Parenting a teenager is something that’s crept up on me really if I’m honest. One minute they were toddlers, looking to me to meet their every need, then, almost without me realising it, they morphed into older, more independent young people. It sounds cliched I know, but it really did all happen too quickly. There’s a large part of me that longs to be back there, with the two little kids who’s worlds revolved around me; who believed that I could fix all their problems (expect those involving batteries apparently!). I wish I had enjoyed that time more, appreciated it more. But then I realise I’m looking back at the good bits, and choosing to ignore the really tough parts. And I guess the thing I’m trying to learn from that, is to embrace this time, now, with my children, as it is – the good bits, and the not so good.
The changes have been huge, for all of us. I guess from my perspective, one of the hardest parts has been the change in dynamic between myself and my eldest, who is turning into a teenager. He now knows that I can’t fix all his problems; he knows that I don’t have all the answers. And as much as I know that he loves me very much, I am no longer the only one at the centre of his universe. And I find that really hard. It is a completely natural part of growing up, I understand that; it is a completely necessary part of growing up. But it still hurts.
I am a “fixer” by nature: and I care deeply for the people around me. If someone is hurting I want to fix the problem so they no longer hurt. But the problems and the difficulties that come with adolescence can’t always be “fixed”, and certainly not by me as an onlooker, however much I may want to make the hurt go away. So I am working on my own ability to listen and to empathise, but hold off from offering answers or solutions, unless they are directly sought; not always easy! I am also working on my knowledge of, and interest in, Minecraft, coding, mountain biking(!)!!!
Thoughts on parenting a teenager written by Whatever Together member, Haul-ar-fryn