Note: This post was originally written in 2013 when my oldest son was 14. Now my youngest is about to turn 14. Unfortunately, this post is just as relevant to me now as it was more than three years ago.
I knew it would happen sooner or later but I had hoped to avoid it with luck and a little skill. Okaaaay, so I was wrong. Really wrong. (I admit it. Sometimes I’m a little delusional.) Despite my efforts to fight it, I am no longer smart. According to my teenage son, I am officially stupid.
I can almost see some of you shaking your head and laughing a little at my naivete. How did I hope to avoid this parental curse? Do I have some magic suit that can deflect teenage scorn? Or perhaps some psychic ability that allows me to see into the teenage mind and unravel it’s mysteries for the betterment of the world? Maybe I have a super-secret brainwashing technique that I use to “mold” the minds of tomorrow’s leaders? Um. Nope. Not only do I NOT have any of those cool but questionable tools to help me avoid the “Parental Teenage Curse,” it totally snuck up on me!
For those of you who either 1) haven’t gone through this stage yet as a parent or 2) don’t remember going through it as a teen, let me enlighten you to a common and extremely annoying stage that many teenagers go through. You see, there comes a time in a teen’s life when he or she realizes that their parents are completely clueless and have little or no redeeming value whatsoever. They, on the other hand, have reached a level of enlightenment that is exceeded only by Einstein on a REALLY good day. You know what I mean, on a day when he got a great night’s sleep, took his vitamins, and got pumped at the gym.
Unfortunately, this new period in our lives has taught me something about myself. Something that I really didn’t want to know. (Don’t you hate it when that happens?) It seems that I don’t like being wrong. I mean I REALLY don’t like being wrong. Sure, I understand that most people don’t like to be wrong or be TOLD they’re wrong. It’s human nature. How am I any different?
Usually, I’m not easily irritated. In fact, you could say that I’m fairly hard to offend. But there are some things that send me over the edge.
- Give me attitude about going to Mass (I’m talking to you my sweet offspring.)
- Dress like a slob for a dressy occasion and resist all my efforts to correct. (Still talking to you, kids.)
- Be told what I will like or dislike. (I’ll decide that for myself, thank you.)
But, the one thing that drives me up the wall faster than no other irritant is . . . someone telling me I’m wrong when I KNOW I’m right!
I realize that I can’t make my teenager think I’m intelligent or wise. The only thing I can change is me. When I realized that I was getting WAY too upset over being told I was wrong, I felt so silly. Here I am, a grown woman, letting a fourteen year-old push my buttons by going through a typical fourteen year-old phase.
So as of now, I’m letting go of being right. After all, It’s about pride and my pride could use a little shrinkage. My new phrase will be “I may be wrong, but . . . ” I’m hoping by admitting my fallibility right upfront it will make me better able to handle the fact that I’m most assuredly wrong–at least for the next few years or so.
Copyright 2017 Laura B. Nelson