I was just thinking… about parenting teenagers

By Kathy P. Behan

Seems like only yesterday. Tires screech. It's midnight on a stormy Friday night. My heart is only able to slow its frantic beating when it dawns on me that for various reasons, my three children are all safe at home.

Do you know where your child is? Well, if he or she is a teenage driver, you might not.

When kids gain the ability to drive, parents lose the ability to track their children's exact whereabouts. Even if the kids are highly reliable, unless they’re also wearing a homing device, there's no guarantee they’re where they said they’d be.

The loss of parental control, to put it simply, stinks. For me, motherhood changed from being a very black-and-white “profession,” to one tinged grey. When my kids were young, I always knew where they were cause I had to bring them there. Plus, my parenting mission was clear. Good mothers breastfed their babies, set up consistent rules, belonged to playgroups, encouraged academics, and always talked reasonably and age-appropriately to their kids. My children were big, bright, healthy and happy so it was easy to think I was doing it right. But when they entered the murky waters of teenagehood, the path was obscured.

I missed the days of being smug and secure in my parenting. Yes, it's important for kids to become independent, and yet where should the line be drawn? In their teens, they seem to try to weed parents out of their lives. They guard their privacy as if they’re protecting state secrets. Even the most basic questions such as “Where are you going?” and “Who will you be with?” are often met with resentful snarls. But that doesn’t mean they should get away with it – it just means that the battle's on.

As determined as our kids were to keep us in the dark, we were even more relentless in our efforts to stay “enlightened.” Parenting these occasionally surly individuals seemed to involve a lot of fishing. Fishing for information about what was going on their lives. Fishing for clues as to what they were really thinking and doing. I’m glad that even though they tried to swim away when they were teens, we were bound and determined to reel them back in. And after awhile, they got with the program. They told us what we needed to know and often, opened up about a good deal more.

The net result is that now that they’re older – all in their 20s – we’re closer than ever.

The Behan/ Beattys plus their friend Jenny (far right). (Photo/Courtesy of the Behan/Beattys)


Short URL: http://communityadvocate.com/?p=24682

Posted by on Jul 23 2012. Filed under Byline Stories, Neighbors in the news. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

nine + = 17

Recently Commented

  • Dawn Cavanaugh: Thank you Sue. Hopefully this will bring more people to become organ donors. You did a wonderful job.
  • Cathy: I want to thank you for your blessed work . My website is available for you.
  • Bob McCarthy: Hi Vicki.. I just finished reading your article on budgets and condos. I found it very informative. I...
  • lexie: There’s a lot of calls like that reported to Callercenter.com. The authorities might want to look into...
  • Violet the Clown: Emily is an amazing girl and we had a great day! Thanks Emily xoxo Violet the Clown