Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Trials of a Teen...

*(afterthought) I should probably wear my glasses when I post. I just put them on and saw that I originally titled this Trials "if" a Teen.

My oldest son is nearing the time in his life of getting a job.

So far he has filled out an application at McDonalds but has yet to turn it in. His goal is to try and convince us BEFORE he turns 16 to let him get a job at his favorite store in the mall.

Movin' Dad & I are both opposed to the mall. The exposure to 20 somethings is not something I am mentally prepared for yet.

HOWEVER, trendy, hip attire has always been his thing.

When he was 18 months old in a stroller with me in a dept. store he would point to a Calvin Klein poster hanging from the ceiling and say, "Thats how I want my hair!"

At 4, he wanted an earring, I told him well let's let your sister go first, after witnessing it he changed his mind.

At 9 he wanted green hair. I told him HE had to talk with the principle because I had never seen anyone at the school with green hair and perhaps it was against the rules. To my surprise he went into her office and asked. She explained to him that if he lived anywhere else that it would probably be acceptable. But the town we lived in at the time was very conservative and what she feared was that parents who did not know him would begin to judge him and maybe even not let their kids hang out with him because he had green hair. She said it didn't matter that he made good grades and was respectful to adults, the green hair would not allow anyone to ever take the time to know that.

At 12 he grew his hair out long, and we let him. I think we, as parents were judged more than he was.

At 14 by his own choice, he went to military school and had to shave his head.

Now about to turn 16, he has had days that he wants to bleach his hair out and dye it pink, even talks about lip rings and tattoos.

Movin' dad "just said, NO!" He dresses in the fitted jeans and fitted shirts skateboard shoes and looks the part of the kids working in the store in the mall. I told my husband that he has such a huge fear of needles and giving blood that I would bet money if we said, "Okay...let's go get a tattoo, he would back out as soon as he saw how it was done!"

Here's our "fear" 10 % of the time:

I used to waitress, and when the doors closed at night the bartender would give us all a drink. I wasn't 21 yet.
Movin' dad used to work in a dealership and the girls in the office used to be very aggressive, he was also under 18. We survived I know it's the "BUT"... that gets me.

90% of the time I know that I cannot hide him from the world, nor do I want to. My voice of reason tells me that maybe he gets this job at the mall, and ends up becoming a buyer for them maybe even more after college. Who am I to plan his future. That's his job along with God. I just want him to be happy and love getting up everyday because he is doing what HE loves not what I love.

He wants to become a Marine. My sister-in-law told me yesterday that she is opposed to that decision. Again, that's not our call. If I have learned anything in these last 15 years of parenting, it's to be supportive, informative and respectful of his goals. I have no doubt in my mind that if I had not allowed him to come to his own conclusions about having an earring, green, pink, or long hair he would eventually have had it. If I start fighting him now about not becoming a Marine at 15 years of age, then he can never see clearly enough to make his own decision. He will be making it based on his desire or need to be right. If it became a debate then it would be difficult for him to see the opposing side.

That voice of reason is speaking to me about letting him work at the mall. At least I have a few months before this point is actually on the table for discussion.

I do know this, he is a smart kid with all of the potential in the world.
I feel like for so long I sucked a lot of that potential away in my need to make sure that his homework was done, his tests were studied for, he was at the top of his about pressure! No one can survive that way daily and be happy at the same time, it's just not healthy, not for me...not for him.

I see everyday now that he gets everything done on his own without me having to be the "controller"
What a waste of time I spent actively being a thorn in his side.
If only I had figured that out earlier with him and naps, bottles, pacifiers.

Well...I'll be much better with the other 3!



me said...

the joys of parenting teens. I have never second guessed myself so much, as in the last 3 years. Letting go is the hardest job a parent has, but relax, no matter what you do, you'll at some point in the future, figure you should have done something different. I am pretty sure a mom of a teenager created wine!

movin'mom said...

you are so right... wine had to come from a mom of teens. I think every time I have a teen saga that I post about I will have to have an ongoing glass of wine picture to signal my fellow moms of teens

The Kept Woman said...

God, I do not envy you. I watch Dateline and 48 Hours Mystery and with 2 girls I cannot even imagine the teen years. Parties, boys, sex, pervs, abducters...seriously...I stress all the time.

I guess we can't protect them forever but it's HARRRRRD to let go (and I'm not even there yet...I'm such a OCD worry-wart)...keep us posted!

me said...

raising my glass tonight i think...cheers!