Posts Tagged ‘teens’

Many decades ago, when I was a girl who didn’t like being bothered to do anything that would cut into my daydreaming and reading time, my mother embarked on a crafts project. She designed and embroidered two pillows for me. The first depicted colorful little snails and the curving words, “Don’t Rush Me.” The second was adorned with tiny insects with the heading “Don’t Bug Me.” Why did my mother take the time to stitch these charming little pillows? Let’s just say I drove her to it.

I’ve been thinking about those pillows lately as my teenaged sons greet my requests to do, well, anything, with the same sort of exasperated annoyance I once apparently perfected. Those pillows, still nestled in a box somewhere in my mother’s attic, remind me that I once was more like my boys are now than I usually admit. When I ask for the umpteenth time that they don’t walk into the house in their mud-caked baseball cleats or remind them to put their dirty clothes into the hamper, I certainly don’t find myself thinking “gee, like mother, like sons!”

But those pillows are proof that I was not always a grown up, and that the journey from being a child who thinks parents are uptight and obsessive about such absurdities as household chores to becoming an adult who actually hangs up a wet bath towel without being told to do so is a very long one. (more…)

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Like many women with a less than cordial relationship with her bathroom scale, I’m aware that I have a natural weight, the number my body veers toward when I forget I am on a diet. And now, after 14+ years of parenting, I’ve come to believe that I also have a natural inner parent, the one who I always seem to resort to being, despite my attempts to heed the advice of parenting books and articles, and other apparently “better” parents.

This occurred to me during the past week as I’ve pondered how to motivate my ninth-grade son to be less of what his English teacher calls “a minimalist” and what I call a plain, old under-achiever. With report cards issued and parent-teacher conferences underway, I’ve heard some parents talk about how they react to grades they believe are too low (which is often different from a universally acknowledged “bad” grade).  There are phones and laptops taken away, video game privileges revoked, and even grounding.

I have considered such steps, too, but ultimately I hesitate – and not only because I’m not sure those methods work. I hesitate because after all these years, I’m getting to know myself as a parent. While I might look at other (stricter) parents with envy, thinking that they have the answers to automatically get their wayward teens in line, I know that I can only parent….as I parent.  Which is to say that if were graded on “consistently enforcing rules,” I would get a B-minus, at best. On punishing, I’d probably do even worse. (more…)

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