I worry that those who struggle with their teenagers won't feel comfortable coming in here to talk about it.
So I just wanted to jump in and confess that we had a very tough stage with dsd and I think we are starting to come out of it just now. It's a slow journey of one step forward - two steps back, but it is noticeable. I don't know if one should blame parenting, the age, or societal expectations for what we were going through, but admittedly, DSD went through the time where she:
* rolled her eyes, slammed doors, was failing three classes, wore VERY dark clothes and make up, seemed VERY ungrateful for big and little things that were done for her.
There is still a hint of that going on, but at the same time she is taking two honors classes and is a straight A student. This holiday season she put together a bag of clothes to donate, and most of her dark-rebellious stuff was in that bag. With the money she got from Christmas she picked out quite cheerful, urban style clothing, and her make up seemed to have lightened up over the past few weeks. I received many many thanks for the gifts I have picked out for her, she must have said "Oriole, thank you!" about 30 times yesterday.
Things I hope will change for her overtime:
* She still swears a lot more than I'd hope she would (not with us, usually, more so with her friends), and I really think she'll grow out of it.
* She puts friends before family more often than she should. For instance, she got gifts for many of her friends, but didn't get anything for her little brother and sister on her mom's side, she simply helped us out to get presents for them, but did nothing on her own.
* Sometimes (not always) she gets very cranky when she doesn't get a ride.
* She resorts to saying hurtful things to her father when she gets upset, and that's NOT the way for a child, a teen or an adult to be, it's never been modeled for her in this house, she didn't behave that way when she was younger no matter how upset she got, and as much as I hate this phrase, but she certainly "knows better than that".
So I would never dismiss the difficulties that come with the territory. I think every stage of life presents its own benefits and difficulties, and I think parents struggle with teenagehood this much because every parenting mistake we made in earlier years (and who hasn't made mistakes?
) comes to haunt you tenfold in this particular time when our kids begin to get out into the world on their own: no more play dates with parents there, there is driving, jobs, friends you don't know, etc. On top of everything, the whole idea of "letting go" is extremely difficult for some parents (boy, did my own mom struggle with that one!), so I think that adds to the "teenage dread" as everyone is trying to find boundaries "is it okay for them to be having sex at 15? Is it okay for them to be out late with a phone? How about without? How about with a friend you don't like? Is it really still parents' decision to make, or is it the time to let go?
So there... I just wanted to admit to what we struggled with, and to give reassurance to those who still struggle, that they are not alone in this journey, I've been there, done that and still come to MDC for advice in the times of crisis specific to this age.