Tag: living with teens

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I am raising a teen. I have been now for 1.75 years and I will be for the next 14.5 years. So I am studying them. I am studying their behavior and brains and nuances and intricacies and likes and dislikes. I am confounded on a daily basis. I am at one minute in awe of the connection we have and in the next I am shocked at the disdain she holds for us as parents. Her existence is nothing if not passionate. Truly. Whatever she is feeling, she feels it full on with all her heart, mind and body. So as to not be telling tales about her without permission I would like to add, that in my studies, research and polling of other parents, passion seems to be a recurring theme amongst all teens. Whether they are feeling bored, pissed, happy, silly, mad, sad, or other, they are feeling it passionately. Even their lethargy is passionate in that it is intensely felt and shown. It is a roller coaster ride to be sure.

In 2009, before my teen became a teen I came across this amazing post on Salon.com by Cary Tennis. It reminded me that my children were merely being human in their displays of behavior – good, bad and indifferent. And now as I read this again, it hits even closer to home and serves as a good reminder that behind the behavior is my amazing human teenage daughter, feeling, loving, demonstrating all her humanness. It isn’t about me, getting my way, it is about our connection, here on this earth, as fellow humans. And man, do I need that reminder on a daily basis!

“But if you think that the child’s project is much broader: to become, to unfold, to fully realize every merest spark of genius in her being, then you may agree that to accomplish that project, she needs more leeway to figure things out. She needs to make some mistakes.”

You can read the rest here. Whether you have toddlers or teens or no kids at all, it’s a good reminder of the connection we are hoping to build.


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Leaving the Nest

I dropped my oldest off at her first ever high school volleyball camp this morning. It seemed so ordinary when we signed up. Just another thing on our to-do list in a this- is-just one-of-the-places-one-of-the-kids-has-to-be kind of way.

I went in with her to make sure we were in the right place and to make sure she didn’t need any other forms, equipment, info that she didn’t already have. All good. All paid. All set and off I went.

Back at the car I spotted a baby mockingbird on the black top, still alive – dropped, pushed or perhaps fallen from its nest. Big enough to leave the nest but not quite big enough to fly. I picked the little guy up, checked for injury then placed him safely on the grass. The mother flew at me in a threatening way, squawking, then landed quietly on a nearby branch, realizing either that I was more than she could take on or that I was safe enough and meant no harm.  

I stood by for a minute watching the communication between the two birds, a little frantic at moments as the mom squawked, then calm and concerned at others as the mother flew circles around the baby. Sensing that all was well, I opened the car door slowly, slid into my seat and burst into tears. For several minutes I cried big heaving sobbing tears – the kind of tears that feel like when you’re finished you’ll land in a whole new dimension of yourself.

My little fledgling was on her way. Stretching her wings, one more step out of our house and into the big giant world that some days feels like more than I can take on and other days seems full of tender love and beauty. I looked around and trusted she would be fine and consciously resisted the urge to swoop down upon her.

Before I drove off, I called my mom. We talked for a while and she helped me wipe my tears from afar. She told me that for sure we’d have some ups and downs these next few years “But then, for the rest of your lives, you’ll have a woman who is your friend,” she said. “And that is the luckiest thing in the world.” 

So there’s that. Which is nice to think about. And definitely comes from one who knows!


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Living with Teens

In our classes we talk often of recognizing that under all the behavior is some emotion. The behavior is the tangible thing we focus on when really we need to pause, and get under that, and try to see that it’s more than a slammed door or thrown food or a screaming fit or whatever.

Cary Tennis is not a father. But he is a writer for Salon.com. And in this column he answers beautifully the issue one dad is having dealing with his 16 year old daughter. Whether you have a teen or a toddler, or even if you have no kids at all, it’s a good read with a lot of really good points. Because though the column is entitled “My 16 year old is driving me crazy” it’s about relationships and presence and feeling the love and finding appreciation and recognizing that it’s all a phase.

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