I'll be honest with you. I pretty much despised my teen years.
Now, that doesn't mean I didn't have good times or proud moments. In fact, I had some great ones. I did well in school, aside from those abominable topics of math and science. I had friends, nice girls who proved good influences. But, like most teens, I felt awkward and out of place. I was the embodiment of every single Molly Ringwald character, minus the romance with Andrew McCarthy.
My two sons are pretty much teens themselves now. My eldest is 13 and my youngest is 11. Both wonderful boys, but full of the same insecurities most teens exhibit. Watching them navigate the rocky road that is teen life sets me on edge. In fact, I think I'm more nervous now than I was the first time.
I have to give kudos to single parents everywhere as I delve into this topic. My mom was a single mom and I don't know how she did it. If I didn't have my husband, I doubt I'd be able to parent successfully. It's so comforting knowing we can bounce ideas and approaches off each other. His approach is usually different than mine, which helps too.
Nevertheless, it seems my kids come home every day after having dealt with new challenges. We're blessed in the sense that we receive amazing support from their schools and they've always had great teachers and friends. Even still, their days are often fraught with angst and peer pressure and temptation.
So what's a nervous mom/former high school nerd to do? Well, my own temptation is to whisk them away from the den of iniquity known as "school." To hide them close to my bosom and promise no one will ever hurt them.
Sadly, I can't do that. As hubby and I constantly tell the boys, "You need to learn how to operate in the world." They need to learn how to handle bullies, how to deflect negativity and how to contribute to society. They need to stand up for themselves, to be proud of their unique traits and to be positive. And they need to learn all of this while fending off those horrible teenage hormones.
I wish I could go back and talk to my teenage self, and reassure her everything would be okay. I try to tell my sons the same thing. "Keep things in perspective." This is hard to do for a teen who makes a mountain out of every molehill. When we're teens, every problem appears disastrous and every triumph enduring. In reality, it's all so fleeting.
I guess the most important thing to do is keep the lines of communication open and to show my support. They say the teen brain does not mature until the age of 25. That's a lot of hormones.
Hopefully my poor heart can take it.