Letter from our Editor - September 2014
September 01, 2014
Posted By: Shaunescy
WRITTEN BY LEIGH RIPLEY
Whenever I meet someone with a teenager, I can’t help grilling them about how they handle parenting their high school- or college-aged kids. The biggest questions I have are about letting go: How do you just let them drive away from the house when they get their license? What do you do when they accidentally butt dial you from college at 1 a.m. on a Tuesday night and all you can hear are screaming adolescents and house music?
Listen, I know what I did in high school and college... and I can’t share most of it with you because it would be very incriminating, and most likely change any opinion you may have of me. What I can tell you is that it’s a miracle I survived and, even more so, that my parents survived (and still speak to me today).
So how did a good kid (me) morph into the spawn of Satan (teenage me)? Hormones, at least that’s what I think. Once a child becomes possessed by hormones, the natural progression is for them to start pulling away from you. This is supposed to happen. Our job is to raise our kids; prepare them to live their own life when the time comes. We’re there to teach them everything we can and provide as many opportunities as possible. Our kid’s job is to develop their own personality (argue with you), explore the world and experiment without you (date, hang out with friends, engage in bad behavior and make poor choices) and, eventually,
go out into the world and do something productive (obtain shelter and get a job).
A friend of mine put it best, “That sweet little face you see today will grow into a hormonal, defiant teenager. Believe me, you will want them to leave. And if you’re really lucky, and they graduate and move back to town, college will have sucked every hormone out of that kid and you just might become friends.”
Now I realize that some kids actually mature without the excessive drama. I know two families, both with three girls, whose high school kids are amazing: playing sports, first chair in the band, president of the celibacy club, five hours of homework a night, volunteering for Montana Conservation Corps (you know who you are). This is what I want my kids to be like. These kids I’m writing about will most likely get into great colleges, actually go to class and study, and graduate in four years.
My kids? If my mother’s motto holds any truth, I’ll get what’s coming to me. You know, the whole, “You just wait until you have a daughter exactly like you.”
So what’s the secret? I’ve asked, and there is no answer. Try to be the best parent you can be. Send your kids out into the world and hope for the best. They are humans; they are fallible and, most often, the best way to learn is from their mistakes.
I wish the best of luck to all of you with teenagers. May they be the president of the celibacy club and get into an Ivy League school, on scholarship no less. For the rest of you, I’ll meet you at the bar, grey hair, wrinkles and all.