Well, I didn't realize what a pot of emotions I would stir by telling the world of my...err...shall we say "troubles" with step son. Let's just say that I've received a lot of feedback through private emails -- some messages offering encouragement, some filled with humor, and even a few filled with fear for their soon-to-be teens....but the ones that tugged at my heart the most were the messages filled with despair and lost hope.
Let me say this - DO NOT GIVE UP.
Teenagers are a finicky bunch. Too old to be a child, but too young to be an adult. They are stuck in a life of awkwardness, misunderstandings and backstabbing. They turn on one another as quickly as they turn their backs on you. As a parent, you are the ultimate "uncool" thing around.
Here's a newsflash for all you teens out there (or, at least my Stepson and future teens)....I am not here to be your friend. Moreover, I do not care if you think I'm cool.
It surprises me the number of people who want to be friends with their kids. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I don't want to be on friendly terms with my kids, that's far from it. I want my kids to trust me, I'd like for them to confide in me, but they also have to know that I am their mother. You'd better believe that I'll give them hell if they deserve it. I will embarrass, I will punish, I will take away privileges -- and I will not be ashamed to do so.
The thing is, they are looking for love and acceptance, and as a parent, that's the best we can give -- however, this love and acceptance that they're seeking isn't from us. This, I think, is another mistake that many parents make. Believe me when I say that I love and accept my step son. The kid has sure given me a hard time, but I still love him! The point is, they are looking for this love and acceptance from their peers....even the popular kids are worried about it. We all went through teenage-hood...why are we so quick to forget??
I guess that what I'm saying is don't let your kids drag you down. Pick your fights...let some of their moodiness pass as if it didn't even exist. They will eventually out grow it.
In saving the best for last, this is a tidbit of one of the messages that I got in the last 24 hours...boy, did this ever resonate with me: "Try to keep in mind that the person they are at this age usually has nothing in common with the adult they will become!"
1 week ago