18 Sep
2017
Posted in: parenting
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Teenagers Deserve More From Adults

Cildren hiking a trail in Idaho

Twice last week I listened to adults rant about teenagers. I heard all about how lazy teens are, how disrespectful, how they lack work ethic, how they dress like slobs and how our future is surely doomed when that lot reaches adulthood and takes over. I listened and silently seethed until the ranting was over. Both times I shared only one thought,” You, obviously, don’t know the right teenagers.”

Right around the time I thought I had a decent grasp of parenting, my oldest became a teenager and all thoughts of parenting competency flew out the window. I’m at the front-line of all things teenager. I live with a freshman in high school and another a few months shy of 13. There are days I feel I know more about what’s happening in the lives of the teenagers I know than about friends my own age. Teenagers can be disrespectful, lazy, and dress poorly. But at the age of 40, I can also be all those things.

I know active teens who keep much busier schedules than most adults I know. They go to school, followed by athletic practice and find time to finish schoolwork. I know some who attend school during the day and work several hours in the evening. There are those who take classes at local high schools and a community college. Then there are those teens who manage a life like one of the above and rely only on their two feet for transportation.

I’m the first to say teens can be annoying with their knowledge of everything. I’ve been on the receiving end of eye rolling, although I’m sure he learned that from me. Not everything I ask is done as quickly as I would like. My definition of organization and that of a freshman in high school are not the same. Communication lines are sometimes a tangled mess, or monosyllabic in nature. Teenagers seem to run on a slightly less-exact form of time than adults. Most days I’m sure I talk only to hear myself speak and must remind certain people that I’m the adult, not the other way around.

Teens can also be inquisitive, funny, caring, hard working, go-getters and more intelligent than they sometimes let on. They are complicated, hormonal-charged adult-like children struggling to keep up with the endless physical changes and social changes that come with growing up. Adults tend to forget all of that when faced with the talking back, attitude and rule breaking. I’m guilty 100 times over for being too hard on our teen. I know I forget when dealing with him how amazing he can be when he’s not busy annoying me. Much of the issues I have with my own teenager is him as much as it is me. I’m tired, hormonal, over-worked, under-appreciated and grouchy at times. I have no idea how to raise a teen or guide his path while still giving him ample room to both falter and soar. It’s a constant struggle of me treating him like he’s younger than he is while also expecting him to act older than his age. No wonder teenagers push back.

I know there is greatness in those moody world-changers we’re raising. There’s no time for the ranting and bashing on our teenagers who are quickly morphing into young adults. We need to support their goals and dreams, give them ways to channel their ideas and foster their gifts and talents. Finding your way, at whatever age, is not an easy task. Let’s show less judgement and offer more guidance.


 
9/11 Memorial and Remembering
By     |    Sep 11, 2017
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9/11 Memorial and Remembering

I stood at the South Pool of the 9/11 Memorial overcome by emotion. I would not be emotionally capable of touring the nearby museum and knew if I stayed much longer, I would be reduced to a crying heap on a bench. We began our day in New York City with a tour of Liberty and Ellis islands. We gazed at the NYC skyline from the ferry returning to Battery Park answering questions from our children about where the Twin... [Read More]

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School Survey Says….
By     |    Sep 5, 2017
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School Survey Says….

The former journalist in me comes out full-force on the first day of school every year. I pepper our kids with countless questions about their day when they arrive home. I’m one step away from a spotlight for my interrogations like my beloved crime books and movies. I’ll take every nugget of information, no matter how small, the kids are willing to throw my way. I really should hand each of the kids a survey to complete. Those who need... [Read More]

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Joys of Back to School Shopping
By     |    Aug 31, 2017
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Joys of Back to School Shopping

Every August I look forward to back-to-school shopping for clothes and shoes for our kids, and every August I’m reminded how taxing the actual shopping excursion is in reality. We try to make a weekend trip away from home to a larger city to make the sometimes tedious shopping more enjoyable. At least in a larger city there are more food options to help in coaxing good behavior. This year with high school football a new part of our schedule,... [Read More]

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Total Solar Eclipse Debriefing
By     |    Aug 22, 2017
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Total Solar Eclipse Debriefing

I woke up this morning with the post-total-solar-eclipse doldrums. I’m sure it’s a thing. The kids and I ate breakfast with a ho-hum attitude. Attending athletic practice and playing at a park seem lackluster compared to the moon and sun show yesterday. It’s akin to the first day home after vacation, or the day after Christmas. We spent months being inundated with all things eclipse related. We live directly on the line of totality and a lot happened in our... [Read More]

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Take a Trip: Ben & Jerry’s Factory
By     |    Aug 9, 2017
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Take a Trip: Ben & Jerry’s Factory

During the initial planning stages for our epic road trip this summer, I made a list of all of the states we’d travel through and researched top destinations. The Ben & Jerry’s Factory continually popped up in my research as a fun family destination in Vermont, but it was more north than we planned to be in Vermont and seemed out of the way. We were making the trek to the Northeast to see first-hand where important beginnings of our... [Read More]

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Take a Trip: Niagara Falls
By     |    Jul 26, 2017
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Take a Trip: Niagara Falls

We didn’t fully prepare our children for what we’d find at Niagara Falls in New York. We read books about the history of the falls, from its discovery to crazy stunts performed there. I didn’t make it clear that Niagara Falls is a money-sucking tourist trap. Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful and a wonder to view. However, it’s also overrun with people, casinos, restaurants and kitschy tourist-driven businesses. When we began planning our epic road trip, we went back... [Read More]

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Cuyahoga Valley: An Urban Park
By     |    Jul 20, 2017
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Cuyahoga Valley: An Urban Park

I had predisposed ideas about Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio. I knew it was large with an extensive trail system, waterfalls and a covered bridge. What we found was the most urban national park we’ve visited. The park, our first major stop on our epic road trip, is not far from both Akron and Cleveland. It’s a refuge for animals and people alike in the bustling urban sprawl. We visited on a weekend, and the park was busy. The... [Read More]

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East Coast Road Trip Debriefing
By     |    Jul 18, 2017
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East Coast Road Trip Debriefing

5,905 miles. Three weeks. 21 states. I can guess what people will say each time I recite theses details about our most recent epic road trip. People think we’re “amazing” to take our children on an adventure of that caliber, but cannot fathom doing anything similar. We’ve been called crazy. People think there’s some trick for getting our children to travel for weeks and swear their families would not survive the journey. This was the second time we’ve been on... [Read More]

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Adjusting to a Different Summer
By     |    Jun 21, 2017
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Adjusting to a Different Summer

I miss preschoolers. Maybe I don’t miss everything about having young children, but parenting a teen and a tween this summer has me nostalgic for truly lazy days of summer. I was prepared for life to change when our oldest entered high school. He’s active and involved. I knew certain things, like sports, would require more time. He hit the ground running this summer and his commitment motivated our 7th grader to start his own training program. By 9:45 a.m.... [Read More]

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Fighting Through Travel Anxiety
By     |    Jun 16, 2017
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Fighting Through Travel Anxiety

I’m at the point in vacation planning where I think it’s best to cancel our plans. This happens every time we travel, whether we’ll be gone for five days or three weeks. I’m overwhelmed by the planning process and dreading the packing. My anxiety has me worrying about everything from flat tires to lost hotel reservations to vomiting children to terrorists and everything in between. I can’t even think about the crowds of people and lines we’ll encounter. We’ll stay... [Read More]

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To Teachers Who Stand in the Gap
By     |    Jun 5, 2017
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To Teachers Who Stand in the Gap

Saturday night my social media feed exploded with news of an armed standoff and car chase on the Interstate highway through our town. The road was closed by request of law enforcement. All on- and off-ramps were blocked by armed law enforcement with lights blazing on their vehicles — and our son was on a school bus traveling that highway attempting to make it home from a long day in another state. It was after midnight when our teen called... [Read More]

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