Then and Now – Parenting Our Babies Through the Teen Years

Then

From the time you were very young it was obvious that you were intelligent. You had a full vocabulary of sign language to communicate before you could speak and then once you had words, the world was yours to learn about in every capacity.  You never misbehaved due to your kind nature and everyone called you an “old soul” to describe your fierce independence and curiosity. I will never forget the third day of preschool when you came to me with your backpack on and informed me that you would be walking alone to school that day. I tried to reason with you that the school was too far away to walk and that we would need to take the car, but you reasoned back with the facts that you knew the route, would leave early to account for time, and needed to see for yourself the world around you on the path to school. You were earnest and mature beyond your years. You were loving, bright and oh so happy.

Now

You just turned 16 and you have not changed. You still have an incredible vocabulary and a curiosity to learn about everything. You still like to do science experiments and create things in your own time. You build things with lots of research, detailed plans, a budget and a strong will, like your latest project, an ecologically self sufficient aquarium with live plants, precise moisture levels and an ecosystem just so you could give the best home to a new reptile.

You are still independent insisting on being an excellent driver and on having a job the day that you turned 16. You are still loving, making sure to give your mom a hug before bed each night. You are still bright with your independent thinking and meaningful beliefs. And you are still a happy person lighting up our lives with your personality and laughter.

Parenting is not easy.

When you were little I wanted to do everything just right so that I would support your good qualities rather than stifle them. I wanted to show you how much you were loved and wanted without being overbearing. I wanted to protect you from the unkindness in the world so that you would not be jaded as you formed your  opinions about life.

Now that you are a teen, parenting is more frightening for me. As I let you go further and further into the real world without me, all I can do is try and keep our communication open so that when you need me to help you navigate your own way, I can be there to support you with love and guidance.

We don’t have a road map for parenting in the teen years, but I seek information where I can to insure that I am giving my best to you. The Center for Parent and Teen Communication is a valuable resource for parents of teens and is the closest thing to a road map that I can find. Take a look at the type of advice that you will get from Dr Ginsberg in this article.

Please share this article and this video with other parents of teens so that we can be the parents that our children need.

What are your best memories of your teen then and now? 

What qualities do they possess that you have helped nurture throughout their childhoods to their teens years?