Friday, July 16, 2010

Parenting across the ages

It has dawned on me that I am currently in the midst of a parenting rarity. I have to concern myself with the worries of two teenage girls, one 7 year old boy, and a soon to be one month old baby. My girls are at the ages where I am worried about them making the wrong decisions or getting mixed in with the wrong crowd as they begin their high school careers. Meanwhile I have all of the worries that come along with having a newborn; will he continue to be healthy, sleep at night and be a happy baby are among the big ones right now. Finally we have Jay who is sort of in the middle. Our biggest concern with him is that he doesn’t end up falling out of a tree lol.

Parenting is a hard gig and every child that you add increases your level of stress exponentially. Having kids in three distinct age groups gives me a great chance to appreciate what each age means to a parent. Babies are completely reliant on you (duh) for everything. When they are awake you need to be 100% on your game and ready to change a shitty diaper or feed them at almost any moment. A seven year old relies on you for bigger things, like getting a hot lunch together for them or listening to their stories that tend to last for 45 minutes and are about as full of fantasy as George Bush’s victory speech on that boat in Iraq.

This brings me to the teenage girls. First let me explain that I love these two girls and would do anything for either of them. I don’t want you to feel as though all I do is complain about them however this gives me a chance to vent and hopefully prepare you other parents for what is coming your way. Anyway, you would think that the age group where they can do things on their own; like go to the bathroom, make something to eat and wash their own laundry would be the easiest to handle however this is far from the truth. See the problem with kids this age is that they are also old enough to realize what they want you to know about them and what they don’t want you to know and try their best to make sure these categories don’t get crossed. There is a delicate balancing act going on between teens and their parents that is seemingly never ending. On one side, as a parent you tell your children to come to with everything and that they should feel comfortable telling you anything but sometimes it is hard to do that when they say or do something that is completely against everything you hoped for them.

Parenting is not for the faint hearted and I caution anyone who is thinking of becoming a parent who has a heart condition, a nervous disorder, a brain or a social life that you must prepare yourself for anything and everything.

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