Thursday, December 23, 2010

Teenagers get a bad rap

Reasons I love having teenagers:
(Dedicated to Froggie who is such an amazing High School teacher because she really loves teenagers)

They can give you a lift to the DVD shop when you can't drive because you had a couple of gin and tonics but you really need to watch "While You Were Sleeping."

They never heard of "While You Were Sleeping" so they cuddle up next to you on your new sofa and watch it with you.

They do chores. Even if you do have to (sometimes) ask several times and cajole a bit more, they can still DO the stuff - dishes, garbage, getting the milk from the corner store, laundries, mowing the lawn.

They sleep in. During the summer holidays the house is completely and absolutely silent until 11am. At least.

They are different from you, and that means they introduce you to a lot of stuff that happened in the world that you didn't know about, like Rosalind Franklin.

They generally have fabulous senses of humour, and because they know you really well by now they are able to make you laugh at your own peculiarities. Of which I have many, and which I need to laugh at more often.

When you argue you can use rational explanations to discuss the problem. And when things get too crazy for logic and one of you says something you regret, you can come back later and apologise and forgive.

You no longer have to supervise their personal hygiene.

You pretty much know who they are by now, so you can stop worrying so much about They go to school, they come back, they muddle through like we all do.

You can start to let go of that crippling feeling that people are judging you and that your children are reflections of how good a parent you are. Kids grow up, stuff happens, move on.

They bring their friends over to the house, and these friends are full of energy and life and general good cheer. And they are different from you, in so many different and wonderful ways, so it reminds you how amazing life is. No need to conform, colour your hair pink and wear really thick black eyeliner and study photography and hairdressing and molecular biology and bake cupcakes and live it up.

They are full of surprises, no more predictable milestones that have been written up in boring child development books but truly UNIQUE milestones that are all about the fully rounded individuals they are becoming.

Let the adventure continue!!!!

P.S. At the risk of totally overdoing the "I'm Jewish and don't celebrate Christmas" thing, I did want to link to this great post by a Sydney blogger I love. She sums up my feelings with much more wit and humour than I did, and generally her blog is a great, fun read.

So merry Christmas dear bloggie friends of mine, all my love, Eleanor from your commentbox.


blackbird said...

All true!
I'm so happy to have older kids and you've captured it so well.

Merry Christmas, dear Eleanor.

alice c said...

I write on behalf of my no-longer teenage son - leading member of the school synagogue - to tell you that his most successful marketing ploy was the Mysterious Moses session in December which had more social cachet than the Secret Santa in the Cathedral.

Frogdancer said...

So true!
I saw a child having a tantrum in a shop a few days ago, glanced across at my lanky, taller-than-me sons and thought, "Thank God!"

(I preferred your post. It was more enraged.)

Suse said...

I love having older kids too. I do miss the babies sometimes, but the conversations, the humour (and the fact that they can vacuum and wash the windows) are all sooooo good.

Tuli said...

While You Were Sleeping is a perfect movie for after a couple of gin and tonics. It doesn't require a lot of thought and Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman are just adorable. It's one I have to watch every December.

Janet said...

I love hanging with the five year old set but am very curious about life with teenagers. So thank you.

After your last post, I was thinking a lot about christmas compulsion in our culture - lots of people around here don't celebrate it because they are another religion and I winced at school when Grace's teacher handed out a present and said something along the lines, "and Mohamed, this will be your first Christmas...." (he is new to the country). She had a present for each child which is fine, the end of the school year is worth celebrating. About five in the class out of twenty do not have Christmas and I thought it could have been handled a bit better. Along with some recognition of other important celebrations. Maybe something for school council next year.....

We also have some dear friends who just don't celebrate Christmas because they don't feel it or like it. They get all sorts of ridicule.

Oh well, best go and don my apron. See you next year!

Jodie said...

I miss the 'magic' of little children sometimes but as my teens grow up and move out (first one out of the nest next week)they continue to surprise me in a billion ways and they live in a world that I sometimes get to enter and wander about it with them.
I do miss playdough though.....

I hope we get to catch up in 2001 my is rumoured I will be in Sydney at least twice!

Anonymous said...

I loved having teenagers for exactly the reasons you enumerated!

RW said...

I am settling into the parenting of teens.

Paola said...

I am almost there with my (almost) 10yr old so bear with me ...

Happy Holidays to you!

sooz said...

Geez, I'm almost looking forward to it now, though I remain fearful of the hormone driven drama of parent and world hating.

And while I get the inside/outside thing, Christmas experiences can be pretty diverse from within too and for lots of us some of the 'key' features are absent. We've never done turkey, Santa or bizarre white deserts (? - Christmas pudding has been added in the last few years due to my partner's love of it), in fact with the addition of presents our day sounded much like the one in the post.

The assumption of a shared experience can grate for us too - I find the imposition of Santa annoying for example and my daughter hit a rough spot when telling other kinder kids that Santa wasn't real! I did explain that just because we didn't believe in Santa didn't make it wrong for others to believe and it was nicer to not say anything about it. After a few years she's started signing up to the old feller in preference to Saint Nicholas, my preferred symbol of Christmas spirit (since he's not magical and is all about giving to those with less rather than simply receiving more). Given the pressure for a monocultural Christmas for those of us inside, I can only imagine the hideousness for those on the outside! Still, I hope you enjoy the holiday and feel confident that you aren't missing as much as it may seem.

Anonymous said...

Hey! I just wandered in from Journey Mama's house, and I LOVED this. My kids are tweens right now, and this piece really gives me great ideas on what to look forward to.