Teenagers, hey? Who’d have ’em?
They are, so I’ve heard, the real reason some animals eat their young.
There is, of course, a lot of merit to not eating teenagers themselves. Aside from the fact that their smell isn’t terribly appealing, they also have more hair sprouting from all over their bodies, and ooze an oil like substance that, when viewed in the mastication and consumption context, reminds one of fast food that leaves a greasy stain on anything and everything it touches and is, yet again, not terribly appealing from an eating perspective.
It’s like they’ve absorbed all the fat from the flipping burgers job they’ve taken up part time, and their awkward bodies can’t cope with it, so excretes it through their facial pores.
No, babies would be much more appealing to eat, for several reason. They’re mostly chubby and smell delicious, and are adorable. If you chose to roast them, I’m fairly sure all that chubby would make a deliciously crispy layer that would provide a satisfying crunch.
Also, you wouldn’t have to go through all those things like tantrums and ‘fussy eating’ and agonising over which school to send them to.
I appear to have gone off on a gustatory tangent. I apologise.
Yes, parenting teenagers is hard. I have alluded to this in a previous moosing – The Separation.
This, too, is a difficult time for our teems. I’m not entirely convinced they know that separating is what they’re up to, They go about all these things as they slowly extricate themselves from your parental shield, leaving long, globular strands of an albumen-like substance connecting the two of you. This globular attachment, rubber band like in its nature, enables to them to fling back and into protection as and when they please.
More frequently what occurs is they find themselves disoriented and unaware that they have undergone the Flinging Back and are a little bit miffed.
Thus they have these moments of being complete and utter arses because, there they are, going about their business – which is, of course NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS! – and doing their own thing without having any kind of concept that you may be wondering where they are and hoping they are not actually bleeding and dead in a gutter somewhere as your thoughts would have you believe, and then their subconscious realises they are on their own and have no safety net and get scared and they find themselves having, in their opinion, Gone Back to Mummy, and they aren’t overly impressed, and then IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT AND YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND ME!
They have a whole fun-filled bunch of conflict and confusion going on in their recently disconnected brains, which is also trying to focus on reconnecting all the bits it has recently disconnected. An entire structural rewiring of their grey matter, during a period of fighting (somewhat rudely and disrespectfully) for independence and revelations that they aren’t quite as independent as they’d like to think they are.
Why is it so hard?
I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s hard, because we keep telling ourselves that It’s Hard.
That whenever we have a bit of a rant or a vent, there is always someone there to reassure us that “ugh, teenagers are so hard!”.
Which, you know, is really, really helpful. Don’t you think?
Like, if you say “I have no flour for my cake” and people say “oh, you need flour for a cake” it’s a bit like … “yes, I know” and you wonder why someone felt the need to tell you. I find myself in a perpetually flummoxed state in these situations.
All that ends up happening is a permanent story that teenagers are hard – not certain behaviours, not particular actions, not specific scenarios, just “teenagers” generally.
It’s a story that is passed down from generation to generation, from parent to parent from whichever clubs, groups, or gatherings you’re involved in, and without any sort of clarification or description or anything that may assist with particular issue you’re dealing with .
They’re just hard.
And despite this being the story that has done the rounds for hundreds and hundreds of years, we still all seem to think that, because we’ve done all the right things and raised them good that our own teenagers are going to be different. They won’t be hard like all the other teenagers.
Like you were.
A classic example of “That won’t happen to me”.
Yet it will.
The Hardest Part
The part I find the hardest when it comes to raising teenagers – and, I must stress here, it is not exclusive to teens, but applies to all children of all ages, development, skills, disorders, illnesses, issues, etc – is not the teens themselves.
Sure, they smell and can’t see mess, even though they just made it, and have fairly single and simple minds when it comes to things, and they appear to have lost their manners, and are more obnoxious than they have been for quite some time … I don’t need to tell you. You already know. If you haven’t already experienced it, or experiencing it now, don’t worry, you won’t miss out. It’ll get to you eventually. You just don’t have teens yet.
Anyhoo, the hard bit is those people who have managed to get to the other side of Parenting Teens and know absolutely everything. I find the worst ones are those that have kids in their early to mid twenties that you think “You’re proud of that?!” before your value of being non-judgemental kicks in.
Even then, you find it really difficult to rein in this judgement, because, quite frankly, if your own kids turned out like that, you’re fairly sure you wouldn’t be bragging about how great a job you did.
Maybe that’s it? They’re not so much deluded about doing a good job, as trying to redeem themselves in some way, or pretend they don’t really care?
Worse than that, however, is the Two-Bit Parenting Expert that wrote a (badly written) book and has a website and automatically assumes that because you said something like “parenting teens is hard” they can ply your blog or Facebook feed with links to their website telling you how to have a better relationship with your kids.
As though the only thing that could possibly be happening is your relationship with your teen. To be honest, most of the stuff I’ve read is judgey mcjudgey, tells you what you “should” do with/for your kids without telling you how to work it into your life/values/beliefs, or even considers you as a person at all.
In my own personal experience, I’ve pretty much got a handle on the whole relationship thing. As in, it’s a bit (lot) shit at times, and there is conflict and all kinds of stuff, and there are days where it’s fun and awesome and there’s loads of love and laughter and care and compassion and safety for everyone.
What I do get is that they’re going through all kinds of shit and it isn’t about me.
What I find hard is that, thanks to that story we have been telling ourselves and each other for hundreds of years, is that the difficult parts that fall outside of our relationships with them.
Things like friends attempting suicide or whom have eating disorders or abusive parents.
Things like having their bike stolen whilst they were helping a friend out.
Like issues with mental health or sexuality or learning difficulties or disorders.
Or having a teacher, a team member on the basketball team, a neighbour who is a bully.
There are so many things that fall outside of your relationship with your teen, and even outside of your expectations and desires that make the whole parenting teens thing difficult.
Having to endure some twat or other that is so convinced that they have the cure all that they can’t see that there may be something more than what they’re selling does nothing to help.
Living in a society that is happy to perpetuate the Parenting Teens is Hard myth, and avoid looking any deeper than Being Right About Parenting Teens Being Hard is only going to keep it hard.