Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Teenagers Drain The Glass

I often wonder what it's like for an optimistic person to parent. Because I'm the opposite. A glass half-empty kind of thinker. Well, I'm actually a glass-drained-dry-and-dead kind of person. It's the way I'm wired. So, I just can't imagine being a hopeful, positive parent. Does it make a difference?

Because this morning, the Baby Child was so mad at me, she started crying. Then she stopped speaking to me. After that, she sat on the porch until the bus pulled up. All because I let her older sister take her water bottle to school.

But, here's the deal...This is my third trip down teenager lane. I know the drill. You would think this would help the situation, but it only pulls my pessimistic self down a darker hole. Because, really? This was supposed to be the Golden Child. My Favorite. The One to redeem the others. Crap shoot. That's all I've got.

Lately, I've seen all sorts of cute Pinteresty ideas for chore charts. All catered to little ones. And my pessimistic, jaded brain wonders, "How do you even make a chore chart for teenagers?" It would only list one item, "Get up". Do I actually pay them for that? What if they just stay silent and don't talk to me? I would definitely be willing put money there.

What hope is there for a parent with teens? What do I say when Child #2 reiterates her real, full-fledged desire to meet a prisoner? She says it's even on her bucket list. And now she's started saying "I'm LOL-ling!" constantly. Instead of actually laughing, she just says the words. Annoying and dumb all rolled into one.

And how do you parent a child that's a mini-you? I'm daily tempted to tell her she's all sorts of spectacular. But then, while serving up dinner, she makes a comment like, "Why don't you just take 5 years to pick a piece of chicken." Or, "If you touch me again, I'll kill you." And then spectacular isn't the word I'm thinking any longer.

Do optimistic parents see teenagers differently than I do? Maybe I need a 12 step program. Or a sabbatical. My sister told me this morning that I need to look for the silver lining. I wanted to reach through the phone and punch her. Super hard.

Maybe this is just a phase. A really, really long phase. I'll grow out of it. Right? Let's cross our fingers. And make a cake. Cake will help.