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Archive for the ‘teenagers’ Category

I have a teenager and a near-teenager and I’m going to say something really loud so it’s really clear: Parenting a teenager is the hardest, loneliest, most emotionally trying phase I’ve ever experienced as a mother, and by far puts the biggest strain on my marriage, and our family as a whole.

There. I said it.

And it’s LONELY. Did I mention that? Because there seems to be an expectation or idea that the kid is “already raised,” that they’re “done.” That since they can bathe and dress and feed themselves, parenting them isn’t as difficult as caring for a newborn.

Of course this isn’t Parenting Struggle Olympics, but I have to say, in my experience, newborns don’t have shit on teenagers. Okay, they may literally have shit, and newborns are physicallymore exhausting, but when it comes to emotional and mental toil, teenagers have proven significantly more trying than those tiny bundles of squishy milk breath.

And here’s why: Setting aside postpartum depression and anxiety, newborns are relatively simple. They’re difficult, but overall, kind of simple. They need clothing, holding, feeding, changing, bathing. It’s an incredible amount of work, but it’s a clean difficulty, a straightforward work, and if we surrender, and stop trying to control the little monsters every waking moment to FIT INTO OUR EXCEL SPREADSHEET OF BABY, we settle into a little groove.

And oh, they offer so much in return, and so immediately: Smiles, coos, new developments every damn week. Baby breath. Chubby thighs. Their little bottoms in the air when they sleep.Omg I want another baby.

And babies, well, they tend to not go for the jugular.

I can’t recall a single time my infant said a thing that touched my deepest insecurity as a parent, a personality trait I’m ashamed of, a real flaw I have that is suddenly being held against me by a human whose cell phone bill I pay for.

From “Why aren’t we talking about parenting teenagers. I’m lost AF” by renegademama. God, I really, really appreciated finding this post. I have been feeling so lonely as a mother of a teenager and have been trying to finish writing a piece about all this stuff for a while now… but, man, it is hard.

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“Raising a teenage daughter” by Elizabeth Weil with comments and corrections by her daughter, Hannah W Duane in The California Sunday Magazine.

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This is the most disturbing case I have ever read about sexting, and about the vulnerability of young people when police powers combine dangerously with the increasing power of technology.

“A teen sexting case revealed how judges let police invade children’s privacy” by Jay Schweikert in NBC News. 

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“Students who are told that things are fair implode pretty quickly in middle school as self-doubt hits them,” he said, “and they begin to blame themselves for problems they can’t control.”

Barrett’s personal observation is validated by a newly published study in the peer-reviewed journal Child Development that finds traditionally marginalized youth who grew up believing in the American ideal that hard work and perseverance naturally lead to success show a decline in self-esteem and an increase in risky behaviors during their middle-school years. The research is considered the first evidence linking preteens’ emotional and behavioral outcomes to their belief in meritocracy, the widely held assertion that individual merit is always rewarded.

“If you’re in an advantaged position in society, believing the system is fair and that everyone could just get ahead if they just tried hard enough doesn’t create any conflict for you … [you] can feel good about how [you] made it,” said Erin Godfrey, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor of applied psychology at New York University’s Steinhardt School. But for those marginalized by the system—economically, racially, and ethnically—believing the system is fair puts them in conflict with themselves and can have negative consequences.

If the system is fair, why am I seeing that everybody who has brown skin is in this kind of job? You’re having to think about that … like you’re not as good, or your social group isn’t as good,” Godfrey said. “That’s the piece … that I was trying to really get at [by studying] these kids.”

From “Why the myth of meritocracy hurts kids of color” by Melinda D. Anderson in The Atlantic. 

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Letting Go
– Fay Zwicky
Tell the truth of experience
they say they also
say you must let
go learn to let go
let your children
go
and they go
and you stay
letting them go
because you are obedient and
respect everyone’s freedom
to go and you stay
and you want to tell the truth
because you are yours truly
its obedient servant
but you can’t because
you’re feeling what you’re not
supposed to feel you have
let them go and go and
you can’t say what you feel
because they might read
this poem and feel guilty
and some post-modern hack
will back them up
and make you feel guilty
and stop feeling which is
post-modern and what
you’re meant to feel
so you don’t write a poem
you line up words in prose
inside a journal trapped
like a scorpion in a locked
drawer to be opened by
your children let go
after lived life and all the time
a great wave bursting
howls and rears and
you have to let go
or you’re gone you’re
gone gasping you
let go
till the next wave
towers crumbles
shreds you to lace—
When you wake
your spine is twisted
like a sea-bird
inspecting the sky,
stripped by lightning.

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Spend it on mental health, according to this very interesting policy research. In terms of government expenditure, it is both super cheap and leads to super impressive outcomes.

What gives you best future outcomes? Spending money on the mental health of mothers and schooling systems that focus on the emotional health of children (especially in high school).

(And I suspect some of the income inequality effects in this research are crowded out by work intensification lifestyle effects).

 

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Even airports are more relaxed on Sunday mornings. The place is full, but no one is running across from the carpark or pushing their way to the front of the queue.

‘Wish I was getting on a plane and going to Spain,’ I say.

‘Well,’ the mister says, ‘Come through Abu Dhabi on the way and we can go to Spain.’

‘Oh, no, I want to go alone.’

He laughs. It is a proper laugh and I wonder how he does it. How he loves a person who is so often absent, who so often retreats. It seems never to injure his love for me, never to bruise his heart.

Anyway, it isn’t true. I don’t want to go to Spain. The thought of that takes me by surprise, although the truth of it does not. It is time for me to be still. That’s why I’m here, isn’t it? That’s why I’ve moved back to Adelaide. To bury my roots in something more than sand.

From writer, Tracy Crisp in “Sunday” on her blog, naive psychologist.

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