Illusions of Control When Parenting Teens
I know most of you are still at the cute footy-pajama stage of parenting or dreaming of getting to that stage. Cherish this time! Not only are your kids adorable, but you still have some semblance of control. Trust me as the mother of four teens and beyond, you won’t have control for long. I know you think you will, but you won’t.
I truly tried to fight the good fight when it came to foul language. When the kids were little, we enforced a no “S” word policy: stupid and shut-up were strictly banned. When our eldest son came home from second grade saying “I hate to tell you Mom, but there`s another S word”, we added that one to the list. By mid-elementary school, I had added another S word (suck) to the forbidden list and included all the more traditional curse words.
I’m not perfect, but at least in front of my kids I try to make my strongest curse “Rats” or an occasional “Rat Pooh”, with a very occasional “damn” thrown in for emphasis. You’d think all this effort would pay off, wouldn’t you???
My husband and I are empty nesters for the first time this year. We have three in three different colleges (heaven help us) and our eldest is in the Peace Corps in Morocco. We are living in Mexico for six weeks where I’m continuing my work at Creating a Family and volunteering at an orphanage. (See our blog on this adventure at On a Mission to Colima: A Spiritual, Linguistic, and Cultural Journey). Since the family is separated in three different countries, I thought it would be a good idea to have a weekly Family Skype Chat. After our first one last week, I’m not so sure. It was painfully clear how little control I actually have.
I started off the chat going around asking everyone to share what they were up to. That lasted all of about 30 seconds. Then the ribbing started about everyone’s Skype pictures, with one son continuing to take weird pictures of himself and uploading them as his Skype photo throughout the chat. And then the following:
Daughter #2 (DD #2): I’m working on a one-page paper that I forgot was due.
Son #1 (DS #1): One page!?! I knew your school was a candy-ass when it came to sports, but didn’t know it was such a candy-ass when it came to academics!
DD #2: Well too bad your school is a candy-ass at everything.
Me: Hey, since when did it become OK to say candy-ass???
DS #2: Since like forever.
DD #1: I saw a cilantro ass the other day.
Me: Keep it clean you guys.
Hubby : I saw an ass in the street here yesterday.
Me: (glaring at Hubby and sending him the following message with my eyes: REALLY?!? You had to go there?)
DS #1: Mom, I guess the only way you’d think it was OK to say candy-ass is if there was a real ass dipped in sugar.
DS #2: I assume only the ass of the ass would have to be dipped. Hey, you know what they say about “assume”–it makes an ass out of…
Me: Guys… let’s go back to what each of you are doing this week. (At this point no one was listening to me)
DD #1: That’s what I’m saying. I saw an ass (I mean donkey, mom) carrying a huge bunch of cilantro on his ass (I mean butt).
DD #2: Cool. And mom since it’s a real thing it can’t be on “the list”. Hey bro, it sucks that you attend such a cilantro-ass school.
All I’m saying is enjoy them when they are cute and still under your thumb! It won’t last long. Parenting grown kids is not for the feint of heart.
Image credit: DD #1 in Morocco
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