Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Raising a Teen

Well, it's finally about to happen. My oldest son Ethan is about to turn the dreaded 13. In about a month, he will officially be a teenager. It's funny, when they are little you think they will never be older and then suddenly you are facing the fact that you only have them for another 5 years or so. It is the most sad, and yet exciting thing you can imagine. I find myself waking up in the middle of the night wondering why I can't be a better mother -- and especially, why I can't be a betterr mother to teenagers! They are a complex group, as many will attest, and the challenges they bring home with them everyday after the bus pulls away sometimes seem endless. Just last night, my sweet boy said to me "Mom, you liked me better when I was 6". I didn't know how to answer. In my mind I am thinking "Darn straight I did! You were a million times easier"! But in reality, I love him the same, if not more, today. There are a million ways he is so much fun these days. His sense of humor is developed and actually "funny" at times! I am able to converse with him about "real" things -- like politics, music, and morals even. He can pack a mean argument (and honestly, why does every conversation seem to turn into an argument?). Everyday I beat myself up about what I said or did, and every morning I awaken and ask God to help me be a better mother, to say all the perfect things. I want him to feel good about himself, and to have faith in himself no matter what.

I've spoken to many friends about this unending battle we seem to wage with our teens. It is almost like a "who will win this one" situation at times. My friends and I discuss how our children have become so self-centered. I reminded a friend that that behavior is part of being a teen (or so I've found from any parenting book I can get me hands on!) and yet we both agreed that it is terrible - just the same!

I was thinking about the complexities of raising a teen on the way to school the other day, and suddenly, there was Maya Angelou on the radio talking about mothers. She said there are two types of mothers, those who are wonderful with small children, and the next group being those that are great with teens. Which group do I fall in to? I haven't figured that one out yet -- but I am trying - everyday.


latentbride said...

Your words really tell the story! You have been and will always be a wonderful mother! This is a great piece! Very emotional and very real. I am soooo glad you are blogging! By the way, everyday teaching middle school I look at the kids and think, "Wow, after next year Etan will move beyond the grade I teach." It is really hard to believe. He is great boy and you are an amazing mother. Keep writing!

Susanne said...

Hey, my sweet little baby boy is 21 now! My big complaint is these kids never tell me anything. But when I remember back to the dark ages, I never told my parents what I was up to either. I just keep telling myself that I'm sure they're not doing anything worse and I survived.