Thankfully, our kids survived their teen years. So did David and I, though I know I aged more than he did. But I can still do a headstand and he can't, so there. Nail me for sexism, but I'm convinced we moms feel our kids' challenges more than dads. Everything from circumcision, to vaccinations, to teething, to leaving a tearful kid with a sitter, to friendship issues, to acne, to failed drivers' tests, to breakups, to college rejections and the rest.
We suffered while we were teens, and we moms are genetically predisposed to put ourselves through the wringer with each of our kids. How unfair is that? I have no solution, but I've told David that the next life time we're together, he gets to be the mom.
Since both our daughter and son are out in the world doing very well, thank you, I thought it might be fun (in a masochistic kinda way) to revisit some of my biggest worries during their teen years. Why? I'm bored. Not really, but I am creatively dodging some other work at the moment. Also, I decided to take up this exercise to prove to myself what a futile endeavor all that worrying turned out to be.
Stuff I Wish I Hadn't Bothered Worrying About
- How will my kid ever make it with his/her self-centered, obnoxious, overly dramatic attitude? Nobody but a parent would put up with this and even we can't take it!
- Who will ever want to live with my kid? You can't even walk in the room there's so much crap on the floor. And (s)he doesn't even seem to notice!
- How will my kid ever graduate high school? (S)he racks up more time talking to friends/playing video games/sleeping than there are hours in the day.
- How will my kid get through college? Assuming (s)he gets in somewhere. (S)he is a world class procrastinator who can't get anywhere on time.
- What if some driver on a cell phone runs a light and hits my kid while walking, riding his/her bike/driving to school?
- What if my kid feels pressured to do something that (s)he knows isn't right? Does my kid have what it takes to stick to their values?
- What if my kid gets (someone) pregnant?!
- How can I protect my kid when (s)he isn't right here with me all the time anymore?
I'm not saying these aren't significant even worthy issues for any parent to worry about. But I know for a fact that not one single moment of worrying on my part has ever prevented anything bad from happening to anyone I love. Nor has my worrying ever gotten anyone to shift their behavior or attitude into something more to my liking. It just doesn't work. It's an utter waste of time. An emotional and mental energy sink. Oh yeah, and it causes stress, aging and lactose intolerance. Not 100% sure about that last one, but you get the idea. No good comes from worrying. And yet . . . letting go of worrisome thoughts isn't easy. Especially for parents. Make that double for moms. Learning to do a headstand is way simpler.
And for my next trick . . . The Amazing Worry-free Mom.
About the Author
Annie Fox, M.Ed. is an award winning author, educator, and online adviser for parents and teens since 1997. Read excerpts from her books: The Teen Survival Guide to Dating & Relating, Too Stressed to Think? and the new Middle School ConfidentialTM series. Listen to her podcast series "Family Confidential: Secrets of Successful Parenting" at www.anniefox.com.
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