Suddenly, You Have a Teenager!
Remember when you brought that tiny baby home from the hospital? How you fussed and worried? Your little one was the most precious thing you'd ever known. Then the baby started to act and react to the world. He or she grew out of baby clothes and was soon potty trained and then going to school, and now... it seems like it happened overnight.
You have a teenager.
The way you used to treat this child doesn't work any more. You say something the way you've always said it and you're looked at as if you had two heads. You mention to your teenager that the family is going to visit another state and suddenly, it's the end of the world.
You call her for breakfast and she doesn't even answer. This, your bouncy, early morning girl! Your little boy is suddenly more interested in girls and cars than in playing basketball with Dad.
Changes? Oh, yeah. And don't think you're going to get away without having to deal with them. Hormones, social pressures and our own expectations gang up on our teenagers and they can't help but respond with a struggle.
They are growing up and part of growing up is growing away. Away from baby clothes, away from potty chairs, away from preschool and playground games. Away from Mom and Dad and family movie night. It's sad but it's true and it's hard to let them go. "Letting go," as in not controlling them so completely any more and giving them more responsibility along with more freedom, gives them room to grow up.
Sometimes they move away from responsibility and rational thinking, too. It's all part of the changes they must go through, something like a caterpillar emerging from a cocoon, but it can be more dangerous. Peer pressure can put them in distinct danger at times and at other times, their own impulses can do the same thing.
Parents think their role is to "fix" things, so we try to discipline and control, but it often backfires at this stage. Too much discipline only draws out more rebellion.
The only fix there is for this age is for them to grow out of it, and they will, as hopeless as it may look.
Of course, if your teenager gets into things that are dangerous, you have to draw the line. It's hard to stop them and there's no shame and you should have no guilt in calling in help, whether that's counseling or the police. Yes, it sometimes gets that bad and your child is not immune.
Just remember that they will grow out of it. Remember those dirty diapers? All gone...