Raising Teenagers

[blows dust off the keyboard]

Almost 2 and a half months since my last entry. The holiday rush really does throw me off my game. I've actually had the urge to write a bunch of times in the last month but something always seems to sidetrack me.

Tonight I was watching Young Sheldon and thinking about the experience of being a fish out of water. Growing up in a home where no one understands you or has anything in common with you. I felt that way a lot growing up. Disenfranchised. Moody. Isolated. Not a shred of similarity between me or any of my immediate family members (other than a love of books and music that my brother and I shared.)  My mother frequently called me a nonconformist. She was irritated, but I took that as a compliment.

I grew up assuming that most kids were like me. Angst ridden and eager to leave home and be free. As time has passed and I starting raising kids of my own and spent time with other parents on the same journey, I realized growing up a fish out of water was not all that common. A lot of kids were well adjusted, very similar to their parents and siblings - outgoing, successful and confident.

I also assumed that my awkwardness and general unhappiness was the fault of my upbringing. My parents must have done something wrong. Sure, they made a lot of mistakes, but as time goes on and my kids are getting older, I also realize they were doing the best they could. As I do. My parenting style is very very different from the way my parents did things. Deliberately so. I thought I could correct all those perceived mistakes and turn out kids that were more well adjusted, socially responsible, and kind.  I see hope for that in Max. He is generally kind, has loads of empathy and loves with his whole heart.

My teenager, on the other hand, is a fish out of water in this family of ours. He is unfiltered to the point of rudeness, he doesn't hesitate to say hurtful things, he values money and status above all else, and idolizes our current president and his ideals. He is also borderline racist and says things that sound suspiciously like white supremacy propaganda. Loves to argue. I could go on and on. I love that kid to death but sometimes I also want to strangle him. (A note to my mother - I am SO sorry for how difficult I was as a teen. You are a saint and I'm surprised I survived.)

Where he learned his viewpoints, politics and extreme love of body building is a mystery. No one else in this house thinks the way he does. He must feel very disenfranchised, moody, isolated, and so on. He has my sympathy. Plus I think he should go live with my parents. He would fit in PERFECTLY there. Heh.


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