I knew raising teenagers would be unlike anything I have ever known. The idea of said teenagers did not deter me from having children, wanting to raise children, etc., probably because I was not so far removed from those years when I actually started having children and bringing children home to start raising them...
Oh. My. Goodness.
AGAIN! My seventeen year old is a senior this year. I can't believe I am the parent of a senior. In Highschool. I have not had enough time to impress upon him the craziness of life, and he is a senior. Also, he is autistic. I can write a book about that- but not today. He doesn't drive,and I'm the one worrying about next year, not him...but still. A senior.
My thirteen year old daughter is currently the child that is making me say, "Oh. My. Goodness."
I remember being 13, I remember it being awful and awkward. I remember mean girls, clothes, and clueless boys, and changing bodies, and hormones. I didn't have to deal with social media, though, and that kind of bullying, and none of us did (or didn't) do the ice bucket challenge (my sweet girl feels left out because she hasn't been nominated), and certainly none of us were involved with twerking or sending nude selfies (and neither is my daughter. But people... It's out there!) and it's all so... Obsessive (?) Awful. Awkward.
I know, for sure, that I had friends that I could just walk over to- and show up at their house to hang out with. Apparently teenagers don't do that anymore. I remember phone calls- I remember begging for my own phone- I remember call waiting! Man, that was the thing when I was teenager! I could talk on the phone, and let my parents know that the neighbor was calling to borrow a cup of sugar! At the same time!
Guess what?!? Antiquated!! Kids don't talk on phones- they text- or Instagram- or email.
And they want to be entertained. C-O-N-S-T-A-N-T-L-Y. I'm like, "We are spending the day doing laundry, cooking dinner, and maybe going to Target for dish detergent and cheese."
This is the reply: First, imagine a blank stare with the mouth slightly ajar... Then, "awwwwwwwwww-uhhh! I've been in the house for, like, two days!! It's so boring!! What am I supposed to do?!"
Um, call one of your friends?
Apparently not. Teenagers don't talk on phones anymore. Too awkward. No ice bucket challenge. No twerking. And, She's homeschooled! Nobody likes me... Blah-blah- I'm the good girl who doesn't twerk or say bad words...
First of all, sweetheart, I'm thankful for all of that (Praise!)
But then, I'm kind of caught between feeling sorry for her because I remember that awkward time, and being truthful, because she does have friends that she can call (or text) to come over, and they are not the nude-selfie girls, or the saying-bad-word girls, and I am sure that they all feel awkward too!
I also think about this: what if we were all judged on our mistakes? Those girls that have made some bad choices need and want good friends, and they probably know they did a stupid thing and need forgiveness- not judgement. Trying to impart that information to my young girl, though, doesn't come across right; the words get twisted, the line of thinking becomes weird; it's like I'm defending bad choices, or asking my daughter to take un-necessary chances on a relationship with someone who could very well turn out to influence her decisions in a negative way. I want to protect her, yet help her learn that we all make mistakes. I don't want her to hurt. I don't want her to get caught up in judgement. I want to help. I want to hover. I don't want to hover. I'm so proud of her, because she is awesome. I just LOVE her to pieces, and that is what I want her to know most of all, so I try to tell her. Often. I even text it to her. It is a serious business being a mother of teens; even very young teens; especially today's teens... And I don't have a lot of the answers- even about what to do tomorrow- except that we need cheese, and dish washing detergent. And a psychology course, apparently.
I am convinced that loving these young souls is some serious, crazy, wonderful, scary, frightening, amazing business! I am both undone and convicted. I am humbled and praying. I am sure I'm messing up, but doing the best I can with God's grace and guidance.
Oh. My. Goodness.
Lord, please see us through. I lift our children in prayer to You, that they may be kept safe and surrounded by those that can guide them, disciple them, and help them to make good choices. Help us parents and caregivers to have the right words and to enforce good boundaries. Help us to help our children learn to turn to You, Lord. Endeavor us to be the salt and the light and to lead by good example. In Jesus' name, AMEN.