The last several months I have been sharing my views and experiences during the critical shaping years (6-12), and some of my parenting philosophies before that. Each of them set the foundation for this upcoming segment of my blog - the teenage years.
In my book I separated the early teenage years (13-16) from the late teenage years (17-19) as the respective age brackets posed unique challenges.
That being stated, once you enter the teenage years, the foundation building phase is essentially over and we as parents embark on a new type of relationship. The competition dynamic during the teen years is unlike anything previously experienced for new parents. Though it may have been observed from afar as a counselor, friend, uncle or aunt; the realization of your own teen, in your home, with aspects of your personality, your spouses/other parents character (the parts you like and dislike) and whatever you have or have not instilled in them (i.e. their attitude, opinions, work ethic), is unlike anything else. All of the above manifests itself amidst whatever society (i.e. media, friends, peer pressure) imposes or influences that may be different than what you experienced before this point.
For some, the teenage years may be the most feared phase of upbringing for parents. The generational gap is most obvious during these years; and the differing views on priorities, responsibilities, communication, performance in school / athletics / activities and social norms, to name a few, become more pronounced. The relationship that seemed so strong in the pre-teen years becomes vastly different; and in more extreme situations, the bonds that were not built earlier in the parent-child relationship turn into a thick, black wall with no insights into the thoughts and desires of a seemingly reserved high school student. Further, multiple efforts to bridge these gaps seem to yield minimum tangible improvement; and ultimately, the parents decide to wait it out and hope that what was learned when they were single-digits will produce the desired success at twenty and twenty-one.
The above paragraph was pulled from my book and paints a daunting picture. But certainly does not have to be the scenario. I offer my experiences and insights attained from my active reflection throughout those years. I provide those in fair detail in my book, and will similarly share them in upcoming blog posts. If you have a teen, or will have one, I encourage you follow as some of the posts may be useful, and possibly help preclude the above situation in your household.