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Teenagers, friend or foe?

Are teenagers harder to raise today than ever before?

My mum seems to think so. She’s 77 and she raised 3 kids. She asked me the other day how do I keep up with what’s going on with my kids especially my 18 year old? Quite simply it’s hard work, like having another full time job with a mean boss. I get less sleep now than I did when he was a breast feeding newborn.

Anyone that has a few kids will know how different their personalities can be almost to the point that you would think that they come from different families.My boys are so different on every level. Apparently we clash with the child that resembles us the most. I can vouch for that. Absolutely.

My Mr Teenager is practically a male version of what I was like at that age and it took a girlfriend to point that out. Talk about light bulb moment.

I was lamenting to her the other day about how hard I’m finding navigating this area with him . “He is doing this, and that and did I tell you he also done this?”
On and on I went. Waiting for her to give me some of her wisdom.
She didn’t answer for a while , just listening and agreeing.
” Well? “, I asked .”See what I’ve been going through “. “Its doing me in”, I continued to dramatise.

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When she could finally get edge ways in, she started laughing then proclaimed “Fuck! He sounds exactly like you were, Exactly ” … “Remember?”
“What I’m hearing could have been any of our stories back in the day.You’ve described yourself mate”, she laughed.

And she would know.

We go way back and we’ve seen each other at our best and worst. When we were we at our worst , we were hideous creatures. Running amok on the streets of Kings Cross searching for drugs. 17 year of age , Eeeek! At our best , we were healthy, tanned and responsible citizens. We could have moved mountains. Did we ? Not even close. Not even an ant hill.image

Some of the situations we used to get ourselves into I don’t know how we are still alive to tell the tale. We were young, cute, free and fearless . Exactly like my kid.
I remember those feelings well.

It all started to click, Damn it, that’s why we sometimes clashed.

Being a former deviant I am well aware of the fun that’s to be had so this puts me a few steps ahead of him and it’s exhausting. It’s like I know what his next move will be because its probably the move I would have taken. Although I would have taken a couple more steps and then some.

Talking to different parents over the years, the ones that seem to be more relaxed with the teenage thing are the parents who obviously didn’t seem to get up to much mischief when they were young. It’s very easy to pick through conversation and even now at BBQs or parties , they are the people that bore me the most.
So this is the Catch 22 , I want him to have his fun and create memories that will make him and his friends laugh and cringe in later years.

“Pull back , pull back, let him get it out of his system” . She assured me.
“You turned out alright didn’t you? and as I remember correctly you were a tad worse than him”.
I was , I actually really was. I know my kid isn’t into drugs, I know this to be true. He is more focused than I was at his age. He isn’t an out there risk taker and he drinks minimally. An angel really.

Fear is what drives my parenting a lot and I am learning to get a grip on it. Trusting that he will be alright in the scary world. Trust in the universe that he won’t stumble and fall. I know this is a rite of passage in order to grow into sensible and fulfilled humans BUT I know the fine line of how quick things can take a swift turn backwards.
Relax and trust the process. Ok. I’ll see what I can do. Can’t promise anything though.

It doesn’t seem so long ago I was a teenager, in fact I remember it just like yesterday. I know all the tricks of the trade and I was so good at them.

My 18 year old is pushing all the freedom buttons and it’s not fun . Yeah yeah I know he is 18 and legal to vote, drink, drive and whatever else you can do at 18. Still living at home though means still my rules. Boundaries and respect.

When I was 18, there was nothing more that I liked to do than drink, get high and chase boys. Oh and buy records. That was pretty much it. I think back to what my girlfriends and I got up to and it seemed pretty harmless back then. We didn’t steal anything or hurt anyone or bully anyone. We were having fun. We broke a lot of hearts and a lot of rules but we were quite frankly living the dream. Sex, drugs and rock and roll. You have no idea.
All I can say is , thank god there was no internet.

Trust in the process. It’s on my to do list. One day.

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