Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Why It's Ok If My Kids Can't Stand Me

If you are the parent of small children, it probably won't have happened to you yet.  Yours are still at the age when they are pretty sure you know the answers to all the questions and are quite possibly magic.  Trust me when I tell you this...It wears off.  Probably faster than you think too.  On the other hand, if you have teenagers, you already know what I'm going to say.  Not only do you not know all the answers, you don't know ANY of the answers.  Ever.  You may, in fact, be the dumbest, most ridiculous person who ever lived.  You can tell this by the eye-rolling, exasperated sighing and the all too frequent refrain of "I know Mom" repeated in a tone of total derision, the way someone would say "DUH" if they thought they could get away with it.  

The impression my teens like to give off with all this drama is that they cannot stand me.  And for the most part, I believe that to be accurate.  Not always though.  When they need things like food, clothing, shelter and money, I'm agreeable enough to be around briefly.  All the other times...not so much.

And that's Ok.

Why?  For a lot of reasons. The short, simple answer is that I'm their mother, not their friend.  Lord knows there are days when I prefer the company of my friends over them more now than ever, so why wouldn't they?  

But the longer answer is this...I understand a few things about teenagers and the one I try to remind myself of the most is that they can't tell the difference between Discovery and Invention.

I'll grant you, there is some overlap between the two.  Sometimes when you discover something, it's because you invented it, and of course a lot of inventions involve new discoveries.  But think of it this way......even if you discover an island, you aren't the one who invented the island.  To take it even further, just because you "discover" an island with no people on it, that doesn't mean no one else knows about the island but you.  This concept is totally lost on my kids and I really don't think they are terribly abnormal (I may have to take that statement back one day soon).  Im willing to bet it's lost on most teenagers because I know it was lost on me as a teen.

My kids think that because they have discovered something they probably invented it and  they are the only people in the entire history of this planet to know this "thing".  If they can possibly admit that there are "others" who have known this new "thing" before, it is still NOT EVER POSSIBLE I AM ONE OF THEM.  Therefore, I am stupid and they, in their new found knowledge, are NOT.

What "things' you ask?  Well, let me tell you!  Every.Thing!  Thing 1 has been driving for 1 year.  12 months.  I on the other hand have been doing it for 30 years, yet, I know NOTHING, about turn signals, lane changing, etc.  and need to be informed, repeatedly, about all this. case you didn't know it (and if you lived through the 70's and 80's you might not) my children have discovered a new thing called PUNK MUSIC.  Of course, by discovered I mean no one else ever knew of this before, least of all their MOTHER. I can't even begin to tell you how proud of them I am for this.  Dressing in black clothes, dying their hair weird colors, being too cool to do homework, hanging out with friends without having real plans...MY kids are changing the world with their inventions just like the internet did!  Going to McDonalds and ordering only french fries and paying with change because it's all you have.....who ever did that before??  No one!  That's who!!  

Thing 1's hand painted jacket

They are aware, of course, that I was a teenager in the 1980's...which may as well have been the stone age.  Leg warmers?  Hair scrunchies?  Fighting the Hun's?  Running from dinosaur's?  All the same to them.

So why is it Ok that they think I'm dumb and annoying?  Because there is a joy to be found in thinking you are on the cutting edge of something new and cool.  Sure, I don't like the attitude, but they know enough to know when they are going too far and they know when to rein it in for the most part, so I cut them a lot of latitude right now.  It also helps keep my sanity in check, which is no small feat.

As a friend said to me....."They have to start to assert themselves as part of the process of leaving home and parents and going into the world for themselves."

I'm counting the days..........

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