This year I celebrated a first birthday and a 13th birthday. Both milestone years. Both with very different emotions. With the first birthday it is sort of a case of “been there done that” but I did pause for a moment back in February and appreciated that that was the last first birthday party my children would have. The thirteenth, however, was a first and totally unchartered territory.
I think I have said it ad nauseum by now, but this teenage thing is super scary. Unlike the wealth of information out there about dealing with sleepless nights and tantrums and what not, there is very little on how to deal with teenagers.
In many ways I am extremely lucky that Cameron is my guinea pig child because he has been so easy to parent up until now. I am acutely aware that this could all change with one boost of testosterone which I think is what makes this age so frightening. Its not the cute changes of a toddler that starts talking or dressing themselves, it is the more aggressive changes of boys turning into men and girls becoming women. It is no longer testing the boundaries of wanting one more chocolate but rather staying out an hour later or sneaking a drink in. It is changes that shape where they will go and what they will do.
I am also afraid of becoming a “my child would never do that” parent. Of course we want to believe our children will always make the right choices but just like we did at that age, there are going to be times they make stupid decisions. I don’t want to assume because my child is generally a good child that he won’t try a smoke at a party or have a beer or give in to whatever temptations life throw at him. I also don’t want to helicopter parent, it has never been the way I have done things and I don’t really think it is the right way to go anyway.
The next few years really do come down to the implementation of the lessons I have taught him, the moral compass he has and the character he has developed. (That and regular access to his phone, emails and anything else I think I need to have access to.)
Its tough, I am not going to lie. It’s the best stage of parenting for me but it is also the toughest.
When your child turns 1 you cry because they are growing so fast but when they turn 13 you cry because they are growing away.