Oh kids…. what can I say. There are so many things to "say" about raising kids, and so many things not to "say" about raising kids, sometimes it's hard to decipher. Today and everyday I consider what to say to and about my kids. I wonder what is too much and what is too little.
I know I don't say enough to Kid2, it's hard to not cross a line with an 18 year old girl. I want her to make her own choices, but Im afraid she might make her own choices… (see my dilemma?) I think sometimes she wants me to just speak out and tell her what to do and other times she wants me to zip up and stop telling her what to do. I am usually doing the opposite of what I should be doing. Talking when quiet is needed and quiet when talking is needed. I want her to OWN her decisions, feel good or bad about them without being able to say "my mom made me______". Sometimes though I know I have to stand up and tell her what to do because she is teetering on the line of being an adult and still being a child and there are times when she needs help deciding. But…. where's the line? This is where a handbook at birth would have come in nicely. I don't know the line, I don't know when it's best to speak up and when it's best not to speak up. I don't know a lot of things but I DO know that raising teenagers was a WHOLE LOT harder than I thought.
Last night I spoke to Kid2's boss. I should say "finally spoke" to her boss. He had crossed a line of professionalism many times with her and all along I made excuses for him (im SO good at excuses). I would say "he probably didn't mean it like that, he's had a hard life, poor guy, he must have some issues". I wasn't addressing her though. I didn't speak up, I didn't stand up for her and I can't take the back. I have tried a hands off approach to raising teenagers and it doesn't work well for most. I wanted them to learn lessons on their own, taking each day at a time and learning from each moment. Most adults don't do that, expecting a teenager to do it is preposterous, but it was my way. I made a mistake, and last night I tried to own my mistake by showing kid2 how a boss, an adult and a co-worker can be addressed when there is a problem.
I wasn't sure what to say, I wasn't sure it was even a good idea but in I went. To the back office after my girl following one boss while the other waited in the office. I had HAD enough and so had she. I said a little prayer as we walked and just had to believe that God would put words into my mouth. He wouldn't even look at her. When it was his turn to talk my mouth just opened up and I kid you not, the RIGHT words fell out of my mouth. (if you know me well, you know I have no idea how to properly communicate) I was able to get across to him that my little girl HAD been treated poorly by him and that I would no longer stand for it as a mother. I was able to also appeal to his heart and not hurt his feelings. I was able to show her that you CAN effectively communicate a problem to a man, a coworker, an adult and a boss with kind but firm words. It went well. I breathed a sigh of relief.
Teenagers are so often misunderstood. She has come home so often with her heart hurting over someone, over small things and big things. She has come home confused and wondering why the world works the way that it does. I think she looks to me for answers and the hardest part about being a mom is that I don't have them. Im also often puzzled at the same things she is.
Say enough? Do enough? Stand up enough? Know enough?
Nope, not me.