One of the most rewarding things about raising and/or working with children is watching them become adults. This process is also, unfortunately, fraught with growing pains in the form of poor choices and actions that frequently lead to hurt feelings, misunderstandings, over-reacting, disappointment, and somebody crying in the bathroom. I’ve been blessed with three kids who weathered / are weathering their teenage years without too much strife (not counting arguments about schoolwork) and it makes my heart ache to see others, whom I’ve known since they were five or six years old, struggle with the simplest of social situations. Blinded by hormones, bowing under peer pressure, and desperate for attention and acceptance, these young people say and do things to their friends and even adults that serve no purpose other than to inflict hurt. They act disrespectful, selfish, spiteful, and downright mean – and they think it’s ok.
But it isn’t ok and it makes me sad and angry because I know it doesn’t have to be like that.
I do understand and remember what it is like to be fifteen (and you couldn’t pay me enough to do it again), but I also know that it is possible at that age to make good choices, to be kind, to avoid situations that make you stoop to low behavior, to have respect for yourself, and to treat others how you would like to be treated. I also know that most teenagers won’t listen to that because they can’t see beyond their own noses, that 99% of what they think is of utmost importance isn’t really, and all the crap they obsess over right now won’t mean squat three years from now.
What started out as a fun lazy weekend ended on a sour note and I’m exhausted and disappointed; there is a reason the phrase is “dealing” with teenagers. They flip faster than a jumping bean on a hot sidewalk, and you never know what will set off an emotional firecracker. After the anger fades, I’m left with every parent’s wish: that someday they will have kids of their own.