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JewishJournal.com

September 12, 2010

Teenager Strife Has Begun and I Passed Test Number One

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/teenager_strife_has_begun_and_i_passed_test_number_one_20100912/

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I love my son.  Love, love, love him.  From the moment he was born, he was perfection and has never given me any trouble.  He never caused problems or gave me anything to worry about.  He has always been a good kid and I feel very fortunate.

He never went through the terrible twos, never had issues at school, and has always had wonderful friends.  Good kids with cool parents so when he went out with friends I was never concerned.  Then he became a teenager, and things shifted.

I worry about things now in a way I didn’t before.  There are things teenagers deal with now that are scary.  Drugs, sex, bullies, the Internet, drinking, and massive amounts of homework.  With high school comes the hope of college, and every assignment and grade matters.

I trust my kid.  I sometimes don’t believe everything he tells me, but it’s okay because I know he stretches the truth not to get himself out of trouble, as much as to protect me.  As hard as it is to admit, there are some details that I just don’t need to know.

Last night we had our first test.  My son wanted to sleep over at the house of a kid I’m not a fan of.  There is some behavior with this kid that I find worrisome.  The fallout is that I will not allow my son to go to this kid’s house.

Yesterday my son went to Universal Studios.  They ended up running into a ton of friends and ultimately hooked up with the boy I am concerned about.  He called me from the park to let me know everyone was going to sleep at this kid’s house and could he go too.  I said no.

Everyone was going to sleep over and I would not let my son go.  I felt bad about it for about ten minutes.  I actually almost caved and let him go.  In the end I stuck to my guns, and told him no.  I took him out to get dinner, hung out at home, and had a great night together.

He understood why I said no and rather than complain about it, he said he felt confident that one day it would all pass and I would allow him over there.  Actions speak louder than words and he knew it needed to be earned not just given.  I was proud of him that he got it.

I am going to make decisions he is not going to understand.  Some will piss him off and make him so mad at me he says things that hurt my feelings.  As long as I don’t waffle and stick by my decisions, my hope is that even if he does not agree, he will respect me for standing strong.

I hope he remembers all the things I do that he hates, and then when he is a father and faced with the same situations, he will think back and see I was a good mom and made the right decisions.  My choices about my son are never about being right, but about being a good mom.

It turns out not everyone slept over.  Some parents opted out and only one of his friends ended up there.  He was convinced he was missing out on a life altering experience.  Instead he slept at home, had a fun night with me, and actually hugged me and said thanks.

With five and a half years of teenager life to go, I hope we make it out unscathed.  There will be ups and downs, so hopefully through it all we will love and respect each other.  In the end, we will be grateful we survived the teenage years, thankful we were able to keep the faith.

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