Teenage Parenthood

Yesterday was the first Food Club meeting and one of my foodies said she missed my blogs on Myspace about my son. I couldn’t remember what I wrote that was so entertaining, but it made me think that I haven’t really written much about him or the changes that occurred in our relationship. But I was thinking about it and things have definitely changed. For one, no more nicknames. I think that probably occurred two years ago when he officially became a teenager. Through no request of his, I just figured that now I would call him by the name I gave him instead of one of the many nicknames I created during his life. I also try not to embarrass him intentionally, although I’m hard pressed not to when he does something that makes me push one of my buttons.

But there is something bigger than that. My son is a young man and the authoritative style of parenting when he was a kid just doesn’t work anymore. It doesn’t work for two reasons: 1) I have to trust that what was instilled in him as a child is there operating the way it should and 2) he has to learn who he is and not be who I want him to be. As a mother and him being my firstborn, that was and still is a hard lesson to learn. Granted he can’t walk around with matted hair and not showering, but I wanted to keep him as the cute little boy that listened and thought I was the greatest. This teenager who seemed sarcastic and sullen all the time was truly testing my resolve as a parent and some days as a human. I mean really testing it. And that’s when I realized that he was maturing and responding to being treating like a three-year-old instead of a 13-year-old.

Two years later, we’ve been through some things that have now landed us on the shore of an entirely new relationship. I think of myself now as a consultant. I believe that what he’s learned from us is adequate enough for him to function on a day-to-day basis with just a few bumps in the road. He learned how to be himself despite temptation to be like everyone, to respect others for their differences even if he doesn’t like them, accept responsibility for his words and actions and about making choices (my personal favorite). That choices one seems to be the one he has the most trouble accepting. I don’t want to send him out in the world thinking that things happen to him and he’s a victim of circumstance. I want him to know how to make choices and understand that all choices have corresponding results. Right now, we’re having a great old time discussing his choice not to participate in any activities although he’s been told to do so by both parents. He can choose to find a way not to do it and that’s perfectly fine, but that then activates parental choices that may not be in line with teenage choices. And the parental choice is probably worse than the school activity he should be doing.

For the most part though, I think the transition is working well. I still have a great relationship with him and for the most part he’s honest and open when we have ‘those’ conversations. I love my teenager and my goal to send him out into the world with a good head on his shoulders filled with common sense, self awareness and book smarts, is shaping up nicely. As a matter of fact, I think I still inspire him with my sage-like wisdom because he called me Socrates. Or was that sarcasm….

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