Some time ago, my oldest son and I had a very serious argument. In the end, he was angry, confused and upset, and I was left crying for two hours wondering how I could fix our mortally wounded relationship.
Crying is a poor choice of words, because I was actually hysterical and inconsolable. I just couldn’t believe that the kid that brought me crushed dandelions and said spaghetti like “pis-getti” could be so disgusted with his mother.
My second oldest sat with me for an hour, repeatedly attempting to convince me that I’m a good parent. I briefly entertained the thought of finding a substitute mom, and heading to a place where all of the crappy moms go. I don’t know where that is, but it’s probably fairly close to hell. At least I’d be living in a warmer climate!
Since that wasn’t going to happen, I decided to reflect on what had occurred. In short, we had a difference of opinion on a social and political topic, and exchanged some pretty harsh words. In retrospect, it would have been easier if we both had valued each other’s opinions. Then we could have moved on to discussing how the old SpongeBob episodes are so much better than the newer ones, or something just as innocuous.
At that moment, I decided that I should welcome such exchanges with my boys! Why the in God’s name would I want to do that? Because much of their behavior is normal, and they are developing as expected. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that I have argumentative, moody, cranky, and emotional teens. Teen turmoil is NORMAL.
A National Institute of Health study suggested that thinking skills are not fully developed until about the age of 25. Throw on hormones, academic and athletic stressors, peer expectations, new found independence, parental pressure, navigating romantic relationships, and making huge life decisions during the last two years of high school. Yeah, that’s a lot of crap to deal with.
For the most part, I have good kids. Are they perfect? No. Do they need to be guided and corrected? Absolutely! Is it easy for me to keep my composure? Not always, but I’m the 42 year old with the fully developed brain. Well, for the most part anyway.
I frequently remind myself that I didn’t have children so they could think like me, be like me and act like me. They are individuals, with their own talents, intellect, opinions and ideas of what life should be like. They have their own goals, aspirations, and dreams. In order for them to reach their full potential, they need to be who they are, even if I don’t necessarily agree with all of it. I want them to be happy and productive adults. I've been letting out that kite string steadily for this reason.
I can’t say that I’m enjoying the thought of more disagreements, but I am looking forward to seeing them develop into their own selves. Life would be boring if we were all the same, and I’m attempting to support the uniqueness of these creatures that I gave birth to. Hey! Who knows? They might actually be able to teach me something too!
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Filed under: Parenting