Learning the Ropes of Raising A Teenager
Your Baby Has Grown Before Your Eyes
My first child has grown into such a beautiful young lady right before my eyes. She went from new born to 13 before I could blink. Time goes by so fast and I still have a hard time believing I am now a mother of a teen.
As a parent you think you are prepared for everything and then one day reality hits you when you are staring at a beautiful young lady staring eye to eye with you. Anxiety takes over when you start to think about boys, dating, periods, high school, and driving. And dare I even mention that the birds and the bees talk needs to some how come up. Then there is peer pressure, drugs, and alcohol. You can't help but wonder how you are going to handle helping your now 13 year old baby stay on the right track and make good choices. I know these very thoughts go through my head daily and it's very scary.
I am going to share how I have handled the situations that have come up. Since my daughter is only 13 we haven't had issues with High School, dating, and driving thank goodness. I do know that this day will come all to soon.
My heart skipped a beat or two the day I heard the words " Mom I started my period." I gave her what was needed and we sat down on my bed (mostly because my legs were weak) and talked about what was happening. We talked about the dreaded cramps and headaches. I reminded her to always let me know if she was having pain. I quickly put together an emergency kit for her to keep in her locker at school so she was always prepared and didn't have to be embarrassed to go to the nurse.
The importance of having a menstrual cycle is learning to keep track of when Aunt Flow will arrive next among other things like starting a family but that is MANY years down the road. The next day we went and got a pocket calendar for her so she could learn to keep track of mother nature.
The most important thing I learned was to stay calm in the moment and to be there for my now young lady. I'm not going to lie, I did cry like a baby when I went to bed that night.
Boys, Birds and he Bees
Following that incident we had a special day out. Just her and I. We talked about boys and the dreaded birds and the bees. To me this has been the hardest part of becoming a mother of a teenage daughter. I'll admit I did most of the talking and she did most of the listening. I know in that moment she was embarrassed we were even having this conversation.
That day I learned that having one on one time with your child is important. I had to learn to talk like an adult to my not so baby anymore. I also had to learn more patience when she didn't have any questions. I will say that through out the next week she did come up to me in private to ask questions which made me feel better. I had to learn to give my child time to process so much.
Drugs, Alcohol, and Peer Pressure
Then there was the drugs, alcohol, and peer pressure talk. This was interesting because she did most of the talking while I found myself doing most of the listening. I have to praise your school system for the DARE program. She knew more about this subject than I realized. I did however ask her how she would handle a situation if she was at a friend's house and there was drinking and drugs going on. She said the right things like "Call you" and "Leave". My husband and I did get her a cell phone in case situations did arise and she would always have a way to get ahold of one of us.
As a parent I had to remind her of consequences if she were to do such things, but I also don't want her to be afraid to talk to me if she did make a bad choice. We as parents are here to guide and teach not turn away.
On this day I had to learn to listen to what my daughter had to say. I also realized that I have to learn that there is a boundry between being a parent and being a friend.
Continue To Learn With Your Child
I know that the day will come when we have the talk about dating, driving, and High School. Until then I will continue to learn the patience, the listening, the staying calm, and being there when she needs me most. The most important thing as a parent is to pray that God continues to help you guide and teach your child the ropes of adult hood and continues to help you learn the ropes of the crazy teenage world.