Tag Archives: teenagers

Hard Head = Soft Arss

Oh, the joy of selfish, self-centered, selfish (did I say that twice?) teenagers. They are truly what makes the world go ‘round. Them and all their ‘Me Me Me’. It makes the world a much better place and it provides parents of said teens a respite from the everyday struggles of Life Life Life. Said no one ever.

Being a parent of a teen makes you question every wrong thing you ever did…EVER. I find myself sitting in the dark going over the boneheaded, disrespectful, annoying, self-centered things I ever did to The Parents. I was often met with general hissed words that went something like ‘as much as your mother/father does for you….the least you could do is…stop being so damn selfish….’ You know, typical parent to teen conversation.

But parents are dumb. They don’t know anything. They have no clue how it feels to be [insert asshole teenage issue here]. They are all old and stuff. What do they know?

Welp, parents know more than you, assclown…is what she doesn’t say to her eighteen-year-old-self-absorbed-know-it-all child. Instead, I stand down. I wave the white flag and snicker behind their back. Know why? Yea, you do. You know why. You know the moment they step foot onto that real-world sidewalk life comes fast. Cars break down, paychecks get sucked up by everything but wants, love hurts, food does not just magically appear in the pantry, and the decision between a gallon of milk or a gallon of gas is life changing. See, they don’t know that. They have no idea what they are about to walk into.

But those are lessons you just simply cannot teach. They just have to cut teeth on ’em, as the old folks say. It is a train wreck hard for us to watch, but for them it is necessary.

When the teenage monster rears its ugly, hormonal, pimply, smelly head, I rarely say a thing. There will come a time when they are sitting in the dark and think back on every idiotic moment and cringe. They may or may not apologize. They may or may not pick up the phone just to hear my voice or come visit just for a hug, but I will know they know. Life isn’t so easy, is it? Can’t always have your way, can you? Pouting doesn’t work out there, does it? Mmmmhm…didn’t think so. It is okay, you needed to figure it out for yourself. No amount of yelling, grounding or PS4/iPhone snatching was going to get through that thick skull. Only life can do that (wink).

~SM

The (Parental) Hair Debate

I have always been against people telling me what to do with my hair. It’s. Just. Hair. It’s hair! Cut it and it will grow back. Color it and it will grow out. Shave it and it will come back. Braid it and they can come out. Hair is hair is hair. It’s hair. So when the Ex and I had a debate about the Girl’s hair last night, I could not help but to get a little pissed.

First things first, I have never been a parent before. Second things second, I have never been a divorced parent before. I am flying by the seat of my pants and have been doing so for the last 14 years. So far, the children are not (a) thieves, (b) murderers, (c) gangsters (d) whores (e) rapists and/or (f) on Maury with any of the above. Of course they lack more to be desired, but they are teenagers. Spoiled teenagers with a large side of attitude and ungratefulness, but that can be easily fixed (ask the Boy who I wrestle to the ground and show who’s boss when it is needed). All of that being said, there is something to this parenting game I have learned over this 14 year stint: allow expression.

I am a free spirit and I parent sorta accordingly. You want to wear stripes and polka dots with monkey slippers? Go for it. You want to paint your room and draw on the walls? Have at it. I. Don’t. Care. Express yourself in the safest, most benign manner, and it can save the world from frustrated angry individuals (imo). Of course there are somethings I fight: sagging pants, odd body piercings, skank wear, certain music, R-rated movies, and personal bubble popping. Other than that, life is a coloring book with blank pictures–I encourage coloring outside the lines. The Ex obviously feels differently.

The Girl wanted to get her hair done, and I obliged. I preferred her in an afro, but she preferred herself in some sort of relaxed style. Fine. Your hair. Not mine. This time she asked if she could get it colored. I obliged. The Girl ended up with beautiful burgundy red highlights. Instead of him gushing over her hair, boosting her self-esteem, he proceeded to debate with me over her hair being colored. “She’s 12!” He says. “She doesn’t need color in her hair. I am her father and I have a say in something that big. Blah blah blah.” Is it that big of a deal, really?

Hair, clothes, nail polish, art work, tattoos even–is all an extension of the person and their need for expression. Everything has a limit and maturity date. The Girl has suffered quite a bit at the hands of adults and mother nature. She has had her home sold, her family changed, major surgery, and puberty knocking at her door in a 12 month span. The least I can do, as her mother/supporter/cheerleader, is allow her to test life and move outside of the lines…just a little bit. He had a point. She is 12. Which, for me, is all the more reason to allow her to express herself safely. She is an artist at heart–always has been–why not allow her to move within that? If you made it to the end of this long post, riddle me this: Was I wrong for allowing her to do it? Was I wrong for not telling him? Should her hair be a joint adult decision? I am curious to know.

~SM

The Great Ballet Debate

This morning, while watching the news, a commercial came on for the Atlanta Ballet Nutcracker. The Boy asked what it was.

“It’s the Nutcracker, son. The ballet.”

“Oh. Is that the thing you are making us go see in New York?”

“Sorta, only it’s the Rockettes…a little more exciting.”

“Ok. Good. Cuz I’m not going to see some people dressed in stupid tights, dancing around.”

For the next 15 minutes, we debated me making him go to the ballet at some point in his life and him definitely not going. “Son! You have to experience everything in life, whether you like it or not. You go to the ballet once and check it off your list. If you don’t like it, don’t go again.” According to him, he won’t go again because he won’t be going the first time. *exasperated sigh*

Understanding that the world is ever shrinking (thanks internet), it is imperative for kids today to experience something outside of the everyday mundane crap collection of…well…crap. Various foods, spices, activities, places, people, events and, yes, even ballets. When I was his age, I was reading Poe and Shakespeare just because. I was going to the symphony alone and listening to Beethoven for entertainment. I have not seen the world yet, nor have I tasted every food there is to taste but that doesn’t mean I am not open to it (well…except for eating bugs). All I am asking is for my children to do the same.

I understand the ballet probably is not his first choice for entertainment, but there is so much more to life outside of ESPN and Call of Duty and NBA 2k whatever. Some of the most brilliant, creative minds have been touched by something outside of their norm. The Girl is easy going. She will try anything once. But him? Not so much. I did get him to try cross stitch, which was awesome. It lasted all of 15 minutes, but he tried it. I am dragging him to see the Rockettes (kicking and screaming) but he will have experienced it. By accident I got him to watch How To Get Away With Murder–certainly not something to add to his culture toolbox, however it is outside of his box. And I am still confused on how he ended up with an affection for The Gap Band and Charlie Wilson, but I will gladly take it.

We ended the ballet debate with him saying he did not want to see men dancing around in dresses and tights to “that boring music” and putting his size 11 down on the matter. I allowed him to assert his almost 14 year old manhood, wisely picking my battle, and putting my hands up, conceding….today…but there is always a tomorrow and he will be seated next to me, watching men in tights by surrender or by force.

~SM