I just burst out in tears, not my proudest moments as a parent but we all have these moments sometimes where we just fall apart. I dare any parent to tell me otherwise. Recently I have entered the wonderful world teenage years. This is the area where your baby starts to define who they are, they test boundaries, they grow, they dont need you, but still need you so much. To me it’s like revisiting the toddler years but with testosterone and lots of eye rolling and back talk and a tiny mustache. This is also the part of your life where as you’re wading in fresh attitude hell, you apologize to the heavens and your parents for being so awful. I put my parents through pure hell and on a few occasions they both lost their patience with me. I get it. Payback is a beyoch and I’m in the throes of it.
My son is gifted academically and this month alone hes been sought out to be in leadership groups, invited to take his SATs in the 7th grade and to participate in a 5 year program for kids which will eventually lead to scholarships (I’m a single mom struggling so this is HUGE) hes had to apply to this program by today and write an essay to get in, get letters of recommendation etc. He puts it off until this morning. I wake him up, I’m sitting here trying to help and in fussing at him because lately he just has an “I don’t care attitude” and honestly I just want to throw in the towel on this whole parenting thing. Im stretched thin. His grades lately have dropped for no other reason than “school is stupid” and well my baby is sullen, ornery, and wants to play basketball or video games all day. This is normal. This is expected. There comes a day where you are no longer the favorite human, the best friend and more of a bother. I’ve prepared for this, but what I didn’t expect was the attitude.
Going back to this essay that he’s writing, I ask him “why he didn’t care ” and he says “cuz I don’t, I’m doing this for you. You want me to do this, you said it was for scholarships”
So I just was crushed, because yes he’s 13 he doesn’t realize the opportunities that he has that I never did and how this will help his future. No 13 year old sees that.
So then I go into a speech about how I wish my parents had helped me in school, not because they wouldn’t, but because they didn’t know of these opportunities or how smart I really was and well in the 90s, I didn’t know how to ask for help either. They instilled a strong work ethic in me, so that’s all I knew. Work hard, make an effort and it will work out. (Great lessons. Mom and Dad don’t feel bad) i explained to him how I wish I didn’t have to work two jobs to pay for college that I had to drop out of because I couldn’t afford it, (I’m still paying for college loans with a high school education and no degree) that if I had a chance at an education I wouldn’t be working at a hotel for 20 years and not following my dreams. That I wanted a different life and if I had the chances hes been given I’d be a success. Then I realize ive said this crying. And maybe I am projecting my failures on him and I’m trying to keep him from growing up to be me.
He looks at me blankly. This is what parenting a teenager is.
This parenting thing is so hard and all i think most of us want is for them to be better than us. To be happy and healthy and good kind people. I know he will be, I have faith that this will all work out. He’s too awesome and I just have to remind myself to be gentle and loving and patient because this won’t last forever.
Hugs to everyone parenting a teenager….. lord knows I ain’t seen nothing yet.