A reader wrote:
“The best part is when they finally get it, and tell you sorry for being such pain in the ass during those (teenage) years. My son told me he now understands everything I was trying to convey to his logic blocked brain back then…”
Oh man, I can relate.
I was pretty certain that at least one of my envelope-pushing teens would flee the nest — iPod at full volume and a certain finger in the air — never looking back or speaking to me again.
Hating my guts forever.
Let’s face it. Part of the growing up process is envelope-pushing. Our job as parents was to keep the envelope intact.
Simple science: All that pushing and pulling is bound to cause some friction. Where there’s friction, things get heated.
It was like the terrible twos all over again.
Only this time we were dealing with bigger, smarter, wilier entities. Entities that were convinced we were out to ruin their lives. No matter how many times we tried to explain that our decisions were made with their best interest at heart, it didn’t seem to sink into their hard little heads.
Teenagers feel that every party is the after-party at The Academy Awards, every game is the Super Bowl, and every day is their last day on Earth — so denying them anything is the end of the world to them.
Basic stuff like “No, you can’t go to a party at someone’s house if their parents aren’t home” became The 100 Years War. Or at least an all night battle.
“No, you can’t use the car tonight, I need it, but I’ll be glad to drop you off” somehow sounds just like “I hate your guts and want to destroy your very soul” to the ears of an adolescent.
It was like we didn’t even speak the same language.
I’m not sure how this happened. It seemed like they understood English a few years back, but then again, the first word they learned was NO!, closely followed by Why? And once again that’s all we seemed to hear.
The battles raged on, but luckily we were still able to see the big picture…well, for the most part. For this was a war of attrition. That’s not to say I didn’t think we might lose (have them leave and never speak to us again) but we would never surrender, never give in, never say die.
I held on to the hope that they would see things the way Mark Twain did:
“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”
Well it paid off – even before The Spawn hit twenty-one!
After just one semester of college our oldest, The Piglet, told us, “thank you for caring enough to keep me in line.”
It’s way up in the top ten best moments of my parenthood experiences.
Who knew how much a simple “Thank you for loving me” could touch a parent’s heart – for me it was like Christmas, Fourth of July and Arbor Day all rolled into one. A veritable smorgasbord of warm fuzzyishiness.
The armistice is signed and peace reigns throughout the kingdom.
Ah, the spoils of war.
YOUR TURN: Have your adult kids thanked you for keeping them in line during their teen years? How did it make you feel?