When your baby is just starting to talk you patiently work with them saying things like, “Say thank you!” They sweetly repeat whatever you say and everyone around you will go awwwwwww and you feel great and the birds sing and unicorns poop rainbows and all is right with the world. When your kid starts preschool the teachers compliment you on what a good parent you are because your kid shared and did not bite anyone. In elementary schools you get notes saying they are productive, respectful and gets along with others. Hormones kick in and puberty begins and your darling child starts to stink in body and in words. WTF just happened?
I think back and I KNOW I taught these uncultured swine manners. I spent a hell of a lot of time on manners at the dinner table, manners when dining out, how to talk to teachers and elders, how to manage their emotions. Yet, if you were to pop into our home at any time it will look as if they were free range children at some crack house because they are gross and suddenly mean. My kids have always had boundaries and they are not spoiled. Where did I go wrong?
I am learning that not all teenagers are rude or disrespectful but it is a common part of their growth and development. I. Do. Not. Like. It. Like it or not though, I’m going to have to deal with it. Ugh. Turns out they are expressing and testing independent ideas. I know that is a key part of growing up but I got a little spoiled since my eldest was developmentally behind in the emotion sector. She is 15 and just now getting sassy and mean. My 12 year old has just gone into full teenager mode already and now I’m being double teamed. FML.
At first I was really hurt. My sweet girls no longer want to spend time with me, the cuddle times are rare and the rebelling – sweet Jesus I’m too old for this shit! It’s a hard pill to swallow but I finally had to realized I’m the one that had to change AGAIN. Have I mentioned I’m in menopause and my nerves are shot? No matter, I signed up for this so I have to realize they are trying to establish their own identity and help them the best I can. My new mantra is “this is healthy development – this is healthy development – don’t kill the children” LOL.
Turns out even though they are rebelling they really do understand the boundaries and that is why they complain about the rules. Thank goodness I have been consistent with them. Eventually, the psychologists seem to indicate, they will no longer need my parenting and they will perhaps live within the boundaries I have taught them. They may act like they are not listening but they really are. It is just time to adjust rules and regulations to make it more appropriate for them. I can do this. I think I can. I think I can.