No one ever said that parenting would be easy. As many people know, it is anything but easy. Is it possible that it is tougher to be a teenager?
Our daughter is at camp at this very moment with people whom she thought were her friends. She identified something going on at camp (the “cool kids” taking advantage of the others) and she spoke up against it. Great job, I think. It is exactly the way we hoped she would handle injustices (no matter how small).
Unfortunately, she is now paying the price. Because of her bravery, the so-called “cool kids” have been ostracizing her and anyone associated with her for the last two days. She is having a hard time dealing with that. People whom she thought were her friends are now giving her the cold shoulder. I just received a text from her saying, “It is so annoying! I can’t stand it”.
As a parent, our first inclination is to come to their rescue, wrap our babies in our arms, magically fix whatever ails them. However, as parents, we need to allow our kids to go through adversity. Short of physical harm, our children must learn the value of standing up for the good even if that means getting into the crosshairs of the “cool kids”. At these times, we have to teach them that “cool” is not always what’s popular. Real swagger is standing up for the other person, standing your ground, and don’t follow the crowd when you know the crowd is walking off the edge of a cliff.
As parents, we have 99 problems, but being a teen ain’t one.
To my opening question, “Is it harder to be a teenager than a parent?”, I would have to say that the difficulty is proportionate. As adults, we have the ability to deal with the challenges of life from the trial by fire life experiences that we have had to encounter. As for teens, puberty and peer pressure, sex and swag, and love and lies are all new and confusing. This adds a level of stress to the child never encountered before. We all handle pain and disappointment differently. We just need to equip our children to handle it properly.
As hard and as hurtful as it has been for my baby girl this week, she has also begun to face some of the fires that life is going to throw at her. In your eyes and mine, this is minor. In her eyes, it is quite painful. Now she has faced one of life’s many fires without the safety net of Mom and Dad to bail her out.
I know she will be stronger for it…