I have three kids. Several years ago, I was talking to another parent whose three kids were several years older than mine and I remarked that it must be nice to have kids that were older and didn’t require the supervision needed by younger children. Her response? That pressure’s gone but it’s been replaced by a different kind of pressure now.
Now I get it.
The teenage years are ones in which the teen body resembles Dick Van Dyke playing a one-man band in Mary Poppins. There’s frenetic activity galore as the drums boom, cymbals crash, horns toot, elbows and knees plunge in random directions and the brain rewires itself. And estrogen and testosterone bubble as frothily as a recently tapped keg. With such a panoply of random energy and activity, the result is sometimes brutal as kids knock into one anothers’ bodies and emotions, eliciting sarcastic, catty and nasty remarks. And when I speak up, the sarcasm and attitude are pointed in my direction. So I respond. Because for me, gritting the teeth simply means that I don’t bite them, not that I don’t call them for the mouth.
Then I remember that I have as many teen years ahead of me as I had toddler years.