I’ve been afraid to admit this because it might: jinx me, come back to haunt me, mock me (you name the expression), but the truth is that I’m enjoying parenting my teen and I have been… for months. (Shhh…)
It was last year after I read Anne Lamott’s description of her own teen that I began to tremble in fear. I shared the article with my son who was a turbulent 13 at the time, and he asked, “Mom, if 13 is ‘training-wheels-adolescence (Anne’s coinage), then how are we going to make it through ‘hard core biker adolescence (Anne’s descriptor of 14)’?”
But we must be a “biker family” without knowing it, because (so far) 14 has been pretty sweet.
I think it helps that my son now towers over me so that he is compelled to use my body as a leaning post. This pseudo form of affection is warmly welcomed (even if it puts my back out of whack) after the long absence of any bodily contact between us that began at 12.
It’s not that my teen is a Stepford child or anything. He is still moody, prone to obnoxious outbursts, outstanding demonstrations of selfishness and the occasional multiple personalities.
But he always comes back around.
I have to give credit to our family “practice” of Non-Violent Communication. It’s given my son the tools he needs to understand and express his burning teen desires and it’s lent a voice that I can hear through my middle-aged ears. And although he is the first to mock any pride we might take in our family, I’d like to think that he feels heard–and because of that, he’s willing to hear us. His small, but heroic teen efforts of compassion go a long way toward family harmony.
But here’s my secret. What I am enjoying most is exploring the frightening topic of his emerging sexuality.
Months ago, I reached out to other mothers of boys to ask, What do I need to teach my son about sex? Only to discover that I hadn’t lived what I most wanted to offer. So now we are learning, side by side (although he doesn’t know that.)
(stay tuned for next week’s post on moms, teens & sex)