The teen years are crazy! My daughter only turned thirteen in January but it already seems like an eternity. Parenting teenagers is no joke!
Adolescence / puberty is a difficult time for children. Their bodies are changing, hormones levels are all over the place, and they’re trying to cope with the awkward transition to adulthood. Knowing this doesn’t make it any easier for the parents though. In fact, I was moved to post this Facebook status (which got a ton of responses):
I already have a dent in my forehead from whacking it with my palm so many times. It’s as if she just woke up one morning and all common sense was just gone! Every second of every day has us asking, “Why?!” as she acts and does the weirdest things.
The Teenage Nightmare Begins
For example, after washing the sheets, my husband asked Munchkin (hmm, I should probably start using a different nickname for her) to fix her bed. With an oafish, dumb-founded expression and awkward, deep voice she said,
“HHHHUUUUUHHHHH? How do I do that?”
Really?! Munchkin constantly leaves her brush (full of hair) on the kitchen counter, sucks the mint flavor off the dental floss, only remembers to charge her cell phone when it’s at 1% or already dead, and spills and breaks everything!
Oh, and that bright girl that reads three grade levels above her own and speaks in an articulate manner? Poof – gone! Now, her automatic response to any greeting, question, or conversation is, “Huh? Wha?” I’m sure you have a pretty good idea of the impression that gives off. Is this really the same child I gave birth to and raised for 12 years and 11 months?
Experiencing Parental Pay Back
When I was younger, my mom would always say, “You know, TerriAnn, the whole world doesn’t revolve around you . . .” I never understood why she’d say that. I didn’t think I was self-centered or anything. Well, at least that’s not what I thought at the time. It turns out that teenagers can’t help but think of themselves all.the.time.
Everyone waiting at the door and ready to leave? It must be time to get a book for the way to prevent boredom, even though the store is across the street and we’re shopping for her. Dog is stuck in the entry way waiting to have her paws wiped dry before coming in? It can wait until Munchkin starts and finishes braiding her hair. Time to go to sleep? She suddenly remembers to get in the shower and takes an hour to put lotion on. Nothing happens unless it’s on her time table and she deems it worth her attention.
Fortunately, we don’t have to deal with her being boy-crazy yet. When going to sleep over at a friends, they text each other about which stuffies (stuffed animal friends) to bring. Munchkin is still innocent, just a little girl in a young woman’s body.
Teenage Girls – Best Friend or Worst Enemy?
The mood swings have hit with a vengeance though. One minute she’s exceedingly loving and has me in a bear hug death-lock as I struggle for air, and the next minute she’s Ms. Hyde. When waking up in the morning, anything we say might be considered an attack that evokes rude grunts and dirty looks. An hour later, she’s happily humming and skipping about as she willingly offers to help us with stuff.
With all this, we have to continue to be the loving parents that keep that door of communication open. This means taking BIG breaths to calm down (after ridiculous antics on her part that were somehow our fault) and patiently listening to her feelings and motivating thoughts. How did it make her feel? What was her reasoning behind it? Could there have been a better way to react? Did we overreact without understanding her side? How can we avoid something similar in the future? Is there some way we can both compromise? Man, it’s tiring always being the ‘mature’ one!
The other night I asked Frans how in the world we were going to survive this. He simply answered, “Wait.” Sadly, the only thing we can do is hang in there and simply wait until she grows out of this dreaded stage.