Raising Teens is Like A Roller Coaster: Part I

You know that cramp in your gut you get when you first see your kid holding hands with the opposite sex? Well, assuming your kid is not a Dugger. Whether they are a boy or a girl, it’s inevitable.

It’s a feeling akin to the drop in your stomach as you crest the hill of a giant roller coaster–your stomach takes flight and you feel that helpless grip of fear like a shot of adrenaline. Every fingertip, every toenail lights up with dread and the knowledge that there’s nothing you can do except hold on and ride it out.
Need a refresher? Watch this video for some butt-cheek-clenching action.

Having raised two Water-girls relatively safely to adulthood, I can tell you that going through the same thing with Mancub is just as terrifying, and the roller coaster analogy fits perfectly here. Based on this idea, I have some tips and encouragement for you.

1. Don’t close your eyes. When things get tough–and they will–your kid needs you front and center to help him decipher what is real and what is fake. When we see our kids in the throes of unrequited love, it stings. If you have any issues with chemical imbalance (or other craziness, like me), you can trust that it will appear out of nowhere if you think your kid is being mistreated or not appreciated. More on this to come.

2. Just when you aren’t expecting it–life will throw you a corkscrew turn and it’s hard to tell what’s up and what’s down. You wouldn’t think that other people’s family problems should screw with your family dynamic, but they can and will. If it’s 10:00 on a school night and your Mancub (who is supposed to be asleep) knocks on your door in a panic because something is happening with one of his friends that can’t wait–oh yeah. That’s happened to is before. In this case, you have to do your best to calm down your kid and be trustworthy enough that when you say “We’ll check on this in the morning,” he actually believes you. This is so important–he’s watching to see how you handle this, and he needs to know that adults are trustworthy and he doesn’t have to solve it himself.

3. Sometimes you get the air knocked out of you–it’s friendly fire but that doesn’t put the air back in any quicker. There’s nothing that brings out the worst character flaws in both your kid and you than an argument about his/her Beloved. No matter how close you are, those raging hormones you’ve heard tell about will win every single time–for a season. You just have to roll with it, and the best position to embrace the madness is on your knees.

4. Sometimes you just have to raise your arms and embrace the terror. Scary things happen to teens in a fraction of a second and sometimes we have to think on our feet. When you are going through a scary time with your teen, it can really seem like forever. This child that was knit in your womb may seem like a stranger. Hang on dear parent. Hang on for dear life. You’ll be on the ground soon.
Until the next time.

One thought on “Raising Teens is Like A Roller Coaster: Part I

  1. Amen sister…kids turn into little adults and make their own decisions and all we can do is not mess up the role of getting to speak into their lives with advice. It’s a hard role, but it’s like those skinny jeans in the back of the closet…they don’t fit quite right when you first put them on, but as time goes on they stretch a little and they fit just fine. You know?

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