Tag Archives: teenagers

Parenting Teens Gives Me INDIGESTION

Parenting Teens Gives Me (2)

As a single parent, I feel a HUGE responsibility to raise my kids well. I feel judged when I make mistakes, and spend sleepless nights just contemplating the horrors that could be. Both my kids are well into their teens and testing every parenting theory out there.
With each year comes a different challenge, and the teen years may be the most challenging yet.
Letting go and trusting my children so they can grow into functioning adults is causing me gastric distress. My stomach is in a constant knot of worry—mainly because I have NO control over what my kids are doing out there on their own. I like control and I don’t like the feeling of it slipping through my fingers.
When I warn my daughter about the dangers that lurk in the big, bad world, she brushes me off with, “Oh-ho, Mother, you have NO idea what I get up to.” WHAT? EXCUSE ME? Well, now I am imagining the absolute WORST things possible, and there is no doubt in my mind that she is selling toddlers into slavery and drinking the blood of Marilyn Manson.
If I’m not worrying about whether my teens are contracting STDs and experimenting with drugs, I’m groaning at my son’s jokes at my expense. I purchased a HUGE box of condoms—trying to be a proactive parent—and my son laughed and said, “Wow, look at that! Mom’s spending money on things she’s NEVER going to need anymore!” Thanks for that son . . . the cheeky grin and pat on the head you gave me does NOT make up for the fact that you will one day be getting more action than I could ever DREAM about. JERK! At least no one has been dipping into the box of prophylactics yet . . . should I be glad or worried?
And I’m definitely deluding myself into thinking I have the household under control. Every time I give my son a list of chores and ask if he has any questions, he responds with, “Yeah, could you explain to me in detail where babies come from? With pictures.” or “How come you have hairs growing out of your chin?” And I thought he was staring at me so intently because he really cared about what I was saying and wanted to make sure he understood my list of instructions thoroughly. I laugh but sneak off to the bathroom with a pair of tweezers. And the chores? Yeah, they get forgotten.
*Sigh* at least he is developing a sense of humour. When he is rich and famous he can pay for my therapist.
The bottle of TUMS on my bedside table is getting larger and larger, and my confidence as a parent is growing smaller. I hope desperately that the lessons I taught my children when they were young will help them make choices they will be proud of; all I can do is wait and see . . . and pop more antacids.
But, though my gut is wrenching, and my heart is sometimes on the verge of breaking, every second is worth it—every sarcastic remark, every eye roll, every worry line around my tired eyes.
As my teenagers struggle for their independence, I’m also learning and growing, and taking another step towards being an empty-nester who might be able to sleep at night, but will miss her little monsters. After all, who is going to alert me about my chin hairs?
I love being a mom and wouldn’t trade one single day with them—not even for a day with Robert Pattinson on a remote island in the Bahamas . . . hmm, well, perhaps that is going a bit far—I’m only human!
~ YOUR turn! How do you deal with the pressures of parenthood? What horrors keep you up at night? Comment below . . . and it had better be funny ‘cause laughter cures indigestion.

Kayaks, Ferries and Bears, OH MY!

Sometimes a quick trip to somewhere close is all the vacation you need.

I visited my sister and her husband at their lovely home in Roberts Creek with my kids and an extra teen along for the ride. Yeah, that lets you in on how nuts I am right away . . . three teens on a road trip (and ferry ride) to a quiet, artsy town filled with quiet, artsy folk where hiking, biking and kayaking are king.

I packed the tent hoping my punk rock daughter and her best friend and bandmate would happily camp on the front lawn, giving them some privacy and a break from the boring adults. My fourteen-year-old son was on his own. He got to sleep in the giant bunkbed in the living room (my sis and her hubby are some of the artsy folk I mentioned).

The tent plan didn’t work out as a large black bear had taken up residence nearby and visited the property daily. So the girls had to sleep on the living room floor with my son hovering above them in a rather creepy fashion.

The house was in the middle of a bathroom renovation which was supposed to be finished weeks earlier, so we were lucky to have an indoor toilet, but no shower or sink. The kitchen was a busy place with six people trying to share the one sink in the house.

My plan to try kayaking for the first time kinda backfired. We huffed and puffed our way down the rocky beach, and then down to the shoreline with two canoes, life vests, oars and emergency paraphernalia. Finally easing the front of the canoe into the waves with the help of my sister, I stepped inside the plastic cocoon ever so carefully. I felt overwhelmed by waves of nausea almost immediately. I clambered out of the kayak after about five seconds.
So, I’m a wuss! I’ve been called worse.

I will have to try it again sometime, I suppose. I guess I just wasn’t made for floating around in a red plastic coffin. My vision of me cutting the smooth crystal waters with the blade of an oar as I glided toward a burning horizon was shot to hell.

I consoled myself on the way home by buying a White Spot burger on the ferry. Now, that’s more my style!

But the trip was just what we all needed. Peaceful, relaxing and fun!

Evidence of my humiliation:

Yeah, don’t forget to book a ferry reservation, and if you do, make sure you have a recording device to occupy three teenagers for the two hour wait:

Fun and Somewhat Sane Family Activities

Are your kids begging for you to leave them alone? Do you need ideas to get the conversation going, or something going? Well, I can’t help you with that . . . you’re on your own. But I can share some of the weirder activities I have done with my kids that did keep their attention for more than five seconds. These days, with computers and smart phones constantly engaging and entertaining your kids (I know! Those pesky technologies!), parents who actually want to spend some time with their kids have to get creative . . . or crazy . . . both work.

Activities you can do with your Kids:

#1: Stalk your teenage neighbours

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My daughter won’t walk with me anymore since our last outing. Let me explain . . . since my daughter took up drumming, I have been eager for her to meet other musical people. While on a walk one evening, I heard a rhythmic beat and crash of cymbals drifting out from under a garage door. As soon as I returned home, I asked my daughter to go back out with me, because I had something exciting to share. She reluctantly agreed – you see, she is still not totally convinced of my insanity, so I can still trick her into doing things she doesn’t want to do. I told her about the elusive percussionist and I suggested she introduce herself as soon as I could find the damn house. She stood staring dumfounded at me . . . ”What?” I kept backtracking because I couldn’t remember the exact house, and then the rain started. My daughter was not impressed. She told me how uncool I was. I suppose it isn’t like when she was three and I set up play dates for her. But, there’s got to be an easier way to meet other drummers; they seem to be as shy as Big Foot! Then I can arrange a “jam” for her. Won’t that be cute? Meanwhile, I shall have to come up with a devious way to get her out walking again; but you get the point . . . be creative!

 

#2        Enjoy a candy date

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Love candy, but tired of watching my daughter sort her Nerd candies into groups based on size. OCD candidate or future Quality Control Officer? Don’t care as long as she shares with me!!

#3        Reminisce about special toys

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My kids had hobby horses when they were in kindergarten, named Puke and Vomit. I had no input into the name choosing, but they love to talk to me about them . . . over and over again, and come up with equally distressing and disgusting names. Parental participation level: Low (you just have to listen and have a high tolerance for crudities).

#4        Brother dot-to-dot

My daughter has always been gifted in art and I take all the credit. I would often walk into the living room where I had left Amy and Henry placidly watching TV, and catch Henry stripped to the waist while Amy connected the moles on his back with a marker. So creative, always a new picture; though I wish she’d not used the permanent marker from the kitchen drawer! Warning: This activity will not be popular after your kids graduate elementary school. Believe me, I tried. Sorry, but I thought it would be cute to take pictures of a mole doodle, but my fourteen-year-old son was horrified and called me a “Perv.” And that’s why you will not see many photos of my kids. They have to be vetted before I post them.

#5        Critique your favourite movie

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I suppose a better word would be “criticize” your favourite movie. We spent a whole afternoon rewinding and pausing Harry Potter to see how many times Daniel Radcliffe does that strange double blink. No matter how much you love a movie, you know you’ve watched it too much when you start wanting to do shots every time a character blinks . . . and Harry blinks a lot! 😉 Can’t wait until my kids are drinking age . . . does that make me a bad mom?

 

#6        Create food art

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My kids were asked to make food art when they were younger and a story unfolded…”The detective interviewed the mourning widow after she found her husband shot through the head…” Their favourite part was stabbing the toothpick through the head of the penguin. Then they ate the penguins. Twisted kids = great imaginations . . . at least that’s what I tell myself. I am sure your kids will enjoy this activity without the grisly murder scene.

 

#7        Search through Momma’s purse for receipts with amusing item descriptions

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I had to explain what almond butts were. “You know, when you do too many squats, and your butt gets all wrinkly. That’s why momma doesn’t exercise,” I told my curious kids.

#8           Dance naked in the rain

Okay, I did not participate (you may if you wish), but I loved watching my little tykes skip through the garden in a summer rain shower with nothing but an umbrella and a smile. Eventually the umbrellas were discarded as they reveled in the mud, and the phone would ring and a nosy neighbor on the other end would say in a bored voice, “Your kids are outside naked again.”

#9           Butt painting

I seem to have a nude theme going here; but, what can I say? My kids hated clothes and it was easier on the washing machine and my sanity. I would fill paper plates with paint, spread rolls of newsprint on the floor and set my kids free. Inevitably, the body parts would be dipped, and the paper covered in suspiciously shaped prints.

#10         Create a Wall of Shame

Pick a family member, sort through photo albums, find the most embarrassing photos and create a framed collage. Who wants a poster of something pretty when you can be admiring your uncle in drag or your papa who always seems to be shirtless or pulling a face (we have several Wall of Shame collages featuring different family members).  Tip: You might want to switch out the collage for a Robert Bateman when the honoree shows up for dinner!

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Your kind comments are welcome, and feel free to share your ideas!

Are you a Goonie or a Lost Boy?

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Top 100 80s Movies you MUST SEE with your teenagers. I am not just suggesting you see these movies, I am insisting that NOT watching them with your kids means you’re missing out on a fantastic bonding experience. So, start watching. Make it a weekly family movie night or a punishment—I don’t really care . . . just DO IT.

Pop the popcorn, put out the candy, soda and pillows and prepare for an evening of groans, laughs, and discussions about what the movie means to you and what your children found interesting about it. I always end up sharing stories about growing up in a world where computers and video games, VCRs and CDs were a thing of the future. My kids talk about what they imagine their future will look like and how the movies of today will be outdated and a history lesson for their own children. Continue reading Are you a Goonie or a Lost Boy?