Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mommy Challenge : Raising a Teen

I don't recall everything about my teenage years. All I know is that it was (obviously) so different back then. Things like reasoning out to your parents was totally unacceptable, even if you use the calmest and most respectful tone and approach. Children were simply not to be heard from. It was our duty to obey, without questioning. Back then, when you ask your Dad or Mom why you're not allowed to go to a party, they simply replied, "Because I said so!" and that was it, end of discussion. These days, telling that to your teenager is like asking for it. It's tantamount to opening Pandora's Box. You can expect that a never-ending discussion will follow. 

I have a 16-year old daughter. She turns 17 in a couple of months. She is at the peak of her teenage life. Although somewhat of a late bloomer in other aspects (I thank God for this), she is every inch your typical teenager. When at home, she is locked up in her room wearing her headphones and listening to music, practicing a dance routine for a performance or competition, chatting online with her friends, on the phone or asleep. She reappears only when it's time to eat. As soon as she's done, she excuses herself and retreats into her "cave" again, until it's time for the next meal. Is this scenario familiar to other parents of teens? I'm sure it is. My own Mom says I had the habit of keeping to myself in my room too, at this age. The only difference is I didn't have too many options as far as what to do was concerned. The internet didn't exist, no cellphones either. There were only 6-8 channels on TV. I think most of my time was spent on the phone, that is, until someone else had to use it. 

Other than these frequent "disappearing acts", there's the attitude issue. TEEN ANGST. 

Urban Dictionary defines Teen Angst as : 

When teenagers, for any number of reasons combined with their hormones and stress from school, get depressed. Contrary to popular belief, some teenagers actually do have it rough and have to deal with sh*t most adults don't have to. Other teens don't and just like to pretend they do.

Hahaha! I have a strong feeling this was written by someone who's going through it, or has just gotten out of this stage. Here's another one that's obviously by someone much older, maybe a parent like myself? 

A very serious non-existent mental condition that medical doctors tend to confuse for bi-polar disorder. Solely giving teens a reason to b*tch and moan about nothing important.

Anyway, why am I writing about this today? Ahhhh because you see, I'm realizing that this is my biggest challenge as a parent right now. It's really no joke having to deal with this on a daily basis. It sometimes tends to take the wind out of your sails and can leave you speechless and staring into empty space for long periods. Most of the time, you question your own parenting skills. I do this quite often, especially when I'm alone, right after a "discussion" with my teenager. I've been accused of saying hurtful words out of frustration. This, no matter how cautious I am about my approach. I'm really honest and not fond of the sugar coating technique. But with my teenager, I come across as intentionally hurtful (see Teen Angst definition please). And it goes on and on and on like the Energizer Bunny, without direction. Oh ... there IS direction, forgive me. It goes around and around and around until one of us gets tired and throws in the towel. Most of the time, it's me. (I'm sure if she sees this, she'll go ballistic and say it's she who always has to give up)

So the next question would probably be ... what does a parent do? 

My biggest parenting motto has always been : Hate me now, thank me later. 

While it hurts me to the core to see my kids get hurt --- regardless of who causes it --- I'm also a firm believer in building a solid foundation for them. What's most important to me is when they're old enough to be let go of, they'll have a chestful of values and lessons to take with them. When my time is up and I have to permanently leave this earthly world, will I be able to rest well, knowing that I've done my part to fully-equip my children for the many years they will have to live without me or their Dads? Even if I don't know when this is all going to happen, I'm already so obsessed about it. 

I'd rather hold the Bad Cop title than regret anything when my children are a lot older. They can hate me all they want while they're growing up, because they don't agree with my parenting style. But I know in my heart that one day, they'll thank me for everything I've taught them, regardless of all the tears they cried out of frustration for having a Mom who constantly nagged them about always doing the right things. 

How I sometimes wish I could fast forward to that day. Then again, that would mean I would have grandchildren haha! It's so true, though. I believe I only began to truly value my own mother when I gave birth to Anissa. Mom waited so long for us to be friends but I'm sure time flew by so quickly for her. One day, I know Anissa and I will be the same. My Mom and I are the best of friends today. I can hardly wait.

Hopefully, when my second round starts (I still have a 6-year old, remember?), I'll be such an expert I'll be doing this with my eyes closed. Fingers crossed!

Do I see other Mommies nodding their heads and raising their hands? Speak up if you're one of them!

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