We all know that parenting can be a challenge. We seek the advice of those who have traveled the journey before us. We look to experts to guide us.
When my kids were babies, I read all the books I could find. I followed blogs. I sought information wherever available, and adapted what would work for my own family.
Something happened part way through this journey that I did not expect, the list of resources became bare.
It is much harder to find guidance on navigating the teenage years than it is about potty training.
Add in a divorce, and I was just lost.
I have searched for information, guidance, even opinions about what to expect when navigating the older kid and teen years while balancing the blended family. Let’s just say there is not a lot to go on.
Navigating the teen years is such a unique challenge. This generation faces issues daily that we as their parents never even thought of.
Yes, they have the power of Google in their pockets, and that makes research a bit easier.
There was never a day that I went to school and was afraid.
When I hopped off the school bus at the end of the day, I left my school bully behind for the day, she did not follow me home.
With school shootings as part of the regular conversation, our kids have experienced fear.
Along with all of the benefits of technology and social media, our kids experience bullying in a way that we never fathomed.
Personally, I cannot imagine being a teenager in 2018. I was awkward enough navigating my teens, without the extra pressure of being cool enough for social media.
We need help, we need guidance, we need to know that we are not alone.
There is a fine line when talking about teens.
They are individuals in adult-sized bodies, with personalities all their own.
I was reading somewhere the other day that along the way the narrative about their lives becomes theirs and no longer ours to tell. I loved the way that was worded.
As parents, we must walk that fine line between acknowledging their personal space and not be oversharing their personal information and the need to know that we are not alone in this.
It is vitally important to know that there are other parents, great parents, who have had children struggle with bullying (on both sides), pornography, sexting, self-esteem issues, sexuality, academic pressure, social pressures, and so much more.
This is why the resources are so limited. What parent wants to publicize that their student/child is struggling in any of these, or any number of other issues?
I am not sure what the answer is in this scenario. I certainly am not planning to lay out each of my kids’ struggles for the world to see, though I am wondering if there is a better way.
Most importantly, we need to know that we as parents are not alone. Our kids need to know that they are not alone in their struggles.
The fear of being alone is almost worse than the actual problem.