While I was out-of-town last week at my daughter’s nationals dance competition, my teenager gave himself permission to have a visitor. Yup, his girlfriend came over to “chill” and they were apparently sitting in his room doing nothing much when my mom discovered them. Oh-em-gee. Raising a teenager could be the death of me; and Lord help me I have to raise two more after this one. I am trying really hard to get this right but failure is a huge concern.
My biggest parenting fear
Let me start by explaining my biggest parenting fear: history repeating itself. One of the most defining moments of my entire life happened when I was just 16 years old and found myself pregnant with my now 16-year-old son. Before I knew who I was, what I wanted out of life, who I was going to be, what I was going to do, and where I was going to go. I was becoming a mom. Before I was considered a legal adult I was charged with the care of something so important – which I never truly grasped at that age – and life altering. Something that never changes, no matter how old you get or how far you go; you will always be this person’s mom. But what about me? Did I want to go to college, did I want to work full-time, or did I aspire to roam the world? Whatever I may have wanted all melted away and this baby was now the only thing that mattered.
What I want for my teen
It’s a fine line I walk when talking to my son about teenage parenthood because I never want him to feel as though I did not want him or that I wish I hadn’t had him; that could not be farther from the truth. However, I want something different for his life. I want him to enjoy his youth and to explore himself, the world, and his options. I want him to benefit from the greatness that is teenage life. To party safely, go to college, choose a career that he loves, or start a business doing something he is passionate about. I want him to decide what kind of person, what kind of man, he wants to be – before he is in charge of another person’s life. I want him to have direction, to build a life, and grow up; before he is raising himself along with his own child. I just want him to have what I never did. To live life in order and be able to enjoy every stage before rushing on to the next.
Preventing my teen from repeating history
By the time I was 19 years old I was married with a toddler, and had accidentally chosen a career as an administrative professional. Sometimes I wonder what life may have been like if I had walked a different path. If I had waited to do adult things when I was an actual adult. I do not live my life with regret – I love my son, and my two other kids, my career, and my life – but it wasn’t always this way. It took me a long time to truly grow up and grow into loving myself and create the life I want. I just hope he doesn’t travel that same difficult road.
For now, we are talking. Like, every day. About making choices, focusing on school and sports, and waiting to get more involved in relationships until after the building blocks for his fabulous life are firmly in place. I will definitely keep a closer eye on him and if I am out-of-town, he’ll have to go stay at his dad’s house. Although, I know from experience that the only way to make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself is for him to want to do better. For him to want something different for himself. And for him to think twice before doing something he can’t ever take back.
I want to hear from you!
Do you have any advice for preventing a teenager from repeating history? Please leave me a comment below and let’s have a discussion.