Don’t Grow Up, My Little Tweens!

The parents of teenagers scare the bloody heck out of me with their stories of moody gangly monsters who no longer think their parents have any valuable advice to give, boys who outright ignore or rebel against their wishes, girls who break rules and drive cars without a license…! They share what their kids say, like “Mom, YOU want me to do well in school, so I’m not going to.” They tell me that their 17-year old is feeling depressed and has no motivation. They tell me that their son stopped hanging out with a group of friends who had a good influence over him and they don’t know why. I read about kids who do nothing but play video games and get slightly panicked because both my boys game, with their dad, their friends and sometimes by themselves.

Kids, no… people in general, the world over are suffering from anxiety, depression and overall malaise. It’s an epidemic and hits teens especially hard.

Mine are still pre-tweens, somewhat naive, very excitable, super loving and under MY influence (aka bribable with chocolate ice cream or screen time). But for how long…?! They are starting to talk back, resist my decisions, disagree with my assessment (but Mommy, you just don’t understand!), and have their own crazy (sometimes super insightful) opinions. They recognize my limitations (Mommy, you don’t know the half of it, you aren’t always around). It’s at once super annoying and yet slightly exhilarating. It’s a milestone in their development into big people, as they figure out how to navigate the world on their own, as they learn that their parents are fallible and don’t know everything… as my husband and I get old, stubborn and crotchety!

They are learning how to get along after heated disagreements, how not to insult people when their opinions are crazy, how to hide what they don’t want me to know and get angry about, how to discern a good friend from a not so great one, how to suck it up when things aren’t going their way, when and how to stand up for themselves even if the person they need to stand up against is me…!

One of these days, what their friends think will trump what I think. May that day take its sweet time to get here. One of these days, they will grow up to be pretty cool members of society. Looking forward to engaging them in intellectually stimulating dialogue then as equals.

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