Tag Archives: adolescence

Gimme Chemicals! I Have A Teenager!

Need I say more?

And the sad things is, she’s an awesome teenager. (Knocking on everything wood in sight) We’ve had a few, a tiny few troublesome incidents with her. So few, in fact, that I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Why is it sad that she’s an awesome teenager? Because I’m beginning to realize that there are parents out there who are way more stressed than I am. And I can’t imagine going through more.

My troubles include:

  • an A-B student, taking Advanced Placement and honors courses, who is perfectly fine with getting C’s if she doesn’t like the teacher, the assignment, her seat next to the door, or  the temperature outside that day.
  • a teen who chooses high school football games, dances and other activities over studying for exams next week
  • a child who has to be reminded and reminded and reminded to do the few chores we ask her to do
  • a senior in high school who knows she’s going to college but doesn’t want to actively participate in the process. She tosses all brochures into the circular file, with her mind already made up to go to the easiest state school that’ll take her.
  • a spendthrift who never budgets for gas for the car she uses or lunch at school. When I hand over her allowance that is supposed to cover more than one item, she blows it in one day at the mall – and no, her purchases don’t include anything she needed in the first place.

I know. Pull out your violins. Cry me a river. I have it so tough.

But I’m stuck. How in the world do you teach responsibility, dedication, discipline? At her age I was the one applying to schools, begging my parents to consider the school of my choice – with them shaking their head no, and telling me I would go to the university right next door. I just want for her what I couldn’t have at her age. But she doesn’t seem to want more.

I want her to want more. So how do you teach ambition or drive? How do you push without pushing too hard?

On the other hand:

  • You tell her to be ready by a certain time? She’s rarely (if ever) late. Punctual to a fault.
  • You ask her to help you with something? I can count on one hand how many times she’s given me attitude. She is almost always willing to chip in – well, that is, if it isn’t already on her chore list.
  • As much as we’ve been at odds she hates leaving the house or going to bed at night without us resolving the conflict. I hate to admit it, but she’s usually the one that makes me talk it out with her until we can hug…and mean it.
  • When her money just flies out of her purse, it’s often to buy something for someone else. She is very, very generous.
  • She still wants to spend time with us. Whether it’s to watch Masterpiece Theater with me, go out for sushi with her dad, take the boys to the park or out for ice cream or a family hike – she is eager to go and will switch her schedule to make time for us.

But some days. Some nights. I’ve had it with the struggle of the week. And you parents with more struggles than mine? You need this song more than I do. So crank it up. Shake your head. And scream it so the neighbors hear! (Well, maybe not that loud. Wouldn’t want a visit from the men in white now would we?)

Disclaimer: I have no idea what kind of chemicals The Pink Spiders are speaking of. The chemicals I crave come in red and white Coca Cola cans, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream tubs and those brown and yellow packages carrying plain and peanut m&m’s. THOSE kind of chemicals.

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