Thursday, August 22, 2013

Can I Rebel Now?

challenging children, parenting a teen
I have had some of the best conversations with my daughter lately. She is 16 and has her eye on the future. A great deal of her online time has been in researching colleges and other institutions of learning about the dramatic arts. She has some rather grand plans for herself and I'm thrilled to see her efforts to learn more about what is available in the world. I'm not ready to dive head-first into the nearest cool-looking pool, but I'm willing to hang around a bit to see how the water is.

As a parent, I would have to describe myself as quite permissive. Several years ago, after lots of thinking, Jerry and I decided to allow the kids to say ANYTHING, to use any word at any time.

Yes you read that right. We were condoning the right to use of the F bomb, other crude language, denigrating words. Anything. With the understanding that they know that people do judge them (as well as judging us) for the words that come out of their mouths. We gave our permission to speak freely along with the knowledge that people learn a great deal about a person by what they say and how they say it. Our belief is that all of these choices and consequences of these choices are all opportunities to learn. 

If you decide to be this permissive you have to be prepared to hear some stuff come out of their mouths!!! A few words have stopped me in my tracks but I can honestly say that I wouldn't change our decisions in this area at all. We have many, many ongoing conversations about decisions that are made within this very permissive atmosphere.

Additionally, my daughter has come up against some very odd situations. She has found absolutely nothing that shocks me or that I don't want her to experience.

  • "Mom, I'm going goth!"  GREAT, I love the dark eyes, here's some eye shadow!
  • "Mom, I'm going to spike the drinks at my next party!"  HERE, try some vodka in your Coke to see if you really like it.
  • "Mom, I'm going to try pot."  HEY, I know someone who can make us some brownies, should I give him a call?
  • "Mom, I'm running away!HERE, you'll need a few bucks.
  • "Mom, I'm going to sneak out my bedroom window!"  You need to be in the front bedroom with the better windows then! 
  • "Mom, I'm wearing these fishnets!"  COOL, you look adorable!
  • "Mom, I'm going out with this twenty year old guy."   YAY, I've always liked him!
  • "Mom, seriously, fuck you!"  VERY appropriate use of that one! You're right, I sucked just now. Sorry about that.
  • "Mom, I like girls."  GOOD for you for coming out, Honey!
  • "Mom, I've decided to have sex."  OK, let's go get you some condoms.

Earlier today I was telling Elizabeth about writing this blog post and she laughingly reminded me Don't forget to mention the time you spiked my Coke!  Or how you try setting me up with boys!

I'm honestly not pulling the reverse psychology thing. It's just that I've lived a fairly colorful life and I feel that I have learned so much from my mistakes. And, in Elizabeth's favor, she has a mother around to bail her out, help her out, help her in any way, and mostly to process things with. I didn't. Also, I hope that she learns from this that she can be anything, do anything, go anywhere, and I will support her in any way I can. And I truly believe that all things are learning experiences. All behaviors are choices.

And I don't mind telling you, she hasn't run away, used alcohol or pot, become a lesbian (Not that there's anything wrong with that), sneaked out the window with boys, gone out in public in questionable clothing, or do much of anything without telling me first! I figure, when she really wants to rebel, she won't warn me first.

I guess nothing takes the fun out of "goth" 
like having your mom buy you cute tops and black eye liner.

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Are Homeschoolers Weird
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