Mary Dell writes: The weather took a nosedive during Memorial Day Weekend. Tropical Storm Beryl was the uninvited guest at our family get-away during the short overlap of our college and high school kids’ impossible schedules. By day two, high wind and torrential rain put the kabash on outdoor activities and we were under house arrest; soon we would be weathering a storm. While my husband fretted about broken tree limbs and flooding, I grabbed the laptop, as my inspiration was in the room next door- our two children (21,16) who sweetly slumbered through the worst of the morning deluge.
How Weathering a Storm and Parenting Teenagers Feels the Same:
1. The anticipation was much worse than Beryl herself. From my vantage point, as a nearly empty nester, I can say the same thing about parenting teens. The National Weather Service, with their interactive storm trackers, issues unending warnings. Similarly, when you are a mom of young kids, the drum beats of parenting advice for the “scary” teen years become louder and louder the closer your child is to thirteen.
2. From behind slammed doors, “You are the worst parent. I hate you. You don’t know anything!” Our voices climb in escalating shouting matches. Sound like anything that happens at your house? Congratulations on having your very own personal parenting squall.
3. Sometimes terrible storms cause terrible damage. A torn ACL before football season, class officer election lost to best friend – disappointments add drama to the teen years. We were lucky with Beryl and extremely fortunate with our children – they are healthy and their setbacks have given them perspective, not robbed them of opportunities.
4. Trees, giant, sturdy trees, sway unbelievably yet (most) remain upright. Once the blue skies return, there they are standing, quite still. When hormonal surges take over your home, try to think about those trees. Consider their almost contradictory qualities of strength and flexibility the next time you are faced with a totally out of control teen (or you find you are behaving like a totally out of control parent.)
5. The sun eventually emerges, sometimes in a shockingly beautiful way. Teenagers do not grow up along a straight line; there are fits and starts from adolescence to adulthood. They move from infuriating cold to cuddly cute, as the storm passes.