Knight in The Not So Shiny Armor
Raising a child is something many adults in this world will have either the obligation, or privilege of doing. Many have already experience the stage known as the "Terrible Two's" but that phase seems like child play when it comes the "Terrifying Teens" phase. Dealing with hormones, puberty, independence, drinking and drug issues, bullying and schoolwork, self-image issues, etc. Not many people jump of excitement with the sound of that roller coaster ride. Adults for generations have been looking for the cure, or the map to the light at the end of this antsy tunnel.
So many of these issues only have one real fix, and that is patience. Parents put your swords and shields down. Put down your defense, they do not need another source of exhaustion in their lives. What they need is a shoulder, a tissue to cry into. This world is hard enough, family and friends are the only things they have during the day too keep them from losing their sanity. And yes it is hard because you know they will make it through this, but they aren't able to see many of the struggles that are not already in front of them. Now I am not saying that these issues are going to be fun, and some of them you literally have no control over. Hormones, those little devils pecking at their minds and hearts. Its physiological and no scientist in the world can stop it, but what you can do, is make it a little easier. Know that every time you say no, they feel restricted and want to break out. I am not endorsing you just let go, obviously step in if you see reckless behavior. But no that most kids are going to experiment.
Drugs and alcohol, ask yourself when you had your first drink? When did you start experimenting? Whatever that answer is, most likely is around the age you are dealing with right now. Now do not let it get out of control, something my parents did to control this, was talk. Ask questions. So many people thought what I am about to say crazy, but my mom told my sister and I that if we felt we needed to drink or smoke that she would rather us try it in the house. See what they did there, that was not a no. It was, if you feel you need to do this, we will not get mad if you just do it at home. Its safer that way. You come off as more understanding and accepting, rather than a prison guard trying to keep them away from "fun". I was reading some articles on http://www.michaelshouse.com/popular-drugs-region/ that show you some things to look out for with drug use and their code names. Because rarely will you hear, “Mom, Dad I’m going to my friends house to do weed!” No. You probably won’t hear any explicit drug talk, but you could hear words like blaze or roll. Both of which are referencing a drug.
Parents, love them. Tell them everyday how beautiful they are to you. How perfect they are, how amazing they look just everyday. Body issues are are too fix but pretty easy too avoid. Girls and boys suffer with this, so please if you only have boys do not discount this. All sexes suffer with trying too look like the models and celebrities on the magazine covers. Show them and prove to them that beauty is not on a piece of paper, but its in their eyes, their hearts. Emphasize that what is attractive is somebody that has an education, somebody that can be intellectual. And that no matter what anybody says, the pressure too be skinny and perfect is only as difficult and real as you make it. Beauty is not what the media shows off. Start this now if you have young children, I can say because of personal experience that not enforcing this at a young age can cause life damages not even therapy can fix.
So many children are bullied for how they look or act, but explain that everybody is different and that it is never ever okay to bully somebody. Children become suicidal because of bullying. In this generation bullying is not just at school now it follows them home. Social media is the biggest monster to this. Allow your kids to have social media accounts, but this may be something you want to monitor a little bit because online bullying can drive any sane person off the edge, hypothetically and literally. Do not discount them if they say somebody was mean to them at school. Get close with their teachers, be known around the school campuses. If your child comes home and says somebody was mean, chances are that is not the first occurrence and needs to be resolved immediately. A way to make bullying a little easier, teach them from a young age to just ignore it, raise them tough.
Parents you may never be the knight in shining armor for sons and/or daughters, but you can make coming home a little easier. Do not push them too talk to you, but open up the communication too them and show them you care more about their well-being than their school because right now that is the most important part of their life. Being able to talk to you, because middle school is hard, but high school is the make or break times and the more they can talk about it now the easier.