Those of us with children have undoubtedly spent the best and the most trying years of our lives while raising them. Early on experiences of middle of the night, REM sleep busting shrieks, diaper changes, feeding or just cuddling have made new parents hardened shift workers.
As the little ones age, different problems present themselves: childproofing the house, worries about whether junior will make it to Harvard if she doesn’t get in to that highly recommended preschool and what about mashed potatoes-can I add garlic? A few years later your daughter is convinced that she is Peter Pan and can fly -with a little coaxing you get her off the ten foot patio fence by convincing her that Peter doesn’t fly without his mom.
Yet nothing, I mean nothing prepares you for the onslaught of abuse which occurs during adolescence. Only a year ago your son proclaimed you to be the coolest, smartest dad in the world. Now at age 13 he announces that you are no longer permitted to walk him to school. In fact, you are supposed to act as if you don’t even know him. Once deemed as wise as Solomon, you are now seen as a complete nerd, with no capacity for anything remotely cool.
As you anguish over what unbelievable teenagers you have, I recommend that you take a deep, relaxing breath. Try to remember those days when you were an adolescent: fearful of leaving your childhood innocence behind; uncertain of just who you are, while burdened with a face full of acne. Did you think your parents were cool?
There are books and books written by fellow sufferers of how to best survive the adolescent period without suffering a nervous breakdown; how to maintain a relationship with your kids and what steps to take to improve things.
While I am not advocating not reading about all of this, sometimes just acting as a benign dictator where certain rules for whatever reasons remain in place and being there for those times when your child once again needs you may be all that it takes. Most kids turn out just fine. You too will survive this period. And by the way, lose the high riding jeans!