Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sanity check

The other day, a few of us were discussing parenting. Specifically, the parenting of teens. Parenting teens is a unique experience.

It is when karma bites you in the butt. Everywhere there are parents in their mid 30s-50s doing penance for all the grey hairs, heartache, and high blood pressure they caused their own parents as teenagers. It is the time when you finally appreciate the sacrifices your parents made in your behalf. Especially the one where they placed their sanity on the sacrificial altar of parenthood, as you are now doing the same for your own children.

I've met women who love their kids' teenage years, or at least say they do. I am thinking it's because they have already walked through the fiery hot coals of a savage toddlerhood and the teen years are a cake walk in comparison. But, for a lot of us it is just the opposite.

We have been given children with strong personalities, and when they enter adolescence - it's a setup for an emotional collision of cosmic proportions. It's as if we're giving birth a second time to the same child, only this time it's an emotional birth. There are the same pains of labor, a wish for heavy medication, and desperate prayers for this experience to be over so we can hold this child in our arms, and of course show him off to all who will look.

Do you remember the pain of Transition? There is that to look forward to, because it means it's almost over. It is the time to remember your breathing exercises, to concentrate on your end goal, and work together as husband and wife. It is also the time you're most tempted to scream & throw things, to blame your spouse for all the pain you're in, to throw in the towel and walk away - only you can't, there is only one way out of this, and it's right smack through the middle of the hard stuff.

But wait! what about the baby/teen? Have you ever wondered what that baby was thinking in the middle of his/her birth? I'm sure it wasn't all that pleasant: leaving the relative comfort and security of the womb, getting squeezed from all sides (talk about your pressure), and then taking that first, deep scary breath - not knowing how it's going to turn out. No wonder there's all that crying at the end. It's just as hard on them.

And I came to the realization that teens? they are God's way of making sure we do not forget Him.


MAGIRK said...

Wow. That was an awesome post. So true, and eloquent.

Summer said...

Wow. Just Wow.

Cocoa said...

I love the comparison you've made here. If it's true then here's hoping my children's teen years are as fast and relatively pain free as their births were. {{fingers crossed}}

Corrie said...

Magirk - Hi! and thank you for saying that.

Summer - thx

Cocoa - (thanks for being my sewing teacher). I'll bet you didn't give your parents many grey hairs, so you may have an easier time of it. I, however, contributed to many sleepless nights for my parents - if only I could go back and shake my younger self by the shoulders!

Elizabeth-W said...

I always compare teenagers to 2 year olds--it's all about power, independence, that sort of thing.

I read this quote once that says something like God gives us teenagers and cranky old people so we can each of them move on---it was more eloquent than that, but the point is that that fight for independence is what makes us able to let them go to college :)
Um, when my younger daughter turns 13 I'll be 47!!!!

Am'n2deep said...

Love, love, loved this post! Beautiful analogy.

We're in the throws of puberty at our house. I must admit, that so far in my limited experiences, I think I'm better equipped to be a mom of teenagers than toddlers. We'll see.

I really loved the part about it being hard on the teens too. When I think about how much a little shift in my hormones can make me feel completely out of control of my emotions (and behavior), I can't help but have empathy--especially when I consider that they are also having to work with an underdeveloped brain. What's my excuse?

My pre-teen daughter, just cornered me with some very straight forward questions, that involved specific questions about my own biggest teen age blunders/near disasters. Now this is my child, that has trust issues, and will not take well to being lied to in any form. Yikes!! Answering one question just opened the flood gates to several more. Heaven help me!!...(Heaven did) In the end, it was a very positive experience.

Anyway, thanks, Corrie. Did I mention that I LOVED this post?

Heffalump said...

I am so not looking forward to the teen years...there are enough explosions at our house already. I can just hope they take after their Dad in their teen years and not after me...

Corrie said...

ew - I suppose you're right, otherwise we'd never give them up. I'm sure my mom was thinking, 'just you wait.' And now, she can sit back and enjoy the show. I totally deserve it.

am'n - glad you liked it. It sounds like you did well, especially for being put on the spot. Really, what is a presidential debate compared to impromptu questioning by a teen?

heff - maybe it will calm down a little. I'm afraid we're building to a crescendo over here. (I love your festive profile pic!)