I have learned that when lecturing your teenager on the importance of self-control, it's a good idea to maintain a little yourself. A tirade about self-control that includes none whatsoever is not effective and worse, makes you look ridiculous. And a teenager needs no help seeing his parents as ridiculous, so it's best not to give him any fact-based evidence to support that view.
My kids love the story their dad tells them about his Pop Warner football coach, who would come unglued at some player's mis-step, and then scream like a wild animal, with eyes bulging and arms flailing: "COMPOSURE! COMPOSURE! KEEP YOUR COMPOSURE!"
I'm learning just how much I do not want to be that coach. Oh, and also how hard that is.
I have learned to love the electronics that my kids obsess over so much. Oh, I still hate the 24-7 access they potentially have to pop culture, YouTube, Snoop Dog, questionable Facebook friends, stupid video games, shopping, and mind-numbing Disney sitcoms.
But I love, cherish, adore the well-placed threat of taking away the almighty iPod Touch if I don't get the behavior I want. It's magical, what a teenager will do when faced with the prospect of not being able to play his FIFA Soccer 2012 game, or not being able to take a silly picture of his dog, Obama-ize it, and make it his FB profile picture.
Oh, iPod Touch, I am learning to see you as a partner in this adventure called Parenting a Teenager!
I have learned what a hormone tidal wave-induced melt down looks like from the outside. Very informative!
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