I have three teenagers in the house aged 19, 18 & 16. Although this blog is not going to offer any great new insights , I thought I would write about the challenges as I am experiencing them!
When our children are young,the worries about them are within our scope of influence . The sleepless nights, the endless questioning. Are they ill? Do I need to seek medical help? Am I a good parent? Are they happy? We can by enlarge keep them safe, love them and enjoy them.
Then with their maturity, the rollercoaster of parenthood really takes hold. They grow and become more independent, turning away from parents towards their peers. This is all part of growing up.
As a parent you become less important in your teens world. They become secretive and share all of their angst on line with any one who will ‘friend’ them, but they will not share with you, the person still responsible for keeping them safe. You become a house sitter as they become older, they need you around but do not wish to be around you. They migrate to their rooms, devices clutched in their sweaty hands, tapping away, sharing or sometimes over -sharing with a world that does not really care. You are a glorified boarding house with food in the fridge, meals cooked if they want to eat at home, heating and all other needs still on tap.
At this stage in teenage development it is like steering a car without brakes or steering wheel. You feel that you are the parent and should be in some degree of control. You want to help, to guide, to avoid them plummeting off the cliff edge of a bad relationship or decision. You, with your years of hard earned wisdom, see the chicanes and the sharp bends that life throws up. You see that the road in front seems to launch itself over a cliff. But, as in a car without a steering wheel or brakes, all you can do is hang on, take a breath, cross your fingers and be there when the crash has happened, hoping that the injuries sustained are minor, a graze or a heart ache that will mend, given time.
One of the main lessons in surviving teenage years as a parent, is to stop believing that you are still in total control. You have to release the reigns in order that they can grow. I have been told to “pick my fights, accept that they are becoming independent adults and please just stop giving advice! Stop being too involved, too concerned.” My role now is to sit back, ready to engage if asked, but don’t meddle.
Surviving this stage is about being loving, from an acceptable distance. I think my only option is to focus on my own life and stop obsessing about things outside of my control. Hearts will break but they will mend. Be there, laugh & have fun whenever the opportunity arises! I will do my best to heed these gems of advice………but it won’t be easy. It’s just not me.