Tuesday, July 31, 2007

There is nothing to fear but teenagers

Lately, I have been watching people - okay, please do not think I am complete freak - I have been watching the kids in our neighborhood. I am curious about them and here is why.

Basically, we moved into a neighborhood much like our old one - without many people who have kids our age. Total bummer because I was hoping to make some neighborhood "friends" but such is life. However, this neighborhood is different in various ways. The biggest one is that people actually take care of their homes but that is a whole other story all together. The second major difference is that there are a lot kids. Mostly in the pre-teen to teen grouping. I probably look like a total weirdo gawking at this pre-teen kids but I only gawk out of pure morbid curiosity and fear, frankly.

Why you ask? My three biggest fears about having children were as follows:

1.) Would I be able to parent a newborn baby (along with the whole process of being pregnant, giving birth and keeping sane during those early "newborn" baby months...) ?
CHECK. (Can I do it again is a whole other question we can address at a later date!)

2.) Can I be a patient, loving, kind, caring, and solid parent to a toddler?
SEMI CHECK. I am doing well although like all parents I have my moments and we are working through those both as parents and as a couple (wow, and let's admit too much but I have to say that parenting skills and working as a team in that regard has been the hardest thing for Kevin and I to tackle in our entire relationship!)

3.) What the hell am I going to do with a pre-teen/teenage (BOY, no less) child?

I fear that up coming event. I know, I know it is years away and why worry but I do. I wonder what it will be like. I wonder how I will deal with it all.

Alcohol, drugs, mean kids, peer pressure... the list goes on and on in my head... I worry and wonder "will I be strong enough to help guide my son to be a strong enough person to avoid that rot?" I was not a difficult child by any stretch - really I just had difficult circumstances to deal with (and as I have mentioned in the big scheme of things they were not so bad...) but I definitely had my moments.

I was caught cheating in school several times, I drank too early and too much and I did some... err other things as well. I was not a bad kid - I just did what all the other kids around me were doing. Some times I took it to the extreme more then others but mostly I just did that stuff because it was available, EVERYONE was doing it (scoff...) and there is no and that's it... I was also an athlete and I worked hard to be a decent athlete. I was ALSO an angry teen. My situation was sort of breeding ground for that at times. I never hurt anyone but me.

I think back then, back in the late 80s and early 90s, life was different then it is now for kids. Kids are SO much more savvy then I was at any given time in my childhood to teen years. Kids of all ages now have cell phones, iPods, computers, high tech video games and mass quantities of TV and mass media.

I see kids today and I see them as more mature then I ever felt at 10-12-15... - sometimes they look/act more mature then I feel even today at 33! Ha! But seriously, I wonder how it will be years from now when Matthew is a young person. When I will have less "control" over what he watches, eats and does. I am loving every minute of this time because I know that will not always be the case but that also scares me.

I want Matthew to be a respectful, strong, well rounded, intellectual person. Some times getting to be that person may take Matthew down different paths than I may envison. As parents, we can only offer the seemingly right paths in life but as we all know those paths are not the ones taken. At the end of the day, I know I need to just let go of my overwhelming fear for my son and trust. Trust myself, trust Kevin, trust our parenting skills, trust that Matthew will eventually choose a good path for himself... that life will go accordingly for him.

I am learning and watching and hoping that those neighborhood kids will prove to me that the far off preteen/teen years will not be so bad from a parenting perspective. That Matthew will be all of the wonderful above mentioned things and more. And I watch...

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