What I Dread About The Teenage Years

Saturday, October 3, 2015
One of my girls is a teenager, and the other is fast-approaching her teenage years. I must confess, I’m a little anxious about these teenage years. There are plenty of things to be scared of when they are babies and small children, of course. But it’s this one final push towards adulthood that beats all of that hands down.

Why is this such a difficult time? These small children have developed into independent young ladies. They have already started making their own choices - which is a truly beautiful thing to see as a parent. But if we all think back to our teen years, most of us will admit that we all had issues to deal with. And, of course, that it was the one point in our lives when plenty of us felt further apart from our parents than we have before or since.

We all like to think we've raised our children well, but when those hormones kick in? All bets are off. Deep down, I suspect it's a combination of skill and a lot of luck, too.

Here are five things I am dreading abut the teenage years.

Parental relationships
My two girls are my best buddies - we have all done almost everything together in the past, but I know that during this period, things are going to change. As a parent, you’re going to have to start dealing with a lot more rejection - simply because you are a parent. Kids want to be with their friends not with their parents, no matter how close you are. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but eventually they will come back to us.

Peer relationships
I love the gentle comfort of having children in middle school. It’s a genuine community environment and a great place for them to be in their formative years. But, when they take the step up into high school, it’s a different kind of atmosphere altogether. They become more influenced by their friends and peers - regardless of how successful they are at school. I worry that the girls might fall in with the wrong crowd, or get bullied, or, perish the thought, end up as the bully. You just don’t know - and all you can do is be the best parent you can and hope for the best.

Kids make mistakes - it’s part of the learning process. Adults make mistakes. I like to think that those mistakes will often lead to a better understanding of life as a whole. However, sometimes bad things happen to good people, and having a theft attorney or a juvenile lawyer lined up is not always a bad idea. It’s not just your kids you have to worry about. It's other kids who are often the problem causers. What happens when they are the victims of crime?

At Emma's Back-To-School night, her health instructor warned us. "Your children will be taught sex education this year." Uh. Yeah. I'm so not ready for this. Yep, it’s a big one. No matter how you play this, it's happening. Whether I see my daughter as a little girl or not, the fact is she's a teenager and it's time she learns the basics of life. The best we can do is help to educate and be as open as possible. I’d like to think that we have raised our girls to be sensible - but senses can go out the door quickly. What if one night they make a mistake? How will we react?

We plan to keep the lines of communication open so that our girls always feel comfortable talking to us about sensitive subjects. Just remember...these conversations are just as difficult for them as they are for us as parents. But if you convey to your children that you are willing to talk about the topics that are important to them, they will open up to you.

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