Thought for Thursday – Parenting: You’re Doing it Right

This morning, I found a post on Bean’s tumblr that concerned me.  Since I can’t leave comments on tumblr (to be honest, I’m not even sure how the hell tumblr actually works), I sent her an email, instead.  The text of her post is in bold.

You know what’s really fucking scary? The fact that I’m headed to high school.

I understand that you’re scared.  You have every right to be – every new experience and change can be scary – but I wish you wouldn’t give it that kind of energy.  You have all the skills and talents you need to be successful, and you’re going to be fine.  You’ll just take it one day at a time; that’s all any of us can do.

That in two years, I’ll be able to drive and get a job.

Because you’ll “be able to” doesn’t mean that you’ll “HAVE to.”  Daddy and I are in no hurry to push you into these responsibilities; you get to choose when you take them up.  You get to decide when you’re ready; no one else gets to tell you that, least of all Daddy or me.

That in four, I’ll be a legal adult.

Yeah?  So?

I don’t think I’m ready for that. I’m still a little kid, guys. When it comes down to it, I’m a silly little kid daydreaming about taming dragons and being a fairy.

That’s exactly what you SHOULD be right now.  You’re exactly right.  Four years is a long time.  By the time it gets here, you’ll be ready, I promise.

I don’t want to be responsible. I don’t think that it would work out very well. I can hardly remember project due dates and when I last took a shower or shit did I eat anything today? I don’t think I’m ready to be a responsible teen. Or even a teen. I don’t feel like I belong in the world of gossip and essays and pop culture. What the fuck am I gonna do?

Okay, here’s how I think about this; you really DO have to figure out some level of responsibility.  There are some things that you need to get a handle on just to make your life easier and less stressful.  The consequence of forgetting due dates stresses you out, so it’s in your best interests to figure out how to manage that.  Forgetting to eat affects your health and how much energy you get to spend during your day, so you should figure that out, too (trust me; eating well helps you feel good).  Taking care of your body – showering and brushing your teeth – is important for its own sake, but also for how you interact with others (stinky people don’t generally have an easy time out of the house).  There are some things that Dad and I expect from you as a member of our family, but nothing that we want is even remotely beyond your abilities.  You’re fine.  A few minor adjustments and, I think, you’ll feel much better.

Breathe.  You’re not getting kicked out of the house – not now, not ever.  You’re not going to starve because you don’t get a job during your junior summer.  You’re not going to die because you haven’t figured out which college you want to go to (or even whether you want to go to college).  These are not your concerns yet.  Don’t borrow stress from the future; deal with what you have in front of you right now.  Learn to keep your room under control.  Figure out how to use the tools you have to help you remember to do the work you need to get done.  Set a calendar alarm to remind you to have lunch.  Get a handle on the things you need to do right now; you’ll be able to transfer those skills to the challenges you’ll face going forward.  For now, though, keep dreaming about dragons and fairies.  You’re okay.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Thought for Thursday – Parenting: You’re Doing it Right

  1. Terry

    This is beautiful and aside from being great parenting (is it too late for you to adopt me..? Eh, probably…) it shows why you ARE and must be a teacher, (especially for adolescents)!

  2. oh my tears… Your children are so damn lucky!

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