We are blessed with two wonderful children. Both of whom entered puberty at roughly the same time. A boy and a girl. The same time. Puberty. Let that sink in. I’m still trying to! The potential for epic teenage drama is real.
You always hear someone glibly remark to new parents, “Children don’t come with a manual”. That may be true, but there are volumes of books written on the subject. From Doctor Spock, to William Sears, to every self-help guru hyping their latest cutting edge, never-before-seen, worked for thousands of clients, available for a limited, early-bird price of only $47, we’ve never had access to so much information about raising children.
As our children grow, we’ve had our moments of reaching for the “experts”; just maybe they’ll have some insight into this particular issue. And they always do, but it’s not necessarily the best insight for this particular event, for this particular child.
I think I need to enter this saturated self-help field of child rearing with my own book. It’ll be the shortest book ever written on the subject of raising children, and I certainly don’t expect to get rich with it. Especially since the next sentence I write will be the entirety of my sage wisdom.
You’ve just got to go with your gut.
I expect you all to e-transfer me $47 now.
Drama, According To Teens
Our kids could not be more different from one another. Or more alike. Zachary is very strong with tech; he loves being on his computer and gaming with friends. He particularly enjoys games that have rich, engaging stories. Zach plays D&D with a group of friends every week. If the game has great music with it, even better. Now he can sit down at the piano and learn all the music he hears in the games. Zach doesn’t really watch much tv, and rarely engages in family movie nights. Unless it’s Lord Of The Rings or something Tolkienesque. He enjoys going for family hikes.
Beth-Rose doesn’t care about gaming or computers. She loves to dance and spends most of her weekday after school and evenings in dance classes or helping out at the dance studio. Baking is also something Beth-Rose enjoys. We’ve had some lovely days together baking and making messes in the kitchen. She also loves hanging out with friends, and listening to music. Her favourite family activity is watching movies. If she never had to go on another family hike again, she’d be thrilled.
Teenage Drama Times Two
Both of our kids excel at drama. Sorry, I meant to say DRAMA!!! The benefit of hitting puberty at approximately the same time is weekly, Golden Globe worthy fits of brilliantly portrayed, character driven DRAMA! I’m not talking about Zachary’s high school improv group, or Beth-Rose’s Modern Stage performances at dance. No, these are performances of their own making, unscripted and unrehearsed. And always interactive. This, ladies and gentlemen, is teenage drama.
Now I realize I’m making light and poking fun. This is actually a challenging time for us as a family, and as parents. One is getting ready to head off to university next fall, and the other is a teenage girl! It’s easy to get caught up in the moment when your child is distraught over something their friend did or said. I tend to get angry and want to lash out at the person inflicting this emotional pain on my child. Perhaps not the best response during these moments. “Hey, don’t mess with my kid!” Maybe going with my gut isn’t such great advice…
A Boring Family Life
Actually I’m just messin’ with you. The fact is, our children create almost no drama. It’s true! Our kids are kind of boring when it comes to teenage drama. The teenage drama I mostly hear about is created by some of their friends and classmates. My daughter Beth-Rose talked about the annoying grade 8 kids during her first year of high school. And she was in grade 8! This seems to be a regular thing in their high school. The new students, the grade 8s, seem to have little regard for decorum once they reach high school. After all, they were the top dogs in grade 7 in their primary or middle schools. When they get into high school, they forget their place in the hierarchy.
My high school days were a little different. That was, after all, more than 45 years ago! (I couldn’t bring myself to write f@#ty years ago…) For me, my first year of high school was grade 7. The age difference in my school was five or six years between grade 7 and grade 11. So most of us in grade 7 tried our best to blend into the walls and disappear. The last thing we wanted to do was call attention to ourselves.
My Teenage Drama, 70s Style
High school in 1972 was so different from high school in 2022. First off, we had a minority Trudeau government in Ottawa. Okay, some things haven’t changed…
NASA astronauts drove a four-wheel drive on the moon! The Vietnam War was in full swing! The Watergate scandal was also in full swing! Canada beats the Soviets in the great Summit Series! Bobby Fischer beats Russian Boris Spassky to become World Chess Champion! (Some things really haven’t changed. Russia still seems to be losing!) And I had my first cigarette. (That Jimmie Marshall was such a bad influence…)
Our family experienced its fair share of teenage drama during those years. After all, my parents were dealing with two kids sharing the same birthday, becoming teenagers. Mom, Dad, wherever you are, I’m sorry!
I’m pretty sure I was a bit of a handful. My sister was probably an angel, so I had to take on some extra duties as the family shit disturber. And while I’d love to share some of my (mis)adventures with y’all here, I won’t. My kids read this. I don’t want to give them any ideas that they haven’t already tried.
Suffice to say, I was most definitely a pain in my parent’s backsides. I bristled under their rules, I chose not to listen to their lectures, and I constantly rebelled against their guidance. You can be sure I gave them nasty headaches.
No Reality Show Here
I’m so happy I have children who don’t share my experiences as a teenager growing up in the 70s. Now that’s not to say they don’t have drama. It’s just not quite as dramatic as some families experience. Their drama is more restrained, less melodrama. It tends more toward the modern stresses of today’s teens.
For Zachary, it’s the challenges of having enough time to do good work on his assignments and tests. Also dealing with his final year of high school and all that entails. That means leaving behind many of his friendships, moving into a new and completely unknown phase of his life. For Beth-Rose, it’s safely navigating the ins and outs of her circle of friends. I think she worries more about her friends than actually getting caught up in their drama. She tends to separate herself and walk away from the petty stuff.
In the 17 years of having and raising kids, I consider ourselves blessed. Our household has remained relatively sane. That’s not to say we haven’t experienced our share of chaos. I’d say that “chaos” is a given when you’re raising children. But the chaos has not been (mostly) accompanied by a truckload of drama. Granted, we have some years left. There’s still plenty of time for Beth-Rose to become more like me!
You could make up some shit about your kids. No one wants to read how blessed you are. Sheesh! Misery loves company. Come on. The least you could do is lie about your kids. Frazzledad my arse. More like Imsoluckydad.
Imsoluckydad…I like it!
But in all seriousness, I think I am lucky. I see some families and hear some stories and think, “My God, did we ever get off easy!”
Things could have turned out so differently, so I’ll be a bit smug, dammit!