Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Does it ever change?

Exams, girlfriend, social life and being 15 don't exactly fall at the right time together.

Mother - "Revision and school work have to be just as much a priority as the other more exciting aspects of being 15"
Teenager - "Yeah I know" (thinks maybe if I just shut my eyes she will disappear)

Mother - "You need to revise properly"
Teenager - "yes mum I know, I am" (still closing eyes in the hope of mother vanishing)

Mother - "That's it ! I'm not happy with this - Rant Rant Rant Rant"
Teenager - "You don't understand, its not the same as when you were at school you know " (eyes now open and mother is still very much in his face and ears now)

Threats about grounding, social time, etc etc etc follow with much upset on both sides. 
It is, once again,  the day before a major exam and who is more panicked,  mother or teenager one asks?

So what is the answer?
Actually, as parents we know exactly how it feels to be 15 (we weren't born looking like this you know), and how it feels so hard to find the time, energy or willpower to work all day at school and then come home and be expected to work again for a few more hours.
Unfortunately, we also know how it feels to be struggling with life and choices after leaving school, and we know that these struggles make school days feel like a walk in the park.

How do we help, encourage and motivate our precious children without making them feel like they are drowning in orders from others? How do we help them to make the right choices willingly? Is it even possible?
Can they ever realise that we want them to do the best they can, that's all, nothing more, just to try their hardest at whatever they choose to do in life and then they will succeed.

I for one, believe in helping in whatever way I can. I will give up my time to revise with my child, I will help him to manage his time effectively so he can fit in the just as important social life as well as the schoolwork, and I will do whatever I can to encourage self motivation.
But, this comes with a challenge.
The challenge is finding the way to do all this while maintaining a relationship which doesn't feel like a war zone.
Finding a way to make our children feel supported and encouraged without feeling battered and nagged to death.
Finding a way to help them fit in their social relationships without it being at the expense of schoolwork and revision, because we know that their personal relationships are just as important to them and to their maturing.
Finding the way to let them know and believe that we actualy do understand, and we do remember the feelings they are having now and that we can be more than just a nagging in their ears.
Finding a way to accept that they don't want us to do these things now, but hopefully will be grateful that we did, at some point in their future.

I have no idea if what I do is the right thing or not. I do know that I try to listen to my son and I feel very lucky that we actually do talk a lot about most stuff. I know I can't just sit back and let him fail by not even trying, and I hope that one day, when he is doing something great in life which makes him happy, he will remember how it was and smile.
Smile, when he is a parent and my grandchildren are saying "you dont understand Dad, its different today than when you were at school".

Same Stuff, Different Day ---- many years on.

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