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Friday, January 24, 2014

KIDS, I can’t wait until they’re…


KIDS, I can’t wait until they’re…
 

Infants are just so hard.  If you can just make it past those diapers and constant crying…and then you get the terrible twos which actually extend to the horrible threes.

 Four and five…ah…magical years, you’ve made it.  Kids are great!  From five to ten they are just so much fun, such a joy.

And then…

The teen years, the years where children are old enough to know stuff, but not yet mature enough to accept the consequences of stuff.  When you tell a teenager he needs to save his money for things he wants he will tell you,

“I know, I know!”

But he is thinking,

“But I don’t care, I want it now!”

When you tell a teenager that they are not yet ready for a sexual relationship and they need to be protected against disease and pregnancy, they will tell you,

“I know, I know!”

But they are thinking,

“But I don’t care, I want it now!”

When you tell your teenager he needs to study and learn if he wants a good job in years to come, he will tell you,

“I know, I know!”

But he is thinking,

“But I don’t care; I’ll worry about that later.”

The thing that makes the teen years so difficult is that you cannot tell them anything.  They already know it all…THEY JUST DON’T CARE!  They do not allow reality to get in the way with what they WANT!

Fortunately this is just a stage.  A stage that all kids go through until their brain is fully developed and they are able to weigh consequences and needs against fantasy and wants.

Unfortunately today’s teenage years have somehow been stretched from eleven to past age twenty-two years old.  To make matters worse, teenage parents who typically used to weather the teenage storm at the age of 35-40 and still had some patience now are often in their late forties and fifties, and their patience has dwindled.

In order to survive the teenage years, you need a delicate balance of discipline and sticking your head in the sand.  You need to put your foot down on behavior that you know is going to end badly, while allowing behavior that you suspect will cause some pain, but will not destroy your teen. 

You must let them screw up or they will believe they are infallible, while sparing them from those gigantic mistakes which will follow them forever.  You must allow them their privacy while being stealthy enough to be aware of and steer them away from destructive behavior.

Probably the best way to keep a teen out of trouble is keep him busy…tire him out…not unlike keeping an adolescent Labrador Retriever out of trouble.  Sports, chores, school, family time, scouts, busy busy, busy. 

Or you just have to be lucky.

Then you have grandchildren.  Grandchildren are wonderful.  When they’re not, they are your children’s problem.

All you have to do is worry.

15 comments:

  1. You've pretty much said it all! Well done, Joeh!

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  2. Those teen years are tricky indeed and thankfully most outgrow them within the decade. I suspect that with your kids, as with the previous post, you had much success helping them to navigate those years.

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  3. I think we were pretty darned lucky to have navigated safely through our kids' teen years without any major catastrophes. Still, it's more enjoyable... and less stressful... to watch our kids usher their kids through their teens. Somehow, I think today's teens face a lot more anxieties and temptations than when ours were growing up.

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  4. It is nice being in the grandparent position of not having to say yes or no or having to deal with the consequences when things go awry... but, yes, there is still the worry.

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  5. We solved the problem. Didn't have any kids.

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  6. Erma Bombeck once said that grandchildren are God's reward for letting your own children live--I agree!!

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  7. Oh, you're right on, of course. I married SWMBO when I was 31 and she had three teenagers. Talk about a challenge!

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  8. I'm beginning to think of you as the "Sage of Human Psychology." Of course you're right about all this. When our boy was twelve I figured we were safe; our beautiful little blond blue-eyed Hummel would never turn into a typical teenager. Then he turned thirteen and overnight he became all those things you mentioned. Ben Franklin, a great American but a terrible father, suggested that the best way to raise a teen was to lock them in a barrel, push food through the opening and let them out after they pass the age of eighteen. There were times when I was tempted to follow his advice.

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  9. Can't find much to argue about there. Maybe I am getting Cranky also.

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  10. Oh, come on - raising teens is easy. Like nailing jello to a tree.

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  11. So I shouldn't have mailed my 19-year-old his forgotten fleece blankie when he couldn't find a suitable replacement in his college-town Walmart?

    Tough love. I'll have to let him shiver next time. Or use the comforter he shunned after ordering a dormitory package of bedding.

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  12. My daughter is doing a fantastic job raising her two, they are now 17 and 19 and you couldn't meet a nicer pair of kids anywhere.
    My son's kids are going to be more of a problem, all the usual up-all-night-playing-video-games-then-can't-get-out-of-bed-until-mid-afternoon-no interest-in-school-or-work behaviour.

    Still, I think they'll be okay.

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  13. I guess you are kind of right. I love kids and my own were not too hard to take care of. I guess I have been lucky.

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