I was a pretty happy teenager. I just got off the phone with my mother and she confirmed it. I had my share of preteen door slamming, but she says that I was an easy kid to have around once I hit those mid-teen years.
So it was tough, and actually even a little hard to fathom, why my daughter went through such a bad patch in her mid-teens. I’ll start this story by saying that thankfully, she was able to work through it, but it took constant parenting as her hormones misfired and her frontal lobe developed. And wow — I had so many questions, the biggest being: How could she be so unhappy at that age, when I was so much the opposite?
Our feature writer, Dr. Kara Witt, is probably one of the most intelligent and insightful people I know, and during those times when I was worrying myself crazy over why my daughter wanted to paint her room black and sit in the dark, Kara helped me to understand that things would change. But it would take all hands on deck, never walking away, and always being there, listening and encouraging, but never coddling. And if we needed to go further with medication or counseling, we should accept that too.
So, when I was approaching the feature in this issue, I knew the only person who could write it would be my friend. Despite that she has used a fictional teen as an example in her article, there are many kids like that out there, and we are the parents struggling to understand and cope with their varying behaviors.
Like I said, my daughter emerged from her adolescence just fine. She’s a tremendous young adult. But my goodness, those teen years were difficult.
Every phase of our kids’ lives bring new challenges. I remember thinking, “wow — I can’t wait for the day when she stops putting her fingers in her milk glass.” Geeze, that’s a walk in the park compared to some of the teenage stuff. If only. So here’s hoping that as your kids grow up, they slam their doors only now and again, and as teens are breezy and sunny as a spring day in May. But if not, it’s good to know that help for you, and your child, is available.