It is often said that parenting is one of the few things that we become without needing a licence, and needing to completing training. Our children certainly didn’t come with a manual. If a manual was every needed it would be around parenting your children when they are teenagers. I mean nothing in life can prepare us for that particular experience.
Over the years we evolve learning how to address changing diapers, rocking our children to sleep, how to set up a crib (well that one I never quite mastered). During the 0-5 years more is within our control they are home with us, they want to be with us and us with them, if we want to go out we get the grandparents to look after them. Then they go to school, and we lose a little bit around our ability to reside over our children as we drop them off at school and they learn from teachers and other students. Generally all is okay they come to dinner each night, do their homework, have a little time with their friends, go to bed at a regular hour.
Then they become 13!! They often go to high school at this point. It is as though they enter this cocoon phase in which they enter it as a child and crawl out at the age of 17 or 18 as an adult. Or at least in an adult’s body. This is the stage where the parents are evolving into giving up more control to their children around making decisions. Their peer groups become more influential and their music. The one thing they love about a long family drive may not be the scenery or the bonding with yourself…but with becoming their own d.j. in the car programming their own music and even more importantly looking at your reaction to it. Your ‘child’ may begin dating or entering a serious relationship…let the worrying begin. Then the driving lessons…stop. I need a break writing. The key during this time period is about being patient and finding your opportunity to be influential with your son or daughter. These opportunities still exist, wait until they want to talk or have questions, then try your best, no matter how tired you are to respond in an inquisitive way.
Mom or dad never really told us about parenting the teen other than the empty threat of “wait until your children become teenagers”.