"Ashley, do you realize that in just a few short months you will no longer be a child?"
"Mom, what are you talking about?"
"You’re turning thirteen. Just think! You’re leaving your childhood behind. Ashley, you will never pass this way again."
"This is such a heartbreak! Oh, grief, sadness! I’m too young for this."
"Brooke, get in here quick! Mom’s losing it."
"It was traumatic enough watching you go from 0 – 1, let alone 12 – 13. What will I do when you turn 20?"
"Mom, you’re embarrassing."
Brooke enters the room.
"I’m tired of being thirteen. I can’t wait until I’m sixteen. I’m gonna get my driver’s license."
"Just think, mom, I can drive the kids to school in the mornings and you won’t have to worry about it anymore."
"I think I’m gonna be sick," moaned mom holding her head, "I feel flushed. My knees are getting weak. Look! It’s the nervous twitch disease already starting. My leg! It’s going berserk!"
"Aw, mom! Cut it out!"
"I can see it now. You’re driving, kids are hanging out the window screaming, you will have forgotten something and I will be forever standing in the wake of exhaust fumes shouting, "Brooke, come back Brooke!"
"I can’t do it! I refuse! I’m not ready for the teen years. The last time I checked, I was only 29. Where has the time gone?"
"I told you she was losing it, Brooke!"
"What a bummer!"
"Mom, where did you hear that kind of language?"
"I don’t know. It’s the crowd I run with, I guess. Mom always warned me about running with the wrong crowd, but she never told me what to do when I had to live with them."
"Mom, you are crazy!"
"It’s all your fault!"
Ashley signs, "I love you, mom, even if you are weird."
"Thanks, honey, your words mean so much to me. I really treasure these times we can talk."
"Good night, mom!"
"Good night, sweetheart. Don’t forget to brush your teeth."
"I can’t help it. Once a mom, always a mom. Habits are hard to break." Mom turns to leave.
Brooke and Ashley look at each other, shrug their shoulders, and say, "I guess some things will never change."
The older I get the more I appreciate those wonderful words of wisdom my mom passed on to me, "Just wait! Your time is coming. I’m going to laugh when your daughter says to you all the things you have said to me." Or the infamous, "I told you so!"
Aw, mom, have a heart, will you?
Growing up with teens doesn’t have to be a dreaded thing. I have enjoyed my daughters and their friends very much. We have our ups and downs like most parent/kid relationships, but what an adventure. The hairbrush and hairspray start disappearing, the mascara is nowhere to be found, your best pair of pantyhose gets a mysterious run in it, dad’s favorite sweatshirt is missing and they can never remember to tell you important things like, "You mean I didn’t tell you that we leave on the eighth grade trip tomorrow and I have to bring in a hundred dollars?" Or "Oh, mom, by the way, I told my teacher you would bring a main dish and dessert for the teacher’s luncheon tomorrow," and it’s 10:00 at night.
The classic is, "I told you, mom, you just don’t remember." When you’re gritting your teeth and trying to calmly say, "I’m going to kill you," you know you are in the teen years.
Here are some things that others told me I should do, and things I have learned to.
- Communicate. Have a ready, available listening ear whenever they need it. Let them unload on you.
- Love them and accept them for what they are unconditionally.
- Get involved. Enjoy what they enjoy. Get to know their friends. Chaperone activities. It makes them feel important to you.
- Don’t yell or scream at them. Talk it out. Don’t lose your cool if you can help it. Treat them as an adult.
- Be consistent with your rules and standards. Nothing will cause a young person to go bad quicker than inconsistency in training.
- Be an example of right. Walk speaks louder than talk.
- Don’t belittle them in front of others. They have enough to overcome with peer pressure without mom or dad adding to it.
- Keep them involved in activities that promote a healthy spiritual consciousness. Take them to teenage soul winning, church-related activities, revivals and camps. Let them help run bus routes and do things that foster an interest in others.
- When they fail, believe in them. Forgive them. Help them to go on anyway.
- Don’t criticize them. This is an emotional time. If you must correct a problem, try to do it privately and positively. Feeling like they can never measure up or be what you expect them to be is the leading cause of teen suicide.
Love them. Unselfish actions, sincere concern, communication, and lots of prayer, I believe, seem to be the key ingredients to keeping a parent/teen relationship sweet. I have learned that these days are important ones, challenging ones, but ones that can be the most blessed if we look for ways to simply meet the needs of those who need us most.