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Preparing for the Teenage Years Not Easy for Parents

In the blink of an eye, your baby is suddenly a teenager. So how do you handle it?

 

Moms always comment how fast time flies as we raise our children and, this week, I can truly vouch for that.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, I find that I am the mother of a 13-year-old boy.  Yes, it happened, my son went and had a birthday and officially crossed the line to being a teenager.

Looking back I’m not truly sure how it happened. It seems like just yesterday I was expecting a baby and, today, that baby is 13 years old. So, I’ve had all these years to prepare myself, but the question remains. Am I really ready for the teenage years?

I guess the best answer comes in the form of yet another question. Looking back was I even ready for the first 13 years? Motherhood isn’t the type of job that comes with a manual. Sure there are all sorts of advice books but, frankly, I learned pretty darn fast that they too can be overwhelming.

Children don’t come with a trial period, a warranty and certainly not with a return policy. There is no pre-baby practice session and, frankly, on the job training is all that you will get.

As a new mom you learn to think on your feet, trust your instincts and quickly forgive your own mistakes. I can only assume that the same learning curve applies to raising a teenager. 

I remember thinking at one point that nothing could be harder than managing a two-year-old and then, out of the blue, I was trying to help with 4th grade math homework. That flew past and today I am wrestling with how to keep an eighth grader on track with school and sports. 

Now, as 13 rolls around, thoughts like “three years until he drives” and “high school graduation is only five years away” begin to fill my head. Now those are some very scary thoughts.

At this point, however, I have to remember a bit of advice that was given to me years ago. A friend, whose children were grown, told me to cherish every stage and every moment because, before I knew what had happened, my son would be all grown up and on his own.

Truer words could not be spoken. Seems like just yesterday I was sitting at my desk writing about my son turning 12 and wondering where the years had gone. Today, I’m at that same desk, and yet another year has passed.

Yes, the teen years do sound pretty frightening and, no, I’m not entirely certain that I’m ready but I can only hope that with a little luck and a lot of commitment I’ll be looking back in a few more years wondering what all the fuss was about.

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