Raising teenagers in today’s world is scary. There are so many ways for them to get into trouble outside of home. I am fortunate enough to have two teens and a pre-teen under one roof. Add to my mother and brother and we have chaos (drum roll please). My teens will turn sixteen and fourteen in March. The oldest, my son, spends a lot of his time with his girlfriend, either at home or at her house. I feel fortunate that at both places there is always someone around to keep an eye on things. My daughter also spends quite a bit of her time at home on the computer and I am right behind her stalking and tracking her every move.
I must admit that I have either done something right or I am just blessed. I have close relationships with both of my teens. We keep the lines of communication open and for the most part the power struggles are kept to a minimum. My daughter does try to push me every now and then but I always have the upper hand because I know precisely how to hurt her. A day without the phone or the computer can make her life an absolute misery. We did have one incident recently. She got into a fight at school and was suspended. It amazes me how much she and I are alike in personality. We are both outgoing and friendly but neither of us has any trouble laying out boundaries. Cross the line and there will be trouble.
When I got the call that I had to pick her up because she was suspended for fighting – I was angry. I lectured her for about thirty minutes before I decided I was ready to listen to her side of the story. She was crying and clearly knew she was wrong. I think a part of her was embarrassed by her behavior. This really surprised me because she is ordinarily so feisty and ready to argue at the drop of a dime. I gave her a hug. I was feeling pretty bad for being so hard on her and not letting her tell me her version.
When I finally calmed down long enough to listen, I discovered my daughter actually exercised restraint. The other girl involved cornered her, had her against the wall nose to nose. Had I been in the situation, it would probably have been a beat down. All my daughter really did was shove her, “to get her away”. I recalled being her age (thirteen) when another girl at school kept picking on me. I was shy. A girl kept bothering me. I managed to ignore her until she caught me leaving school one day. She grabbed me and it was all over. I beat her down. We both got suspended for fighting on school grounds. Recalling that incident I shared it with my daughter. I told her that I understood why she reacted the way she did. I did ground her. Knowing she was wrong she accepted her punishment with grace. I am so proud of the way she handled herself. I think this incident made me realize how much we are alike. It also made me think a little.
Yes she is my daughter – she is also human. I think sometimes we forget – when our kids get into trouble – that they are not just kids, but human beings, just trying, like the rest of us to get along in this crazy world we live in.
I spent a lot of time talking with my daughter that week. Trying to come up with ways the situation could have been resolved differently. All things considered I can’t come up with a better scenario.
Sometimes in life you have to defend yourself. My daughter did just that. It gave me a better sense of who she really is as a person. We have developed an understanding. I also learned that she does think about what “mom” would say about this or that. It comforts me to know that when she’s out my voice is inside her head, helping to determine what she does and does not do. I hope that will continue throughout her life. As a parent my greatest hope is to instill lessons that will help my kids to become better people and to lead happy and productive lives.
Yes, my teen has an attitude. She can be moody, but she can also be sweet. She has a strong personality, no doubt – she got it from me.