Monday, November 2, 2015

The Rebel

Maybe we should move to the desert, where temptation is nil.
Just when you think you're off the hook somewhat, and your child is able to get herself out of bed, get ready and walk to school in the morning... when she's able to make herself a snack and even get in touch with friends to set up her own hangouts and do a lot of other stuff that makes being a parent easier... you remember that soon they're going to be a teen.

And that means they're probably going to start trying out a lot more dangerous stuff than just getting into the whipped cream in the fridge.

Like maybe they'll decide to come home from a sleepover, drop their bag by the door and then leave again without leaving a note. And not come back for two hours.

Stress much? 

Now is the time when all that talk about raising a revolutionary and encouraging rebellion comes home to roost. I want her to question the norms, but also to tell me where she's going to be. I want her to be fearless, but not so fearless that she walks around town without anyone knowing where she's gone.

She came home from her walk around town with friends, and on top of it all, she was wearing a cropped t-shirt that had her belly hanging out. She with the streak of white blonde hair and the long legs and the pretty mouth -- a prime target for whoever to do whatever...

Of course she got a talking-to and a grounding. But somehow i know this is just the beginning of the new kind of parenting -- the kind where we don't worry about her sticking her hand on the stove, but instead worry about her going to the mall and getting recruited by bad boys to do bad stuff.

Can't we just go back to the days when paying for preschool was the toughest thing on my plate??

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2 comments:

Jack said...

Hi, Nico, and welcome to the hard stuff. I have been following your blog for years, and if you are reflecting who you are accurately, you seem to be an involved, engaged parent who weighs each decision, and tries to do the right thing, teach the right lesson, instill the right virtues. If that's the case, you probably have less to worry about than you think. All teens are going to rattle the cage to see which bars are loose, but if you have done your part, being involved, engaged, and caring, then what are you going to tell her in a five-minute lecture that you haven't told her through the way you've lived since the day she was born?

Yes, there are bad boys out there. Yes, there are bad people out there. And yes, you want to protect your baby from 100% of anything and everything that can go wrong. When I first "met" you, you worked at a public radio station. Maybe it's a different culture at NPR, but I'm sure you know that in the quest for ratings, all news services have learned that the way to boost ratings is to scare the B'Jesus out of everybody. Meaning the first ten stories on every newscast are about war, crime, pestilence, and child molesters. Do they exist? Sure they do. Are they as prevalent as Fox and Reuters would have you believe? Quite possibly not.

You know your baby. You have to evaluate whether she's deliberately being rebellious, or just didn't think, in the excitement of extending her day with her friends, of the effect that lack of knowledge would have on Mom. Make her aware of your feelings and see what happens. If she laughs in your face, then maybe you have a problem.

And I don't presume to tell you how to parent. I just want to ease your mind, and assure you that you aren't alone in all this. We raised twin boys in a neighborhood that turned to gang territory around us. They've spent time in court, time in a police cruiser, and time using their wits to save their lives. They're both still here, and while I wouldn't go through it again for anything, no experience is without its lessons, and that is some of what has contributed to their incredible resilience. Take heart. Go ahead and worry, but not to the extent of crippling yourself with it. She resents her restrictions, but if they're wisely and carefully applied, she can see the purpose of them.

Let me leave you with an old Klingon proverb: "Never fight a battle that you don't have to win." That has saved me more wear and tear over the last thirty-some years than anything else I can name. Hang it on your fridge and refer to it often; you'll be much more helpful (and understandable) to her if you're somewhat relaxed.

You're the greatest, Nico! Best of luck.

Nico said...

Hi Jack -- I like what you said about the media trying to overpromote the bad stuff. I worked at a news outlet that did just that (not the public station!) and their "research" told them that what people wanted to hear most about was crime and weather. So we did crime and weather, all day every day...

Thanks for checking in.