I Live in Terror of Teenagers
Parenting a tween is like being in suspended animation. You are constantly dancing between the: "He is so adorable still" and the "OMG, do I need to worry about the behaviour? He is almost a teen."
I consider my almost 12-year-old still pretty innocent. It is hard for me to imagine that we will soon be negotiating all those too-icky-to-even-mention topics. I think that we do a pretty good job of keeping the lines of communication open, of being relatively non-judgemental and letting him be independent. We aren't perfect, but we are just cynical enough to know that the lives of teens are filled with moral choices that seem more complicated than when we were young.
We just happen to think that our son won't be caught up in all the bad stuff (at this point I haven't considered my other two kids).
But then I happened to read all of these articles in one day and now I'm feeling petrified about the teen years.
I'll admit it, I thought the choking game was an urban myth, but a 13-year-old died of it recently.
I thought sexting happened at a later age, but this article talks about a 13-year-old sexting and the horrible repercussions that happened because of it.
I thought 13 was too young for all of that, but the media seems to want to convince me that I only have 18 months of carefree time left. One more year!?
I just have to hope that we have given our kids enough training to be resilient. I realize that the next year is important, that we have to let him "experience independence" as the expert in this video says. We have to allow him to make mistakes before the stakes get much higher.
The expert talks about the feelings of betrayal that parents experience as their kids get older, making them want to hold on tighter. I get that. My little guy is growing up and it does feel like betrayal on many levels. But instead of making it personal, it is time to let go.
But, really, how do parents of teens handle the what-ifs and the what's next, and who is where? And the newspaper. How do parents of teens ever read the newspaper?
Want more chaos? Last year, I started some controversy (who me?) when I said why I don't say Merry Christmas (spoiler: I'm Jewish).