The Transition to Adulthood Can Bring Teens and Parents Closer
As parents we tend to think that our little ones need us the most. They do need us to take care of the things they can’t do for themselves like feeding them, helping them get dressed, fixing boo boo’s and overseeing them as they run to and fro as to not get hurt. We also guide them by teaching them things like manners and basic life skills. For new parents, many would think those are the toughest years and somehow magically as kids begin to get a little older it gets easier.
In my experience as a two- time parent (way older kid and now two younger ones), I’ve learned easy is never a word that goes along with the words “raising kids.” Perhaps with some kids, the time you spend raising them is less challenging, but parenting as a whole is very challenging. Most recently the thought of dealing with today’s teens comes to mind. My 14yr old recently started being a little more clingy to me than usual. He wanted to spend one on one time with me without his sister. Being a single parent trying to spend separate time with kids can be a little tough sometimes. As we began spending some one on one time doing things like running to the local grocery store or going to the post office I began to see my baby boy in a different light. He was more like me than I’d ever imagined and that thought scared him because I’m mom! It also gave him comfort in knowing I had his back and I could still give him the nurture he needed when he needed it. As we left the post office after mailing a ton of Christmas presents for family he turned to me and said “mom, I realized I need you more now than I ever have in my life.” After the initial shock from his honesty, I had the second shock phase realizing this young man was far wiser than his years because he recognized he needed me. He began to tell me I was all he had and as I spoke about extended family and his sister at home he explained “you’re all I have in the way of someone who accepts my independence and my fears at the same time.”
Being a parent to teens always an eye opening experience. For many who are raising teens, even the most difficult ones, they really do need us more than ever. They are going through the biggest transition of their lives in evolving from a child into a fully functioning adult in a world that is scarier than anything the rest of us has ever seen. They don’t know how to do a lot of things man of us knew how to do at their age simply because in the microwave lifestyle we’ve created it is instantly done for them. There will be times they can’t stand the site of you and there will be times you can’t stand the site of them. There will also, however, be those moments like the one noted when they tell you they need you whether they verbalize it or somehow show you through their body language. With terrorism, increased focus on academics, peer pressure, oversexed television and fears of mass shootings consuming the news our teens are on overload. The truth is our kids really do need us more than ever. When we sit down, take a breath and take a hard look at our kids, it’s a little easier to feel compassion for the hormonal people they often are.
Photo: Marlon Dias/Flickr