Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Oh, yeah, She's in High School Now

For the most part, she's doing great. I'm saying that mostly for me, because I need to remember, overall, she's still a good kid.

I'd been warned by my good friend (and educator), 9th and 10th grade were going to feel a lot like 6th and 7th. Sylvia and I would find ourselves on opposite sides again much more often. I knew it was coming, I just hoped it would take longer than a week or so to get there.

Our schedule has been hectic, and that hasn't helped. I've had rehearsal almost every school night, which leads to a lot of running around, and long nights for the girls.

They both put up with it quite well. They both get their homework done, they're very well-behaved during rehearsals, and it's kind of nice to have them there so that we can talk about it together on the way home. They've been nothing but supportive about me doing this show.

It was the one night I didn't have rehearsal that things were less than peaceful, and the 9th grade behavior made its appearance. Rehearsal would've been less exhausting. It put us on edge for a few days, and just as we were making our way back to the nice amicable relationship we've mostly been enjoying, she was a half-hour late meeting me after her get-together with her friends.

I've given her consequences for both occasions. While I know I'm supposed to pick my battles as a parent, I don't take lightly to being treated with such disrespect, which was the main issue for me both times. Having said that, I can't say for certainty that the crimes were equal to the punishments because I don't think my intentions behind them were right.

What I want to be able to do is make this a non-issue. When I step back, I realize that's next to impossible. Was I completely respectful to my parents when I was a teenager? (Mom, Dad, I totally know you're laughing. At least, 20 years later, I'll be able to laugh about this, too, right?) No, I wasn't. Did one or two punishments mean I never did it again? No, it didn't.

Still, I have plenty of good family memories from that time. While I wasn't a perfect child, I certainly could've been a lot worse. And my parents were strict, but still allowed me to do the things that meant the most to me. I was never really grounded. I just had privileges taken away from time to time, which is the same route I'm taking with Sylvia.

She's going to make mistakes. Every 13-year-old does. Sometimes, I'll have to step back and let the natural consequences take their course; sometimes, I'll have to step in and guide her away from straying too far down the wrong path. I can almost guarantee that she will roll her eyes at me at least once a day, and for the most part, I can accept that. At the same time, I can't let her walk all over me, either.

Inevitably, it comes down to that balancing act. The goal, I guess, is to keep being able to say that overall, she's still a pretty good kid.


Tara R. said...

In the end, Sylvia will appreciate that you set boundaries and were consistent with your discipline. Terrible Twos have nothing on the Traumatic Teens. Good luck to you both navigating this new phase in your lives.

Missy June said...

I'm so not good with balancing acts! Ugh! I think you're doing great and it's wise to acknowledge that perfection is unrealistic. R-E-S-P-E-C-T: How do we get them to treat us that way?

BigLittleWolf said...

Believe me, there's no way it's going to go without some bumps. That "overall" qualifier is a very wise (and useful) way to keep perspective.

13 and 14 are brutally tough ages. But you can do this. Deep breaths. The balancing. Putting yourself in her shoes.

9th grade is hard. Really hard. You're the new kid on the block again, the boys absolutely aren't as mature as the girls, you want your freedoms but you sense you aren't ready yet, and you have to learn / find your place all over again.

That includes testing limits and pushing buttons. With Dear Old (or not-so-old) Mom.

And when you're the only parent, you get all the crap, and it feels worse.

Pippi said...

Yeah... I'm feeling that way with Andy right now, and he's only six! But they say it comes pre-puberty for boys and during puberty for girls. I hope they're right.