Is parenting a teenager driving you crazy? Me too! Why is it that teenagers think they know everything? I remember being a teen. And yes, I also remember how stubborn and determined I was — I had all the answers and anything that my mom said fell on deaf ears; I was convinced that her mission in life was to prevent me from having fun at all costs. How dare she set a curfew for when I had to be home or want to talk to the parents of the friend I was spending the night with. Any and everything that she did was all designed to control my life and have things her way. Of course, it took becoming the mother of a teenager myself to see how ridiculous that line of thinking really was.
This teenager is my first child, and a boy, so I am in all-new territory with this teenager crap. All he wants to do is talk on the phone, hang out with his friends, play video games, and watch TV (ok…perhaps some of this is vaguely familiar). I ask him to take out the trash, it sits there. I ask him to clean up the bathroom, it’s still dirty. I want him to join us for family time, he moans and groans. Where is my little boy? The one who did what I asked promptly, and with a smile, and who looked forward to Sundays at the Great-Grandparent’s house. I want him back!
Now I have this petulant teen who thinks he knows every damn thing and that I know nothing. At the heart of this dilemma is my need to control every aspect of his life (yes, that is my dream…to control his every move…I did not say it made sense, just fessing up to my true desire) and the inner-turmoil of knowing that I truly control nothing. My job as his parent is not over, but it has changed dramatically. In only two short years he will be considered a legal adult and the thought alone makes me want to run for the hills. My child an adult? This can’t be real.
As a teenage mother (I was 17 when I had him), I thought I would have cool nailed down. I mean, how can I not be the coolest mother ever when I am closer in age to my teen than my mom was when I was a teen. I thought to myself: of course I will have a better understanding of what he’s feeling, thinking, and what he wants to do. Oh how wrong I was. I still remember the first time I complained to my mom about how my son never listens to me. She stared at me and said “are you kidding me?!” The funny thing is I really wasn’t.
If I am to survive parenting a teenager without it driving me crazy (and knowing that I have to more growing my way) I must stop. I need to break the habit of trying to control every little thing and wanting my teenager to do exactly what I want him to do. Newsflash: It’s not going to happen!
At the end of the day, my teenager is a good kid who makes some colossally stupid mistakes (even I still do that!) but he respects his parents and knows we just want the best for him. So, I guess I will try to recognize that I am doing a pretty good job and that I am only going to drive myself crazy if I don’t stop trying to control every little thing — especially since I truly can control nothing.
I want to hear from you!
What are your best practices for parenting a teenager without it driving you crazy? Please leave me a comment below and let’s have a discussion.