have to do this four more times.  With having a 14 year old, I'm only two years into the teen phase, and I'm not sure I'm going to make it.

The way I understand it is that all kids go through this insane transition period.  A parent can either choose to recognize, confront and fail, or stick their head in the ground and choose to be unaware of the surrounding situation.
There are many times the ground sounds appealing, but my head is erect and I'm aware these insane days are around us.  I

shouldn't say it's ALL bad, but pretty much.  Because even in the calm, all you're doing is waiting for the storm to come out.

I've been reading multiple books and talking to counselors just trying to figure out what is right and what is wrong.  But basically I figured out I'm doing it all wrong.  
Allow Freedom - I hate this one.  She doesn't always make the best choices, so how should I allow freedom?  It's like the challenge of getting a job. You can't get one unless you have experience.  You can't get experience unless you have a job.   
Choose your battles - Another one I'm not very good at.  We both love a good challenge, but I am learning to bite my tongue on the things that won't harm them or anyone else.
Decide rules and discipline in advance - I really need to do that.  Instead I tend to just give a blanket response, "If you do that, you'll never leave the house again"
Let kids feel guilty - If they do something wrong, they should feel bad about it.  Love this one - I have no problem imposing guilt.
Teach them to make decisions - hmm, I kind of like being the one that makes decisions.
Give them random drug testing if you suspect - I think it's much better to have them involved in sports.  Most schools do random testing and kids are much more afraid of their coach than they are of their parent.
Allow them to fail - Oh so hard to watch this one happen.  I try to lay out the keys too success, but she does what she wants anyway.  Academic failures are difficult to watch but what's even more painful are the fashion fails.  Sometimes I just shrink inside when I watch her walk out the door in those ensembles.  I guess I should be grateful that she never really got into the bright blue eyeshadow phase.  Hmm, there's probably still time.
Stay in touch with their teachers - I use to be great at that.  However with five kids and multiple teachers, I can't possibly keep up.  However I do e-mail when there's a problem.
Don't buy your teen a car - I still have another year and a half to think about it, and I use to be a strong believer in this one.  However, whoever made this rule didn't have to drive their kid to school every day for 5:30 am swim practice.
Be involved in the school's PTO - the recommendation is that the kid will internally feel proud that their parent is involved.  Oh I've done this route before and I'm over it.  The politics and pretension

were too much for me.

Don't be their friend, but get to know their friends - this one's the easiest for me.  She actually has some great friends so it's actually pleasant to be around them.  I also have some great girlfriends my own age, and happily have no desire to sneak back into the teenage world.
So yep, apparently I'm doing most of it all wrong.  I'll do what I can to improve and follow the experts, but I'm hoping the fact that I love my teen deeply and unconditionally, that I'll be allowed to sneak through this in one piece.  
Since this is my first, I'll be curious to see how much my struggle changes as I get to my fifth. However by then I'll probably be too old and tired to care.  


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  • Love this! Hang in there.

    I'm a total believer in reading up on things. At times, I completely parent from a book...or seminar. My favorite seminar talked about raising all your kids like their you eldest--easier said than done. Try telling your older two kids that the youngest one is in charge while you're out. :) But, I did it and honestly my youngest is probably the most responsible of them all. :) The failure part is hard. I watch so many of my friends struggle with this--the homework, the projects, the classes, the friendships. One expert says, "If it's not going to kill them, let them make the mistake." Like letting my kid out the door this morning without a winter coat. She's nuts, but she's not going to freeze to death in the 100 feet to the bus stop.

    Good luck. Keep your humor. May God help us all. :)

  • P.S. I'm not even religious and I can't believe I just bid you farewell with that phrase. But that's how desperate things can get, I guess. :)

  • P.P.S. In case I happen to come off above like I'm some sort of know it all, you should know I threw a chicken carcass at my 14 year old the other day. Well, not at him, only it did go near him. Not that I'm making excuses but I was on day 5 of a migraine, I had a cold, the husband's out of town, I despise the holidays, had been crying over one thing or another for days, and he (the son) is a major pain in arse, BUT I'm vowing not to let him get the best of me again. That, I'm sure, made him feel very powerful.

  • That's hilarious Jackie - but completely understandable on the God reference. These times call for desperate measures :) Some of these days are just ROUGH.
    My kids don't like coats either. Tough part of the country to live in then...

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