I've been thinking about yesterday's topic of "just wait until they're teenagers..." Just like the stuff about labor hurting and about once your baby is mobile "it is all over," the saying is so ubiquitous I'm starting to think it might be true.
You have a baby. It is exhausting and tiring and frustrating and isolating and you have not a single second to yourself. You're up all night and so tired you actually cry. But, you get to cuddle and hug and love on that baby. Then, the baby grows into a toddler and they mouth off and throw tantrums and act disobedient and test your patience and trample on the last of your fragile nerves and talk back to you and scream at you and try to hit you. But, they still want to hug you and tell you they love you and tell you how they want to be just like you when they grow up. And, if you say "would you like to go to the playground?" they light up with complete joy and glee.
As school age children....well...something happens, but I don't know what yet. But I imagine that the moms get to take showers in peace and sleep in and not have to clean anyone's defecation detritus. And, I assume the child still acts lovingly towards the parents.
Then, teenager-hood hits. And the shit really hits the fan. Sure, the teenager can make her own lunch and take her own shower and stay at home while you go get a pedicure and she lets the parents sleep past 5:20 a.m. but she also acts like a complete brat and tells you she hates you. You think back to that sweet little 3-year old she used to be and how all it took to make her happy was a trip to the playground... and you wish you had enjoyed that stage more. (You have completely and totally forgotten about how exhausted and frustrated you were back then because you've had years of good nights sleep by this point). Now you worry she's on drugs, you worry she's too involved with boys, you worry she'll drink and drive, or that she'll get in a car with some other nimwit who's been drinking, you worry she'll get in a car accident, or will get an STD, or will do something stupid and permanent. You are probably full of anxiety and stress with all the constant worrying. (God. This sounds like hell. I'm not ready for this!)
So, while the toddler/baby stuff is completely exhausting and you feel like you're going to just die from lack of sleep and the constant whining and demands and the complete lack of "me time," the teenager stuff must just be so anxiety-ridden that you feel like you're going to die from the stress of it all. Either way, these kids are out to do us in. We're screwed!
I wasn't so awful as a teenager, but I was pretty awful as a pre-teen. Starting in about 6th grade I was a total bitch to my mom, screaming "I HATE YOU!" and slamming my bedroom door for about 4 straight years. Hating whatever she said before she even said it. Just cringing with anger and angst whenever I so much as looked at my mom. I was too much of a chicken to do anything really bad in high school. I was kind of a nerdy choir girl goody goody, though I did sneak out with Meg once to go to a college party, but even then I made sure I was sober to drive us home. I have to say, I was really a good teenager...except for those few years of awful angst and eye-rolling and general nasty attitude towards my parents. My parents just always told me they trusted me and knew I'd make smart decisions. They didn't give me a curfew, but just wanted to know where I was and who I was with and what time I expected to be home. I was too scared of everything to do anything very dangerous.
Were your parents strict or lenient? Were you an awful teenager? Did you rebel? How can we keep our kids from turning into awful teenagers? Can it be prevented?
Excusing v/s Understanding
1 day ago