Teen Anxiety and Blaming Parents

Teen Anxiety and Blaming Parents

I recently read an article titled “10 Reasons Teens Have So Much Anxiety Today” and I was really quite shocked at just how much the author generalized and blamed parents in this article. A little too much blame methinks. As if parents don’t have enough stress on them too! How about the fact that in America it’s all about working rather than spending any quality time with your family? How about the fact that teachers aren’t given the respect and recognition they deserve? And yes, I do believe (highly unfairly) some parents expect teachers to raise and discipline their kids.

I think another factor is that society wants to give everyone a medal! God forbid we recognize that our child lost! – Our daughter had a soccer game the other day and it was awful! It was awful to watch. She played terribly. Her team was annihilated because none of them played well. She got into the car afterwards and told us how she played terribly. I said she had some moments that were good, but it definitely wasn’t fun to watch and she certainly wasn’t playing her best. She said she didn’t give it 100% – All we ask is that our kids do their best. Every time. If you are going to commit to something then you need to give it your best. I told her I appreciated her admitting that, but if she wants to play soccer then she needs to give it her best, every, single time. There is no talking it up at our house. We are by no means perfect parents but when our kid doesn’t commit and recognizes it themselves, I’m not going to disagree. I’m not going to praise the not-so-good. I am going to praise her great moments though. Our other daughter has just made a lacrosse team. It’s the B team. She started playing lacrosse at a free clinic last Summer. She did another clinic in Autumn. And another this Winter. She can’t expect miracles. She can’t expect to be the best immediately. It just doesn’t work that way. I’m proud of how she responded though when I told her this morning that she had made the B team. She said that if she wants to get better then she has to work hard. But she’s going to play hard nonetheless and actually said how thankful she was that we actually let her start playing the game now (14).

No one knows if they’re doing the parenting thing the ‘right’ way. Articles like these point out some great things to keep an eye on but they also blame parents in so many ways and that’s when it becomes unfair. We are trying to do our best. We are told what we can and can’t do as far as our parenting goes. We are told we are doing it wrong all the time. “Too many electronics!” “You have to have your kids skilled in electronics!” “They’re not exercising hard enough!” “You’re putting too much pressure on your kid by having them exercise hard throughout the week and playing competitive games on weekends!” There’s a happy medium somewhere there, but we can’t be blamed for everything! Society as a whole needs to intervene in a more productive way. Playtime at school has to happen. Yes to less screen time, but haven’t the so-called experts been saying that for years about TVs?

My son told me he was bored the other night, I told him to read a book or play legos or take his imagination on an adventure! We ended up playing a family card game of Uno. It was fun! Kids need to be bored and parents need to allow them time to develop coping skills, it’s also a time when parents can add some family fun into the mix.

I very much believe in the hierarchy point though. I have friends whose kids seem to dictate all that they do. I have friends who treat their kids as equals and share with them far too many facts about themselves or other adult friends. Your kid is your kid. Not your peer. Not your friend. When they are adult enough, become friends. But they need you as their parent, their guide, their guardian, right now.

This article points out things to keep an eye on within ourselves (as parents) and some modifications we can definitely make in our day-to-day lives as the parents of teens or even tweens, but blaming us for everything isn’t the answer either.

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What the ?

What the ?

Hey fellow Mum/Mom, what the …..?

So, my daughter had her 12th birthday party a few months ago, she invited 8 of her friends. She didn’t invite one girl that she’s had this on again/off again relationship with. She asked me if I thought she was doing the right thing, I asked her how she was being treated lately by said girl and what their relationship was like. She responded with: said girl had been treating her like crap (after having a play date at our house the week before) and she had an invite for her but rescinded at the last minute because said girl was being a little hellion (according to my daughter).
Here’s my thing; my kid and your kid are both not going to paint themselves in the ‘worst’ picture when it comes to situations involving their friends. I’m going to believe my kid, you’re going to believe your kid.
Sometimes our kids aren’t telling the entire truth; sometimes they blatantly lie.
I can’t tell you who is being more honest, what I can tell you is there are always two sides to a story and why the hell are you unfriending me as your Facebook friend because our kids no longer talk?
Seriously, this happened! I have been a parent for over 12 years now and I’ve only just realised that it is a big mistake to get involved with any of your kid’s friend’s Mums! Well okay, maybe not. Maybe you’ll walk away with a friend for life, but maybe you’ll also both get drawn into the shit that happens when your kids have falling outs! Do not get involved!
Well, hang on, if it’s serious, get involved, but most of the time it’s just the frigging drama that goes along with a bean/tween/teen! It’s seriously not something you need to take a stand on and that’s where the grey comes into it: New Mum/mom, only child Mum/Mom, old hat Mum/Mom, your kid is going to go through drama, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re being bullied, but it’s a whole lot of drama nonetheless! (Oh and keep a very keen eye out for the bullying because that’s a whole different ball game!)
The drama is going to involve your kid’s best friend/girlfriend/boyfriend or a complete stranger. You are going to have no clue from which direction the drama will unfold. Here’s the big picture though, don’t frigging unfriend the mother you friended a few months ago when your kid’s were best friends because there’s a damn good chance they’ll be best friends again before you know it! Don’t bring the other parent into the drama! I’ve learnt this the hard way, and I say this in all seriousness, don’t frigging friend someone either just because they are the parent of your kid’s friend! Just because your kid’s are friends doesn’t mean you need to be, and you know what? On a grown up level, just because you’re friends, doesn’t mean your kids need to be!
We seem to go through this notion where we think we have to Facebook befriend the parent of every kid our kids love and sometimes they’re not necessarily people we want to know and other times they’re the best friends we never knew we had. It’s a tough game that whole friendship as an adult thing but when our kids come into play, from now on my new motto is, hey, I really like you but you need to understand our kids may have differences and I don’t particularly give a crap because I really like you and the kids can work their own shit out or move on! Do not get overly involved! Advise your kid. Do the parental thing. Call the other kid out. But has the parent done anything to you? Is the kid old enough to have started developing their independence? Then shit, stop holding grudges against the parents; sometimes great parents have shitty kids and sometimes shitty parents have great kids! That’s just the way it rolls.
This woman’s juvenile behaviour has now made me think everything my daughter has told me about her daughter is true, whereas before, I wasn’t so sure. How can we set the example for our children, particularly our daughters (I’m a firm believer in women believing in other women rather than putting them down) when we start judging other women by the actions our juvenile children narrate to us when they are still learning what is right and wrong in the world? Disappointed doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings about this seemingly smart, well educated woman! And no, there were no other posts made by myself between Saturday night (the night of the party) and Monday afternoon (when she came up on my Facebook feed as someone I might know).
What the ?
Lady, you are doing nothing for your child by being like this. You are not setting a great example to resolve conflict and nor are you ensuring your child has the confidence to make the right decisions- be they right or wrong. I am glad in a way that we are no longer friends because you’ve helped me explain to my daughter the kind of woman ‘not to be’ (but I actually liked a couple of parts of your personality, so in another sense it saddens me that this is where we’ve come).
I wish you and yours all the best and hope your kid can walk away from this a strong woman who knows what it’s like to both fail and succeed and to know the important role other women play in this thing we call life.

To my friends with no kids…..

To my friends with no kids…..

Sometimes we really envy you. Sometimes we look at all the wonderful things you get to do, the adventures you get to have, the ability to leave your house on a whim, and we feel alittle, tiny, ok, sometimes it’s a bit more like a gut wrenching dislike towards you! Don’t get me wrong, we love you, but sometimes we really envy your freedom!
We remember the carefree days of adventure and fun. We remember not having to pack an entire day’s worth of snacks into a handbag. We remember not having to make sure everyone has hats and a change of clothes, to pack the sunscreen, to ensure everyone has towels, to make sure there’s water bottles for all, oh and other drinks if we are going out for the entire day, I mean who can survive on just plain water for an entire day’s outing???? I mean SERIOUSLY! We remember when there was just one person to take care of, hmm, let me throw on some clothes and be on my way…… Lol! Those days are gone baby! Now it’s, let me throw on my clothes then go and get clothes for everyone else or ensure the clothes they are wearing can actually be seen in public. Then brush hair, clean teeth, making sure breakfast actually happens before teeth cleaning (yes, we’ve done that before). 
Then there’s the matter of what everyone is going to eat! In my house, living in Korea means we have to plan very carefully. I am the only one who eats Korean food (well the son is starting to eat it given he gets it every day at his school) but this means the whole family sits in the car and thinks about where we are going and where the nearest place is that has food they will all eat! This is a serious conversation that normally ends with me rolling my eyes and giving in to them. Unbelievable! We may have literally finished breakfast 5 minutes beforehand but the conversation always takes a shift to what we will eat if we are out long enough. And the minute we get in the car, bellies that were full five seconds ago are now so hungry they could eat anything, well anything other than what was on the menu for breakfast anyway; “Mum, I’m starving!” “You just ate breakfast and said you were full.” 

“Yes, but that was ages ago, have you got any snacks?”

“Only leftover cereal.”

“Oh, well I guess I’m still full for now.”

Yes. You are! 
We were supposed to go camping this Fourth of July weekend. The forecast said a high chance of heavy rain (it didn’t end up quite like that, in fact, it would have been a beautiful weekend to camp) but we had to decide on Thursday and at that point in time, given the forecast, we called it. So, we did what parents of three kids do, we spent most of our time at the pool, yes we got rained on a little but we had fun. Hubby played mini golf with them yesterday too then we all played today. We love doing family stuff, but sometimes…..

This afternoon came and I really felt like spontaneously going somewhere. We have some friends who just yesterday went out for a drive, discovered a winery and hung about all day having wine tastings and doing spare of the moment stuff. Not us. There is no spontaneity unless it is a spontaneous run to the pool (I have pool bags at the ready now). We were coming home today and I suggested we take a drive and I would show hubby this lovely walk along the river. Well I got busy looking at Facebook and we missed the turn, he wasn’t keen to go anywhere anyway (but he gets to leave the house daily too) and dear son started with “Are we there yet?” “How much longer?” 
I then suggested to dear husband that we go to this other place, but we missed that turn off too, finally he turned around and went home. Everyone got out of the car so happy to be home, except me. I wanted to have some adventure. I wanted to find that hidden gem winery, or that charming temple, or anything honestly. But no, home again. Requests to go to the pool again tomorrow in hand. There won’t be any winery visits, we may try to bike ride to the tea house (given dear son will be at school) so I may just be able to twist some arms and coax all into that but there will be no leaving the house carefree and wild with no idea of where we’ll go for the day. For now, those days are gone. I know tomorrow I’ll wake up and want to go to the pool and want to hang out with my kids, but for just a while today, I really wanted to adult, yet adult without responsibility & that just can’t happen anymore, for now anyway.
To my friends without kids, sometimes we envy you, but that’s why we stay in shape right now. One day the kids will be gone and you’ll see this ninety year old woman dragging her husband to some crazy spontaneous places/outings. I’ll make him do all the things we couldn’t do now and we’ll have an amazing time. To my friends without kids, have a blast, enjoy every second you can. I may envy you today but it makes me so happy to see you living life to the fullest!