Thursday, October 16, 2008
So you want to raise a Teenager...
One day, after another battle of "clean your room" and "do your chores, please", it hit me again that I am raising a teenager. It seemed that everyone else in the world know this about my darling Lisa (not to mention I have two more threatening to be teens someday themselves), but me! Of course I'm aware that I've been buying the special clothing, the endless requests for shirts, pants and Converse (she collects them) and now make-up, acne and braces, but I still see my little girl who was entirely satisfied with herself when she can grab a book to read in her chosen corner.
The boys are around the corner waiting to date her, she's a Junior in highschool at 15, paints her nails green, owns an MP3 player, has a cell phone, plays Guitar Hero like it's the only game around, has a busier schedule than I could ever imagine, but I still get positively giddy when she says "I don't like any boys yet".
Raising Lisa means being ahead of her smarts just a little, indulging her innocence as much as needed, knowing when to overlook her mood changes, having a healthy control on her wishes and putting a consistent front on her academic requirements and expectations (especially after she's changed her mind about which college she wants to go to, again!) It also means that because she knows she's smart, we have to constantly remind her to be even-keeled and be more considerate of others (though on her own she has no problem executing her best self). It amazes me how such a young mind can be so complex and simple at the same time; she loves to be held by me, but not by anyone else. She acts like a little child with me while acting like a "know-it-all" to the rest of the world. It is frustrating and eye-opening; maddening and humbling; tiring and refreshing, all at the same time!
Lisa is a teenager and I have to admit that; so despite the battles about the filthy room, mounting laundry, braces, acne, moods and hectic schedule, she is still the same Lisa I love and will love- forever... Waiting to date until she's 18 certainly overshadows all these monumental adventures with raising a teenage- and very smart girl.
So how do I deal with it, how should each mother, I think, should deal with a teenager? Teach her to be resilient, to be the best she can be, to have her accept that she is not expected to be perfect, but be on the lookout for her full potential, that she is loved no matter what, talk to and with me, share her opinions and from time to time, challenge her to challenge herself. Truly, all there is to do, is show a teenager all the beauty and love in the world, because they already see all the ugly and misleading parts of it, on their own, in their own growing, overwhelmed minds.