No, these are not actually parenting tips. These are snippets of self attained wisdom accidentally hammered while handling nasty situations at home. The subsequent lockdowns have all the more made us confront our teen day in and day out. Now we can’t seem to decide who is stepping over whose boundaries.
Yes, boundaries. Wait, did your cat hear this? The macavity lurks in corners, drenched in gadgets and books and will storm into the kitchen when hungry, grab it’s meal and again disappear like forever. As if it wasn’t there. And you’d better not notice it, else the fangs…you know them well by now.
Taking this further, I jotted these down while the cat meowed all the while we drove around town. I have insisted that I want the back seat, originally the cat’s. And here I mouth some random voices you may well identify with, if you’re parenting a teen.
Avoid all “shoulds“
Shoulds like “You should not waste your time.
You should clean up the mess.
You should watch better movies.
Three days, just the three days’ magic works.
Do all that you want them to do. Exercise, don’t look at them. Call your friends, talk loud, but don’t look at your cat lurking in the corner. Cook, but don’t ask for help. Clean, but sing while you do it. Eat, but don’t ask them if they’re hungry. Yes, yes….do all this and more….for THREE DAYS!!!
Every second around them is an investment.
Yes, the gold capital that turns out immense returns. That collar of hers you wanted to put right while she shrugged you away….? That, that is an investment.
Look, but don’t stare
This is an infallible word from a teenager’s mom. Look at them, and be concious of what your eyes show. Mine knows me from the way I stack utensils in the racks, the sound I make , the speed at which I walk. If my sounds are noticeable, she’s the first to react… WHAT’S WRONG NOW!!!
Do not give instructions
Tell your rebel cat that you are in a fix, and they love to rescue. Believe me when I say, they love to be heroes, knights in shining Armor, that know how you feel. Yes, your heart tugs at them. But they know when you feel low…No, they will not say anything to comfort you. They will only DO. So, don’t instruct, let them see the real you. You are human, you get upset and they are your hero. Period.
Believe them totally
They have an uncanny hunch. When they see something, they keep quiet, but drop you hints. Look out. They mean it if the other kid has been mean or is morally challenged. You’re still a parent. More than a friend. Trust her instinct. Act.
Let them go, they are raring to fly.
They are not yours to keep. Love immensely, hug tight, but know when to let go. If you bind them too close, you deny them opportunities and risks…..risks that make a life complete.