Writer’s Name: S.F. Hardy
Title: Teenage Blues
As a continuation of an article I wrote earlier entitled, Raise It Write or Watch
It Fall, based on the ways children are raised today compared to
yesteryears, I want to discuss personal hardships of parenting a teenager in
Almost 13 years ago, days shy of my twentieth birthday I gave birth to a healthy
inquisitive baby boy. As a young mother, I was not sure how I was going to be a
mother who raised her son to be a productive citizen but I was and still am
determined to do so.
As I look back my fears of being a decent mother is nothing compared to what I face as my son will be a teenager in just 2 months. His attitude is changing, I’m fearful of the world that awaits him, and I just don’t know what to do.
I feel myself losing control as I often have to holler and scream just to get his
attention. I am not above corporal punishment but normally he is not within
arm’s reach or throw when we have these bouts. When discussing my child’s
abnormal behavior with my husband, he explained to me that our child is going
through puberty, which explains his moodiness and magnified attitude problem for
no apparent reason.
I talked with an old friend who is the parent of a pre-teen and adult. She too expressed her bafflement and had no answer for me or herself. Like me, she was a young mother who raised her children in a two parent home. Her children, like I imagine most children, had their issues but to what extreme is another topic.
The fact remains. It is very difficult being a parent nomatter the support or lack thereof. I don’t take any comfort in knowing I am not alone in my concerns because that just means there are more clueless parents who want what is best for their children. I can’t imagine how children who have no support or guidance make it. Well for some I do.
I had a conversation just yesterday with my best friend who confided in me that
her 15 year old nephew, who just was released from a 3 month jail sentence, had
hit a lady in the head and carjacked a lady the night before. I gasped for air
as she told me this. I guess his behavior is to be expected since he never
really had structure or support of his parents. He, along with his siblings were
taken from their mother by the state and sent to live with various relatives.
The violence and substance abuse he witnessed his mother and other adults around
him partake in had become the norm for him -the exact norm that I don’t want for
my, or any other child; not only because eventually what happens to one affects
us all, but I believe children deserve much more if they are to have a fighting chance at a quality life.
I don’t want to push my child away but at the same time I am not his friend. I have explained to him that while I may say many things to him that he does not want to hear at the moment or ever, I will never steer him in the wrong direction or do anything to hurt him as I have his best interest at heart. For most of his life I have worked in corrections in some capacity or another and I share stories with him of why my expectations are high and why I demand certain behaviors from him.
Although I have been a constant in his life, so have other family members; some helping, others hindering in my raising him to be the man I wish him to be. I now fully understand why my mother urged me to stay at home with him his first few years of life. I denied him this in spite of my mother’s warnings and while I was working and attending college, I inadvertently allowed others to shape and mold my child in a way that I sometimes regret. I can’t take back the hands of time all I can do is do better moving forward and just hope that my child gives his self a chance at life and not be influenced by the knuckleheads of society. I don’t expect him to be perfect but I do want him to strive for perfection and not do anything to permanently jeopardize his chances at life.
While I am still confused on how to do this parenting thing the right way, I continue to push forward. I have considered letting him live with his biological father, if only temporary (which he does not want) in order for him to realize just how good he has it (which I believe to be part of the problem; he has too much). But I’m not sure if that will inflame my child’s issues in some way. That said, there is no easy way out, unless I am to give up and I’m not a quitter so I guess my only option is to pray and seek help for both myself and my child and keep him as active as I can. I can only hope that those around us don’t undermine my position so that my worst nightmare does not become true.
If you or someone you know are having difficulties raising a teenager, know that you are not alone and it is ok to seek outside help, professional and informal to ensure the best for your child(ren).
Resources for Parents