Years ago, a wise person once said that dreading the teen years was setting yourself up for failure. If you expect to have a rough go at it, you will. I took the advice to heart & decided the teen years were nothing to be scared of, they’re a stage like any other. Some stages are more difficult – I’m looking at you age 3, and others are delightful.
E~’s middle school years had some bumps. There were times I was worried we were raising a sociopath or that he would never be gainfully employed and have to live in the basement. More than once he needed the threat of me coming to school to sit with him in class to make sure he wrote down the day’s assignment before doing it himself. Maybe it’s hindsight, but I don’t recall those years being too stressful. I’m sure some of my walking partners from those years might disagree with my recollections 😉
G~’s middle school years have not been so smooth. I don’t know how a kid can go from being so loving, kind, organized, & thoughtful to the monster he is now. G~ has an interesting relationship with truth – he subscribes more to Stephen Colbert’s Truthiness than actual Truth. He has attitude & plenty of sass to go along with it. He is above the things of mere mortals – bedtimes, courtesy, rules, and other niceties. It’s exhausting trying to parent this tire fire. I go to bed most nights wondering what challenge he will present us in the morning.
I know, it’s all part of the process. His brain has shut down for remodeling. His new brain will have some great features like impulse control, empathy, rational thoughts, & an improved decision making center. We just have to survive the remodel.
Our current survival method is to hunker down & refine our parenting skills. Sneak the iPod into your room at night? BUSTED – no electronics EVER! Lie about practicing music at school so you don’t have to practice at home? BUSTED – double practice time! Constantly pester your siblings? BUSTED – Lecture about the importance of sibling relationships delivered. Sure he’s tuned it out & I’m foaming at the mouth & rocking in a fetal position but what else can you do?
Seriously, what else can we do? I’m open to suggestions.
This parenting gig isn’t easy and anyone who tells you it is is lying, probably has adult children who are gainfully employed & live independently, & need to pick a better moment to deliver their “you’ll survive this too” pat on the head.
If you’re also in this middle school swamp, you’ll find me over in the corner, sucking on a wine bottle. We’ll get through this together!