I don’t know if you are a Gleek like me, but if you are, you might remember the song that Mercedes wrote in a recent segment called Hell to the No. In this song she sings a defiant cry against everything she is being asked to do that she doesn’t want to do. Regardless of the part of the song where she says she doesn’t want to be all diva about it, she really is.
This cry of defiance is familiar to anyone who has teenagers. Since the time my son turned 13, his teenaged, hormone-filled, rebellion started. My favorite phrase became “you didn’t cause this, you can’t cure it, and you can’t control it”. I tried repeating that phrase over and over again and pretended it helped. It didn’t, and as any mother will tell you, their child’s behavior is a direct hit on your parenting psyche.
When your child is in danger, it’s natural as a mother, to want to help. You want to fix it; wipe away the tears, and kiss the boo-boos goodbye. However, we as parents have to understand that protecting teens from the dangers in the outside world is not always realistic. We have to begin to let go and allow them to learn from their mistakes and reach inside to find the resources they have. We parents have to reach inside too, but in our case it is to find the patience to deal with rebellion. I say these words and know them in my head, but my heart still wants to make things right for my son.
Dealing with a rebellious teen is similar to dealing with an addict. You need to be there when they fall, but they have to come to the conclusion that they are acting in a manner that is incorrect. You have to understand that you have given them the tools for living and now they have to use the tools, and with any new skill, there is a learning curve that goes with it. As much as I am pained to see him go through the consequences of his actions, my desire to reach out and fix things may spring from a loving impulse, but they are not loving actions. Those actions could be harmful to you and my loved one because in the long run they do not allow him to fix the problem for himself.