D turns thirteen soon. Yes, the dreaded teens are already here! Everywhere you look, you’re being advised to roll up your sleeves and brace for the storm. It’s going to be a rough ride, a long battle, and an absolutely terrible time. This letter I just read doesn’t make things any better!
However, the experience I’ve had so far makes me take all this with a huge pinch of salt. D has been a pleasure, a joy, and a delight in our lives. She has always been mature for her age, and I have always been able to talk her through things. I’ve been both parent and friend to her, making it clear when I am in what role. She’s comfortable and open with me, sharing almost everything. I say almost, because everyone has secrets, and I am OK with that. What’s important is that she’s comfortable opening up to me and sharing with me the major things happening in her life.
We’ve always tried to bring her up with certain basics, emphasizing the need to prioritize, to manage time, to put in a sincere effort, to celebrate the small things in life. We’ve also tried to stress that with freedom comes responsibility. And I’m glad to say that she’s pretty responsible. I can count on her to call me and let me know where she is, or come back home at the agreed time, or prioritize and complete all her tasks. Banning, forbidding, or taking away privileges has rarely worked; instead, a heart-to-heart talk, explaining with kindness the whys and wherefores and consequences has always worked.
I honestly don’t know whether hitting the technical age for becoming a teenager per se will change anything. I am hoping it doesn’t. I’m hoping we will continue to have the beautiful relationship we have right now. And I’m hoping the foundation we’ve laid is solid enough to maintain this.