Parenting teenagers sucks. Lets just get that out of the way up front. But (because there is always a but), it doesn't always suck for everyone. Some of us have a suckier (is that a word? Because if it's not is should be) time than others, certainly. And that is NO reflection on our parenting skills I assure you, I know because I am a super awesome parent, it's just life, the chosen path, personality, nature over nurture or whatever you want to call it. The problem in dealing with this though is the fact that the risk-to-reward ratio is considerably higher in the teenage years that the toddler years, which can drive a parent to madness! Or drinking at least.
When they were toddlers, the risk was low, the reward was high and the control factor was off the charts! I may not be superwoman, but I can man handle a 30 pound kid any day of the week. Don't want to get in the car? No worries, I can make that happen without your help. The risk of being exposed to things was much lower, mostly because I was standing right there with them the entire time. They didn't know how to use the internet at 4, and if they walked in on a movie at an inopportune moment what's the worst that would happen? They might hear the F-word? And repeat it at preschool? Trust me, its not as big a deal as you think it is. The rewards were great! Lots of "I love you Mommy" and hugs and sloppy kisses, stories and snuggles at night and all the cute little crafts they brought home for Mother's Day or Christmas.
When they become teenagers, everything is turned upside down! Risk is high, reward is low and control is no where to be found. When you are 16 and exposed to sex, drinking and drugs, and thats just at school as everyone talks about parties, etc., bad choices can easily be made. Staying on top of kids with school, friends, activities and jobs becomes almost impossible and by now they can be adept little liars too! And the reward for your vigilance? Maybe a "Thanks Mom" tossed over a shoulder, but more likely the reward is that they come home when they are supposed to, which is nice, but doesn't match up to a homemade pot holder!
All the advice, all the books, all the Mom groups out there are for Mom's of the littles running around. As you cruise through the tween years the voices get quieter and quieter until, as you reach the full fledged Terrible Teens you think you are out there alone. The silence is deafening.
Just so you know......we are here. We have ridden through the lonely wilderness and gone right over the cliff, Thelma and Louise style. That's why you can't hear us, we are at the bottom, shell-shocked, but alive.
The good news is that we survived the drop and you will too! We may be a little battered, a little bruised, but we pick each other up, dust each other off and put each other back together. We are at the coffee shops and, let's face it, wine bars, sharing our stories and in the yoga classes trying to find some darn inner peace. We may look good on the outside but we are certainly a little worse for the wear.
So go ahead, take the fall. We will be at the bottom ready to pick you up, dust you off and pop the cork while you tell us how you got here.