Does your teen make a plan with you and then ditch you for her friends?
Does your teen say hurtful things to you?
Does your teen squirm away when you try to be physically affectionate?
Even the nicest teens say mean things.
I remember looking at a photo of my Mom when she was a young woman wearing plaid bellbottoms, and I said, “Did you actually think you looked GOOD back then?”
Ouch! Sorry, Mom.
Few things are as wondrous as the pure stream of consciousness conversational style of a five year old. It is a brilliant age where they have the speech and cognitive skills to have some very clear insights into the world around them.
There is almost no post-processing of their thoughts. There is no editor, no self-depreciation and no shame. It is marvellous.
As a parent I always ride that thin line between teaching values, of politeness and social graces, and allowing free expression of thought and emotion.
I have heard it often said that we are most ourselves when we are three, before the societal lessons have taken root and we edit our behaviour to fit in with the crowd. In someways I feel that to be true, but I also think it can mislead people on a spiritual/self-development quest.
Life with others is a balance between meeting the needs of the group and meeting the needs of the individual. Both are necessary and adaptive. We rely on others for protection, support and nurturance. The life of a hermit is not a very appealing option. Somehow we have to seek harmony with a select group of loved ones.
We also need individual expression. We need to be ourselves and have the freedom to choose some basic aspects of our lives.
What I am finding is that there is great joy in discovering that magic balance point for myself. I need more freedom and autonomy than most. But I also crave connection and harmony. I find outer harmony easily, the second I turn inward and find it within.
So I have begun to step away from praising 3 or 4 or 5 as the ideal age, and I have begun to embrace the wisdom of experience mixed with the enthusiasm of youth. There is no right age to be. There is only right now.