If I survive my kids’ teenage/high school years, it’ll be a close thing. Oh, they’re really good kids, trust me. But holy wow…I feel like I’m walking a minefield all the time, and that I’m totally flying by the seat of my pants. You know those nightmares you have when you walk into a class you haven’t been to all semester and, SURPRISE!, it’s the day of the final? That’s exactly how I feel, almost all the time.
Here’s the deal – I get stuck, because I’m trying really hard to not screw them/this up completely. So sometimes they’ll tell me something, or ask me something, or do something, and I’ve got nothin for them. I need a minute to process, to work out the best way to respond, handle the situation, without alienating them, or ruining them for life. Sometimes, you don’t get that moment to process, you just have to roll with what’s at hand. In those moments, you either hit a home run, or spend a couple of days undoing the damage.
My most-important criteria is them knowing they’re loved, that I have their best interests at heart, that I need to protect them, that I’m proud of them, and that I trust them, trust how we’ve raised them thus far. Although in all honesty, those aren’t always the first things that come to mind when those boggling situations arise. Generally, my thought is, “Well, this is a cluster of epic proportions…I have NO CLUE what to do with this.” And then I wing it. I wonder if all other parents of high schoolers are as feeling as lost, confused, befuddled. Sometimes I’ll even tell them, “Hey, I’m new at this parenting teens gig. Gimme a minute to figure this out.” I don’t know they’d rather hear that, and have me get it right, than have me act superior, all-knowing, and set off that minefield.
I hope, when they’re all grown and out of the house, I can look back on these years, and realize I didn’t do such a bad job, that I did more right than wrong, that I didn’t completely screw up my kids. I hope they can say that, too.