Living through teenage drama without loosing your sanity
I like to compare teenagers to two-year olds because the very same dynamic is unfolding, only this time it is a stressful transition from childhood to adulthood that requires many years to complete. I read somewhere that 25 is the age that young adults finally get an adult brain! In our family, we actually celebrate that birthday and welcome our offspring into full adulthood.
Teens are adjusting to their rapidly changing bodies. Sometimes teenagers, boys especially like to prove their new-found strength. David loved to come behind me in the kitchen and with a huge grin on his face pick me up and swing me around or even turn me upside down!.
“Oh well”, I’d think to myself, “This too will pass, this too will pass.”
It did take a couple of teens to break my husband and me in, but bythe time our fourth kid turned 13, we understood that it was pointless to overreact. One of my sons , in his early teens, had just announced that he could not stand living under our roof another minute,
“I’m out of here!”, he bellowed, “and don’t expect me to come back!”
The door slammed and he tore off on his ten speed bike. Of course my father was visiting and witnessed this dramatic episode. After a few minutes
Dad turned to my husband and wondered,
" Aren’t you going to go after him?”
Michael calmly kept reading, then looked up and explained,
“Oh, I’m not worried. The only place near enough to bike to is one of his buddy’s and they don’t feed kids over there. He’ll be back when he is hungry enough.”
Sure enough, hunger brought my son home late that night. We did not need to pronounce any ultimatums because the recognition that he still needed to live at home and attempt to get along with our rules was humiliating enough. No need to rub his face in the facts.Teenagers are often humiliated by their mistakes in judgment so they relish the opportunity to catch us in the wrong.
For example, Michael’s usual response to swearing, disrespect or a poor attitude was,
“Leave that sort of stuff at school!”
One evening at the dinner table on a Sunday, Michael yelled in anger at the dog. David had just filled his plate and was coming back to the table. He leaned over, looked at his dad and with a twinkle in his eye and a huge grin on his face said ,
“Leave that sort of stuff at church, eh Dad!”
Michael snapped out of his bad mood and had to smile. The kid was right. David’s humour diffused the situation and Michael was the one who had to apologize this time.
Teenagers love to rile their parents, to flaunt rules and standards in a blind wish to figure out who they are in and of themselves. If I remember this fact, I don’t overreact to obnoxious behaviour or crazy fashions. As parents, we are often counselled to choose our battles with our children and refrain from forbidding all crazy fashion experiments. About 90% of the time, I have to admit that some disagreements, with my teens especially, were not worth fighting over and as the most mature person in the equation, I should probably acquiesce as gracefully as possible.
Ah, this too will pass. Just don’t fall off your chair at the dinner table when one of your young adults turns to you and asks how your day went!
“What day is it?” It’s today,” squeaked Piglet. My favorite day,” said Pooh.”
Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne is a children’s classic, that can be enjoyed by all ages. Interestingly, Milne didn’t write the Pooh stories and poems for children but instead intended them for the child within us. So if this book wasn’t in your childhood, don’t dismiss it.
This book follows Winnie the Pooh and his friends on their adventures through the Hundred Acre Woods. Winnie, Piglet and all the other friends in the 100 Acre Wood are great because everyone has some sort of problem. Pooh is painfully naïve, Piglet is neurotic, Owl is a narcissist, Eeyore has major depression, Tigger is hyperactive, Rabbit is a sociopath. It’s good for kids to learn that pretty much anyone you meet will have some sort of major problem.
Pooh embraces each day with enthusiasm and joy, savoring each moment as he lives in the present, simply connecting with nature and his friends. Adults spend decades meditating to come to this state of being. So read and enjoy these whimsical quotes and delightful drawings by A.A. Milnes and allow his philosophy to seep into your heart.
Humor is infectious, especially roaring laughter. Not only that, when laughter is shared, it brings people together by breaking down social barriers, self-consciousness and facilitates intimacy. It triggers healthy physical changes in the body by strengthening our immune system, boosting energy, diminishing pain and stress.
“Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.”
~ Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D.
Yep, laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict.
Humor lightens our burdens, inspires hope and keeps us in reality.
How many Myers Women does it take to drive a car in my mum’s home town?
My sister clutching the wheel, drives in circles until she can find a parking spot where she can drive straight through to the next row. She refuses to back out of a parking space. She constantly asks,
“But, Mum, I need a street name or at least an idea of how far up this street I have to go.”
My 80-year old mother checking for traffic.
”Emily, Emily, watch out! A car is coming!”
And finally me in the back seat with a map because my mother never learned the street names.
“But Mum, is it east or west? Do you at least remember the first letter of the street name.?”
Cows look dumb and lumber slowly but believe it or not, they are extremely curious. One day as a child, my sister,cousin and I sat on the edge of a stream to eat a picnic, realizing to late that a herd of cattle surrounded us on three sides to get a closer look at us. My heart was pounding as we gathered up our lunch, huddled closely together and facing the cattle, slowly edged away. I swear those steers followed us every step of the way, never taking their eyes off us. It was an eerie experience, the stuff of nightmares.
The old saying “curiosity killed the cat, should really say ” curiosity killed the cow”. Cows, calves and steers must be extremely bored because they generally investigate any foreign object or creature which finds itself in their domain. Unfortunately cattle explore small creatures by nudging them with their noses. This is a stupid habit when investigating a porcupine.
After encountering a porcupine, our poor calf couldn’t eat because he had thirty of forty long, barbed quills embedded in his nose. A dog can be held down, but a 1,000 lb. calf is not as easy to restrain. We tried, ropes and all our kids to hem him in but it was completely ineffective. Finally my husband opened one gate and pinned the calf in by swinging the gate back against the fence. Several kids pushed against the gate , two others pulled on ropes near his head and Michael attempted to pull out the quills. It was an exercise in futility as the calf was still able to toss and shake his head in pain. The only thing that brought him relief was when we pushed his nose into the huge tank of cold water in the corral.
Finally we admitted defeat and called the local large animal vet. Of course she tranquilized him, froze his nose and pulled the quills out effortlessly, though kids still pushed all their weight against the restraining gate and pulled on ropes while Michael held him in a head lock. Luckily the vet was so amused by our kids theatrics and comments that she gave us a discount.
My husband and a rather eccentric friend had driven up to the Quebec side, in the Canadian Shield, to fish in one of the thousands of lakes which surround us. Driving home in the twilight they inadvertently drove over a porcupine. Now Michael and his friend P.J. had lived in the wilderness for a few months after university, surviving on fish, an old turtle, rice and coffee. Never one to waste good organic meat, P.J. immediately yelled,
” Mike, pull over. Porcupine is good eating.”
This was the opportunity of a lifetime. Porcupines are protected because they are easy to kill if a man is lost in the woods, simply bop him on the nose and this waddling lazy animal provides a delicious, tender meal.The two survivalists decided to nail this road kill to a tree so they could skin and gut him without injury. They arrived home chuckling over their good fortune, still debating the best way to cook the tender meat. Finally, they decided to stuff the meat with a bread, onion, garlic and herbs and wrap it in bacon.
Suddenly a wicked idea popped into my head,
” John is coming over for dinner tomorrow. He is so conservative but loves to act artistic and sophisticated. What if I served roasted porcupine?”
P.J. burst out laughing,
” And don’t say a thing until he has eaten at least half of his meal. I would love to see the look on his face!”
The following evening John arrived wearing a tweed jacket with his shirt collar and cuffs pulled up over it, a scarf casually draped around his neck and a jaunty beret. Michael and I secretly smiled at each other as he raved over the delicious meal. Smiling mischievously I casually remarked,
“John, did you know that you are actually eating porcupine?”
He froze, fork held in mid-air with a brief look of horror on his face,
“Mel, you are joking, right?”
“Not at all”, I replied, “Since you are so very cosmopolitan, I just knew you would enjoy something exotic.”
John smiled weakly, nodded and then slowly lowered his fork. He did not eat another bite of his meat.