Preteens Outgrowing Parents
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know when your kids have outgrown Mom and Dad. This preteen or early-teenage ailment can come on gradually, or it can suddenly slap you in the face. One day you are the "bee's knees," and your child wants you involved in every facet of his or her life. Your opinion is everything. The next day, you are unfit company to be seen with, and your opinion equals nothing for all the credence it is given by your child.
The first inkling I had that I was about to become an "undesirable" occurred one morning when I planned to go into the school to speak with my daughter's teacher. As we pulled into a parking space, my daughter said, "Mom, you just sit here in the car until I get inside the door, then you can come in!"
Since I was used to dealing with her idiosyncrasies, I didn't get bent out of shape. The question, "What is going on?" did flit through my mind. Only a week earlier she had refused to go into a convenience store to purchase a soda unless I accompanied her. My inclination was to answer, "OK, but what about these kids watching you get out of the car with me? Perhaps you think I'm invisible and they don't see me in the same car you are departing?"
I held my tongue since I would have been speaking to her back anyway. She was out of the car and gone by the time I finished the thought. Besides, I wasn't craving a morning walk. Had she realized those children did notice us getting out of the same car, she would have insisted I drive around the block and park so as not to be seen with me.
Don't make the mistake of thinking your child is immune to this affliction. I assure you; it will surface – probably when you least expect it. You may first notice something as simple as your daughter slipping into another checkout line to pay for her pack of gum or walking 15 paces ahead of or behind you as you push your grocery buggy to the car. Heaven help you if you buy a bra or any other unmentionables and expect her to walk through the checkout line with you. In that instance, you may have to pick her up a block from the store.
My sister received her comeuppance at a movie theatre. Her daughter was allowed to invite a girlfriend along to watch a movie they had been dying to see. We all know how expensive concessions are at the movies, so Sis treated the girls to a cold soda and bought a large container of popcorn to share amongst the three of them. It wasn't clear whether it was the embarrassment of the huge container of popcorn or simply being seen sitting with a mom, but the girls decided to forgo the popcorn and not sit with Mom. Mom sat alone, kept company only by a container of popcorn almost as large as she.
Yes, that sweet child of yours, who just yesterday kissed you goodbye in front of the school building and all her friends, will lay you low with sudden public rejection. Conversations will become punctuated by sighs and the rolling of eyes. Your choice of clothing will be scrutinized and commented on as never before.
If you need further information concerning this matter, you need look no further than anyone you know who has ever parented an adolescent. They'll tell you what to do. You can choose to be hurt and cry for the loss of the sweet stages of childhood, or you can think back to those days when you were that age.
I chose to embrace the changeling that is trying her wings and using me as a launch pad. After all, it's just a part of growing up – for her and for me.