Saturday, June 12, 2010
What You Don't Want to Happen When You're Skimming through Blogs on A Peaceful Saturday Morning
Before I tell you what you don't want to happen when you're skimming blogs, let me say that the above picture was altered using Photoshop Mobile on my Ipad. Pretty cool, huh?
Apparently the police didn't call ALL the parents last night, but they did call the Coffees. Sure, sure, call the coffees and not us so that I have to wake up in the morning and discover that my daughter snuck out last night. Of course, had they called us, they just would have interrupted a very nice nights sleep that I just had so I guess I'm not complaining.
But finding out my daughter wasn't in bed last night by reading my best friend's blog is a little disconcerting. Of course, it was fairly harmless teenage behavior, but I'm up to my ears in deception and manipulation from having endured it for 10 years from one teenager or another, so it gets more than a bit annoying.
A phone call from the other daughter's side of things was also very anxiety filled, which it always is, though I decided not to take action at this point in time. Usually the drama plays itself out in about a day and if I intervene it is just a waste of time and emotional energy. After a while you see patterns develop and not being part of the pattern, when it is so predictable, seems like a good plan.
I was reminded of my analogy of raising teens being like teaching them to drive when Sadie was driving yesterday. It was downright frightening. But I knew I had to stay in the car and take it as it came.
Cindy talked about her being so proud of Fabian today and I am too! But as Cindy explains, these years of deciding who they are going to be takes it's toll on each of these kids and, maybe even more so, on us as parents.
They are asking themselves difficult questions. Whose value system am I going to embrace? Whose way of life am I going to follow? What is going to be important to me? Who am I going to listen to? Am I going to conform myself to act like my peers even if they are making poor choices? Am I going to try to fit in or try to find a niche for myself that is unique?
And if these questions, difficult for any young adult, are made more difficult to answer by adding adoption to the mix, especially transracial adoption. Am I going to grow up to be like my parents, or my birthparents? Am I going to act the way I see other people acting who look like me -- like a person of color -- or am I going to behave like a white person like my parents? What does it mean to be one or the other, or can I really be both?
I used to work very hard to try and stop my children from making bad choices. I would follow them around and try to find them when they ran away, stay up late and check their rooms, lose sleep and worry, consequence every bad move, ground them, and all kinds of other things. And you know what? 3 of the oldest 6 have chosen to go a very different path than we would have planned. And four of the six aren't embracing our values. A couple of them are so far away from what I would want for them that I can barely accept it. And the two that are making good, moral choices may not ever be able to live independently. It's fairly discouraging. But it proved a wonderful point to me. You can't FORCE teenagers to be the person you have in mind for them.
So with this next bunch I'm trying to relax a bit. Focussing on honesty and communication. And yet they are still insisting, often, on doing things the hard way. But over-consequencing because I"m disappointed or angry with their choices isn't going to stop them from doing it again. It's just going to make them more sneaky and more angry.
Raising teenagers isn't fun. Their brains aren't fully developed, for goodness sake. They can't seem to appropriately process their own emotions, they blame their parents for everything that goes wrong in their world, and they tend to be disrespectful and angry when things don't go their way. Currently I am legally responsible for six teenagers and that just doesn't seem right. Of course there are two more that are 18 and 19, so we really have 8 teens. Something about that screams "Proper Prior planning prevents pitifully poor performance."