I constantly review myself, it’s something I have always done. If I had hair I’m sure I would be pulling it out as I watch my teenager wade through this decade of her life. As I slurped a glass of wine last night I had an epiphany. Being truthful this is a rare occurrence for me, so fasten your seatbelts and here goes.
Im not saintly and if being honest they are possible the only humans who could parent a teenager without having a few moments of despair, madness and a lot of shameful ones, like screaming and resorting to power of I am the parent. Throughout my parenting career I have had some pretty special moments which I am not so proud of. I have changed and evolved, mentally and physically through each of my 5 decades, and not so gracefully physically speaking.
As I poured my second glass of wine and Murf (my dog) joined me with her slice of ham, I began to think! Of course there are lots of normal teenage behaviours that send me to orbit, and huge amounts of teenage girl stuff that I don’t understand, which I think is trivial, but is not because it matters to my teenager. I have moaned and groaned about how my little angel has changed to the point I don’t recognise her. Well, that’s a load of xxxx! I blinked and missed the fact that my daughter is changing into a woman! The good news for me is I still have time to be included in her journey. So it’s time to saddle up and pack my bag.
First on my list of self improvements is to own up and apologise if I have a little moment of poor behaviour! This is going to be tough, especially in the mornings we have to get to school. I cannot stand tardiness, it drives me insane and I have been known to shout in extreme cases. This achieves nothing and I always feel guilty when I am receiving just picture and no sound on the drive and matters are made worse when I don’t get my kiss goodbye as she gets out of the car. I spend the day regretting my actions and can’t wait to see her after school, time goes so slow until she gets back into the car.
The famous eye roll always gets me going, I mean what the hell is that about? This I know every parent of a teenage daughter has experienced, they all do it. Nope, I am not going to get the ring with her, this invitation, I will decline, instead of giving her the power of me overreacting. I am the mature person and will lead by example. I will wait my time to discuss whatever it was that caused the annoying roll of the eyes. After all this is just a phase and she will grow out of it.
My little angel is 15 and I know what that means, BOYS! To the best of my knowledge there is no poxy, zit faced, little toe rag on the horizon. I fear that will change this summer. Despite the many ways of harming this creature I have dreamed of, it is simple illegal and my daughter needs me at home and not in jail. Last summer I jumped the gun and mentioned the birds and the bees, I can assure you her eyes nearly rolled out of their sockets. I retreated and thought better of it. I took a different approach and waited till Christmas when the mood was good and simple said that I had noticed boys looking at her, she stopped me and calmly told me that they had covered it in school. That opened another door for me and I explained that my wish for her was to be treated with respect and also to treat the young man the way she would like to be treated. I got a hug and a kiss on the cheek and was reassured that matters were under control. The relief on my behalf was biblical but I know this topic will be revisited many times of the coming years. Today I ordered a book which I am hoping will offer me guidance.
On occasion I have gasped for air at some of the clothing choices teenage girls wear, and on disco nights I have had to bite my tongue to the point of it nearly falling off. My first reaction is what the hell? What kind of message is being sent out? So I poured my third glass of wine and have convinced myself that this is just a way to get noticed. I arrived at this explanation as I have noticed over my 50 years that women dress up when they go out and the reason being is they want to look good and if an odd look from a male is received it’s just one of admiration. It is also a learned habit watching Mum getting ready for a night out and even I have been known to make an extra effort before I head on a night out. Sadly for me the results of my efforts tend to fall on blind eyes. Dressing appropriately and not like the Kardashians is the beginning of the journey to adulthood. Whilst I have gasped I have never needed to say your not going out looking like that, I have always thought that she looks amazing and proud that is my daughter.
All teenagers are or become at some point self-centred without even knowing it. Their wishes and problems are the only thing that matters and everything and everybody needs to get on the same page as them, God forbid I might have had a bad day or anyone else. I remember being like that and it is normal so Im just going to grin and bear it and offer support or words of wisdom.
I remember my parent having opinion on some of my friends, at the time it was not helpful and I tended to do the opposite. Thus on this topic caution will have to be used. I know her tribe is the most important thing in her life currently and while it is tempting to pitch in my advice I am not going to. I have always encouraged my children to talk about things that may be of concern to them and to date they always have, either to Mum or me. I trust my daughter knows the difference between right and wrong and I have respect for her to make such judgements. All lines of communication are always open and as a family we spend enough time one on one to check up on things.
Glass of wine number 4! Of course there will be occasions when I will have to call out bad behaviour. This I have always done consistently and my girls know exactly the rules and where the boundaries are. If crossed, the punishment fits the crime. It’s important to be the adult, the mature person in the room. Once dealt with I move on and there is no reminder and I certainly don’t hold it against them. I want my girls to feel safe and I try to be consistent, compassionate and authoritative.