Monastic Mom

A Teen in the House

My daughter recently turned 13. That golden age we deem as turning into a teen. The physical, emotional, intellectual changes actually started happening about a year or so ago (much to my surprize). I am finding these exciting times as I watch from the threshold seeing how she is changing. I myself am going through puberty in reverse, so I see this time as sort of passing on the baton in this great relay of life. smile

It's fun seeing her develop a different taste in music, bopping her head to the music, suddenly singing out lyrics. Her clothing choices are changing as are her taste in books, movies, computer games. What a marvelous thing to watch. I know some parents have troubles with this stage. I know when I've been troubled, it's been my clinging to the past. We don't want to accept change.

Of course not all the changes are marvelous smile: the grumbling when I ask her to do something, the lingering a little too long in bed in the morning, the snapping at her younger brother, and so on and so forth. But while I do not perceive these as marvelous changes, I can accept them as a part of life. Every stage of life has positives and negatives. How we adjust to changes from one stage to another is in how we deal with these. Do we let the negatives overshadow the positives? Do we respond to the negative with more negativity creating a snowball of negativity?

I feel it is my job as a parent to express joy in the positive. I try to let her know that I am enjoying seeing her change that I appreciate her when I see her taking more responsibility. We celebrate the changes and try to keep a positive outlook — going out to dinner to celebrate major changes. I must also not cling to my teen's childhood, but wholeheartedly accept this new stage of adolescence.

It is also my job to not respond negatively to the negative behavior. When she spends too long in bed in the morning instead of getting ready for school, I have the choice in how I respond. I can increase the negative feelings of the morning by getting angrier and angrier until I am yelling at her. Or I can accept that fact that very few people want to get up in the morning so why should I get angry at her for this? Does my anger make her eager to do as I ask? No, it only escalates into her getting angry and refusing to get up. If I put myself in her shoes, would I want to wake up to someone yelling at me? No, I'd pull the pillow over my head and groan. So instead my way of dealing with mornings is to sing a morning greeting, to cajole and joke about getting up, to agree with her that it's tough getting up the morning. Since I've changed my approach, mornings have become pleasant. We are never late leaving the house anymore. I feel more upbeat for the rest of the morning.

Whether the teen years are a terror or terrific, is all up to us parents. Our preceptions can shape the teen

From the Buddhist Parent online discussion comes this

So that's why I'm on the list and reading a lot and sitting.
Synthezsizing all of these resources, I have come up with the rough
draft of an 8fold path of sorts to help me. Here it is:

1. My child is suffering.
2. My child is displaying this suffering in front of me
3. Therefore, my child is seeking help and guidance from me.
4. May I be filled with patience.
5. May I embody compassion.
6. I will look behind the behavior into the heart of the child.
7. When I see the heart of the child, I will know what to do.
8. My child teaches me wisdom.



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