Well your sweet little girl or boy just turned anywhere from 10-12 years old and all of a sudden; they’re all mouthy, know everything about EVERYTHING, think you’re the stupidest human being on the planet, oh and get this; their friends know a lot more than you do, they don’t want to spend time with the family, they want to be “alone” or with their friends, and silently to yourself you WANT them to spend all their time alone or with their friends because when they are part of the family everybody is MISERABLE!
You don’t remember being like this, and if you do it wasn’t nearly as bad. Well, you’ll get no comfort from me, I hate to say but you won’t. Tweens and teenagers are as mystifying to me as a fairy, unicorn, Godzilla, or an extraterrestrial (the latter being the most metaphorically correct). One day they think you’re their whole world and look to you for guidance, you’re the smartest, and can give them all they need: food, shelter, clothing, toys, games, togetherness, etc. and then one day BAMO! You’re an idiot, an embarrassment, a thorn in their side, a person that impedes their freedom, nosey, and interfering.
I will say: you can’t give in, and you can’t try to be cool or one of their cool friends. You are their parent, you still remain their protector even if they don’t think they need one. If you’re a good parent you are interfering, and impeding their freedom, and the reason for this is because you DO know more then they do, you’ve lived longer, you’ve made a ton of mistakes that you’ve learned from, and you still want them to succeed.
It is your responsibility to parent them, and if they do make ridiculous mistakes like early pregnancy, drug use, malicious mischief, marriage way too early in your estimation, speeding tickets, auto accidents or any other slue of mistakes you need to be open, non-judgemental, and loving (notice I didn’t say supportive or disown them).
These will be some of the hardest parenting years of your life. You will go back to when they were infants and you didn’t sleep much. You will be worried far more than you did when they were safe at home with you, and when you left them with a babysitter. You will always worry about your kids to your dying day but these years you will worry more than you thought possible.
My mom started giving me critical thinking skills, and boundaries beginning when I was probably 5. She always said you have to teach your children and give them good boundaries BEFORE they become teenagers because if you don’t give them consistency and trust before then you will not be able to trust them when they’re teenagers.
I believe this. I was mouthy as a teenager but I never had a curfew, and remember a lot of freedom given to me but that was because I knew what was expected of me from an early age, I respected those boundaries, and I never broke that trust because I knew if I did my freedom would be gone.
So, chin-up and start TODAY to be the parent of a teenager tomorrow!