I have a friend who is 15 who has been with me for a couple of days while his parents do what they need to do. It is my supreme privilege to be with him and just be as two friends almost family. We have walked the dogs, gone to his favorite hobby place, done whatever we wanted separately in my house and finally we went to see Harry Potter which was a c-plus we decided. I would say I have had a solid 48 hours of teen angst. He is smart my friend and at one point in our time together he started to unravel, for no good reason. At first astounded by the depth of his seeming despair I remembered he is a teen and this is what they do. I tried to lighten the mood which seemed to feed the "loser" flames. Then I began to do the simple exercises that Byron Katie subscribes we started to do "turn around's" . Now a fifteen year old is committed to whatever mood they are working. Let me tell you, nothing is going to shake the gloomies,nothing or so it seems. So I decided to do the exercise for me, my pleasure, no expectations, or results. I was in this moment with teen to see if "The work" withstood the "I hate the world and myself" juggernaut. It did! We did the work together. I squeezed some responses out of him fairly successfully it helped in cracking through some of the doom and gloom. Even when a person who is in pain doesn't want to be honest and give a simple yes or no answers. Which is harder to extract from people committed to "the story" of their experience.
I learned that teens have a couple of disadvantages...they don't eat well. It's weird they survive on crap, junk food. The chemical processes on the mood of our children eating an unbalanced diet is huge. They hardly sleep, the Internet has created sleep deprived cranky zombies. They are depressed about money all of the time. How sad is that? What happened to money free fun? They want stuff like we want stuff, all of the time, its sad. They are supposed to be CHILDREN yet they are hustling around for "STUFF" because everywhere they look someone is telling them they need something NEW! This is wrong. Finally hormones are raging and that isn't easy on any-body.
I say we begin to admit that we make life hard for the babies and especially for the teens. We also emotionally ditch them because it's damn hard to be attacked all day for just being "parent".
We could do better though we could guide the babies early off the junk food and have them like fruits and veggies. We should maybe consider limiting the Internet at night. We also need to be careful with "consuming" as something to do to relieve stresses. Teaching our babies to go outside and PLAY instead hopping creeks and balancing on logs, playing in the yard with other children, riding bicycles.
Take up a sport with your kids so you have something to do together.
They need face time that isn't under stress. Get interested in what they like to do. They blossom under attention that is clear and clean and without YOUR needs mixed in.
I loved my time with my friend, The teen. I am also appreciative that my son is grown.
It's a gift parenthood...truly.