Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Parenting 101

Parenting is, at best, rewarding, yet challenging. It has taken many a discussion and many occasions of being ignored for me to just begin to understand what my kids are really saying. During the times when I can take a step back and just breathe, I cherish what my kids are saying underneath it all. It isn't always what I want to hear, but if I pay attention, I can figure out what they need.

What They Say (in black) versus What They Mean (In red)

I didn't do it.

Yes, I did indeed do it, but I'm not going to admit it as I think you'll eventually calm down and not eat me if I just pretend I don't know what you're talking about.

I don't have a girlfriend.

Yes, I do like someone, but I wouldn't DARE express anything but negative emotions in your presence as you might get the idea that I am still a nice, gentle person inside.

I am so bored.

I need to spend more time actually doing things and less time being entertained, although what I am thinking is I need the opposite.

I don't want to walk next to you.

I don't want my friends to see me wanting to spend time with you, and enjoying your company.

I need money.

I need money.

Can I have a sleepover?

Basically, I need your permission to stay up all night, be rowdy with my friends, eat every single thing in the house, then demand that you buy more food, drive the neighbors crazy and sleep all the next day while you have to get up and function on pretty much no sleep.

I don't care.

Of course I care, but if I show you I care, you will then expect me to be all mushy and on top of things all the time. I can tell my friends that I care, but never you.

I don't want to go with you.

I am asserting my independence, and even though I typically want to go with you, I am opting out this time, so you know I am becoming my own person.

I love you.

I do love you very much, no matter how I am acting.

I wouldn't ever change my parenting job. I wish it was a little easier sometimes, especially when I am tired or over-stressed. It is true that teenagers are a whole different breed from toddlers... but it's good to keep growing and learning (as a parent, I mean)... right?


goldenbird said...

That was cute! It sounds like you really understand their language. I admire mothers of teen-agers, like you. That has got to be so challenging. They are hard-wired to be rebellious risk-takers.

kyndale said...

Very sweet. It's good to document this. It will be even more sweeter in a few years looking back.

Dogwood said...

That is such a wise way to look at what children say and actually what is behind the scenes of what they say. All ages of growing children are challenging but I do think the teen years really push the challenges of parenthood. You sound like a great mom. Dogwood

Linda said...

This was such a lovely blog post to read, I don't have teenagers yet, next year will be the year, all four of mine are still under 12years... It was great to read your insights Jill and to hear your journey with your teenagers, thanks so much for sharing, you are very wise :)

Jill said...

Thanks for the nice comments, everyone! It can be challenging to remember what's underneath it all in the heat of the moment, but we really can learn so much from each other!


Michelle said...

This post made me laugh and cry! We're just entering the crush-on-a girl-don't-hold-my-hand-in-public phase with our oldest, and toddlerhood with our youngest.


And, I don't know about your guys but mine are ALWAYS "starving."