...because we all have our motley moments!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Preschoolers vs. Teenagers

I'm really scared, ladies. I mean it. And here's why: I don't think we've even touched on the difficult years of parenting yet. There. I've said it. I'm not saying it's been easy so far; it hasn't. In fact, I had no idea how hard parenting was before I had kids. The first couple of months are a nightmare - no sleep, spit-up, poop shooting out at a high velocity, endless laundry, nursing, not feeling like you have any idea what you're doing...then toddlerhood comes with temper tantrums and childproofing everything and learning the word, "No!" Throw in stomach viruses, sibling rivalry, and potty training, and it ain't easy, folks. I've been having a particularly rough time with Ethan lately. He is so defiant! This morning he had to go to preschool and he refused to eat breakfast. He kicked me when I picked him up to take him to the kitchen after he flopped down on the couch and refused to move. We were running late and I hate to be late. I told him to go potty and when I went to check on him he was just standing in the hall. Then after he peed he refused to pull up his pants. Then he refused to wash his hands. Then he refused to get his teeth brushed. It was an endless battle. I am still so keyed up I think I could go running, and I hate running. 

But here's the kicker: We haven't gotten to the hard part yet. 

I know this because I have friends with teenagers. One of my friends at tae kwon do was telling us last night that he had to take the computer away from his 13-year-old daughter because she spent 14 hours straight on it. Didn't go to bed till 4:30 in the morning. He told her the limit was now 30 minutes and she openly defied him and stayed on for an hour. Then he caught her telling her mom, "I can't stand him! I don't want to listen to anything he says!" My other good friend recently found out her 16-year-old son has been smoking marijuana with his friends. She discovered this by reading comments on his MySpace. She had her husband go to the high school, check him out, and take him to get drug tested. She met them at the lab and cried through the whole ordeal. These are not "bad" kids. They make good grades, their parents are very involved in their lives, they excel at sports, they have a lot of friends, they go to church, etc. And they were punished for their actions. It's not like they thought they wouldn't be. The girl can't use the computer for 2 weeks and the boy lost his car, cell phone, MySpace password (his mom changed it and won't tell him the new one - isn't that awesome?), and privileges. I have one more friend who has a 15-year-old daughter who likes to go to the movies just so she can make out with boys. She is a good girl and all they do is kiss, but still! The thought of my sons kissing girls in a dark movie theater absolutely freaks me out. I hope they're afraid of girls until they're 25. Don't even ask what I would do if I found out my kids were using drugs or drinking. Because the answer is: I. Have. No. Idea.

So this post is a shout-out to my friends with teenagers. I know you like to laugh at me with my "problems" - potty training, the baby arching his back so I can't buckle him into his car seat, and stepping on Cheerios every time I enter the kitchen. Here's to you and your teenagers - to getting high, IMing until you're blind, and making out with boys. I'm afraid I have no idea how hard it's about to get!


Bryssy said...

I have teenagers....about 180 a day! (260 if you count my online kids.) Honestly, I like them a lot. They are funny and are trying to become adults. It's a struggle but MOST of the teens I know are pretty neat people!

And, from my experience, you can tell the teens whose parents are involved in their lives. Teens need parents to be involved almost more than the little ones do.

And drugs help me to deal with them. Hard ones. (Okay, I am just joking, kind of.)

Liz said...

I like teenagers, too. It's one of the things I miss most about teaching. I love spending time with my nephew and his friends. I hope I enjoy my own kids that much when they're teenagers!

Jason and Fawnda said...

The good news is that a teenager does not just show up on your doorstep oneday and inform you that they are your kid! You will be with them ALL THE WAY... yes parts will be hard but other parts will be easier... You will probably be able to handle more than you think!
Because you have been with your child so long you will know what makes them tick. Involved parents catch their kids when they make bad decision and help them get back on track... my mom used to pray that we would get caught if we did something bad- we ALWAYS did and my parents were always there to help us get back on the right path. Liz you will be great!
I was also a Middle/High school teacher and I love teens.. I was scared of parenting a infint/toddler!

Ticia said...

Having two teens of my own I can tell you there is not a lot of difference between a teen and a toddler. The both argue,throw fits and don't make a lick of since .
And you deal with them in a similar way. If they don't mind take away something they like. Leticia

Donna said...

I agree, Liz...I know these preschool years are small change compared to the teen years, but I think Fawnda's right - our relationship starts NOW.

And we can't FORCE them to make good choices 100% of the time, now or when they're teenagers, but we can try to make their lives pleasant when they do (and really, REALLY unpleasant when they don't!), and pray that none of their poor decisions lands them in the hospital or jail. Okay, not jail for the preschoolers, but a serious timeout.

And Liz, as you looked at your defiant, scummy-toothed, bare-bottomed boy this morning, I'm sure you caught a glimpse of the angry teenager he may someday pose as...but you have a while before you have to take away the car keys or the computer!

Maria said...

Hey. I hear ya. SCARY! BTW, tickling helps with the back-arching-in-the-car-seat problem. They absolutely HATE it, but it may give you a sec to click 'em in.