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The Uncharted Territory

Navigating the teen years.

My oldest daughter will turn 14 next month. I seem to be standing in the middle of a dark country road with the headlights of a fast moving car bearing down on me. The proverbial deer in headlights.

This new dawning era of the teen years is leaving me bewildered and confused, just like the teens. The teenager is trying to separate from the parent and establish their own identity, which is a good, but sometimes painful process.

No longer can I put my teen on the “time-out” stair. Instead I take away privileges, like sleepovers or videogames. I miss that control that I had when she was younger, when she never questioned me or my authority. Now I have to explain my decisions giving my reasoning behind them. This is a good thing, so she can see the rationale behind our parenting choices, but it can be tiring.

Another thing that is tiring are five extra teenage girls having a sleepover downstairs right under your bedroom. After the festivities of making homemade pizzas and filming a movie (for which they used my makeup without asking), I told the girls to put the lights out at 11 p.m., since I had to get up for work the next morning. At 1 a.m. I was woken by laughter and all the lights on. I stormed downstairs and turned out the lights and sneered “GOODNIGHT!" They were still sleeping when I left for work the next morning…grrr…

We HAD to go dress shopping at the mall for the semi-formal dance this Thursday night. Semi-Formal? Several dresses were tried on, and finally a selection was made – I had a $10 off coupon, but it still cost $50. And we still need shoes to go with it. I can’t wait until the prom and what that will cost. As they get older, their “toys” get more and more expensive.

I guess I’d better get my sea legs for this journey into teen hood, because I can’t stay seasick forever. Parenting isn’t for the faint of heart!

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