It’s tough, you know, trying to parent young people who are caught in the middle of childhood and adulthood. The physical, emotional, and behavioral changes brought on by the stages of puberty can be enough to drive an entire family insane, and it can be a dark time, my friends. Even if your teen is relatively well-behaved in the grand scheme of things (as mine are), puberty can be ugly. As they grow older, teenagers push back against “the system” in their fight to be more independent while still being taken care of within the family unit. They want to make their own decisions, and it’s a struggle for them to absorb, understand, and accept that just because they have adult-sized bodies and levels of responsibility much higher than when they were in single-digits, they are governed by rules that are sometimes based on age and experience.
That struggle makes them moody, to say the least, and often they cocoon their genuine selves away from their loved ones in the process.
I wrote one of my favorite posts, “What Do Frogs And John Belushi Have To Do With Teenagers, Anyway?” three whole years ago (don’t remember/didn’t read it? GO. And then come back.). It described the struggle of us as parents of teenagers, and how we didn’t plan on giving up. We were at the beginning of the long, dark tunnel of teenaged unrest with J.
Naturally we’ve had some great times–lots of them!–with J over the past three years, even as he’s had a little bit of a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde kind of thing going on. In the darkest times, though, I was worried that we lost our kid to puberty forever. (I have to add that, other than some school-related issues, J hasn’t–knock on wood!–been into any major trouble, “Praise the Lord and pass the people” as my mom used to say. And no, I don’t know what that means and it doesn’t even come up in a Google search.)
I have good news to report today. That long, dark tunnel finally seems to have a light at the end of it. After a few years of blank stares, one-word answers, and all of the other stuff that comes with a growing teen, we are starting to see J, our J, return to us. His brain is starting to catch up with his body, and we are the lucky beneficiaries once again of his sense of humor, his kindness, and even his wisdom. After a long, hard “winter”, our butterfly has finally broken out of his cocoon, showing the world that he is more mature, more responsible, and more amazing to be around than ever before.
I am proud.