One of the BIGGEST fallacies you'll ever hear about parenting teenagers...IMHO, as a parent of teens, four times over, maneuvering through waves of hormonal and emotional angst for the last 9 years...both theirs AND mine...is the popular belief that parents of teens are entirely responsible for their children’s behavior.
That is SO not true! I am mostly responsible for my teens behavior, but not entirely.
Like adults, teenagers have their own agenda and many times (okay, mostly) it involves doing exactly the OPPOSITE of what their parents would do in almost any given situation and, well, it's a part of growing up.
Hope: I'm going to go with Holly and pick Heather up from work!
Unless you happen to be 13 years-old AND your 3 siblings happen to be older than you...well then...I am most assuredly responsible for her behavior...entirely.
Me: Hang on, let me see your face!
Something you may or may not know about me: I don't have a very good poker face and will undoubtedly be the MOST popular person at the Texas Holdem table. Also, the poorest.
Hope: What's wrong with it?!?
However, after 21 years of parenting, you think I would know better, right?!?
Me: Nothing, just stay in the car and try not to scare anyone!
Nope!!! Judging by the way her shoulders dropped as she walked away from my desk, not my best parental moment.
I am, however, a Professional Dork and totally comfortable with calling out myself for being an asshole -- except for this one time.
Holly: Was that REALLY necessary?!?
My oldest was more than happy to take on THAT job.
Me: I'm not happy about her wearing THAT much makeup.
Now this is where my middle girl would remind me about the time she went through her Goth stage and be all over me about how I was NOT helping my youngest with building her self-esteem...if my middle girl had been home when this all was going down, I mean...but Holly was kind enough to take on THAT job, as well.
Holly: Yes, but you're not helping her confidence any.
See what I mean?
Glen (shivering): EEESH!!!
My son was sitting right behind me, playing his video game and making it clear that he wanted NO part in this conversation, until the girls left the house.
Glen: She's sooooo pretty, why does she want to hide it behind ALL that make up?!?
And you know what? I started to brain-vomit ALL the stuff that SHOULD have been said to my 13 year-old:
- It's hard to be the youngest
- Feels sort of like getting lost on a crowded street
- Standing out from the crowd
- Finding her own identity
- Being comfortable in her own skin
- And if that means wearing black lipstick...so be it
Except I was saying ALL of it to my 16yo son.
Me: And now she HATES me!
Aaaaaaaand, flashing my parental insecurities like a bead-hungry and slightly drunken reveler on Mardi Gras.
Glen: She doesn't hate you, she just doesn't like you very much, right now.
Did I mention my teens are WAY smarter than me?!? In fact, I think maybe I've learned more from my teens these last few years as their mom than...well...let's just say, they've been doing most of the adulting, lately.
Soooooo, I thought to myself...SELF!!!...what would teens do?!?...WWTD?!?...I texted her an apology.
Then I sat and stared at my phone. And sat. And stared some more.
Me (siiiiiiiiiigh): She's not answering me.
Aaaaaaand, then my cell phone rang.
Hope: I just saw your text, Momma....
I'm not at liberty to share the rest of our conversation, but suffice it to say that I am forgiven and continue to remain an example of exactly how NOT to act...to my children AND other parents...you're welcome.
In fact, she agreed to a selfie and insisted that I blog the moment...you know...as a reminder...in case I forget what an ASSHOLE I can be.
Glen: Aaaaaaand, another tender moment brought to you by HORMONES!
Teenagers, you gotta love them...I mean...because GOTH!!!...but I love them! Seriously.