Teens feeling Crowded

By Sandra Dodd on Thursday, January 20, 2000:

Like, by Mom and Dad? By Mom?
By the new and real knowledge that the house is small and the world is huge.

Baby birds have no idea what's outside that nest.

Young children will occasionally find some corner of the house, some closet or a wall surface that was always covered by furniture before and they are not surprised that there are parts of that house they had never seen before. The house is everything.

Teenagers know they are meant to get up and go out. They're not happy about it, sometimes, especially when their house is a haven of love and sweetness and creativity, but their instincts kick in anyway and their perspective changes, very literally, and that nest seems like just a little wad of sticks on one little branch of one of ten thousand trees. (Okay--there are billions of trees, but I don't think many thirteen year olds can conceive of millions or billions, and I'm after the vision of awareness, not overwhelming insignificance.)

Crowded by their new awarenesses and raging hormones and their relative size (their rooms and beds are getting smaller by the day) and their collections of stuffed animals and action figures and Lego.

archived original, about halfway down

Earlier in that conversation...

By Sandra Dodd (indented, below) on Tuesday, January 18, 2000 - 03:45 pm:

--**My main concern is my 13 yo.He has been extremely difficult lately.

--I'd like to hear this addressed, too. Things changed a lot for us when my son turned 13. Is this typical of 13yos?--
If by "13" you mean 11 to 16 depending on the child, I think YES.
--What are their "issues"?--
Fear? Growing awareness? Frustration?
--What are they struggling with?--
Brain growth.
--What is supposed to happen for them at this age?--
In what culture? In some times and places, they get scarred with ashes and a knife and circumcised and sent out to kill antelope. In some they are/were apprenticed out to evil coffin-builders or sent to work in stone quarries.

Define "supposed to."
--I feel lost in this area. I expect to be part of the solutions in his life, not part of the problems. Enlighten me, please. Thanks. --
I am not looking forward to the realities of what's coming in my life, but I firmly believe this: The same way a mother dog stands up and walks away from big, solid-food-eating puppies after a while and bites them if they keep following her, there is an instinct in parents that makes them think their tiny babies are perfect, beautiful and smell like angels, but which causes those same babies for which we would risk our lives entirely to kill a bug that might have gotten on them in their cribs to seem to us when they're older to be irritating, greasy-haired, stinky and not nearly so cute. (Okay, I'm speaking for myself and my own big greasy-haired kid, who lately has been taking at least one shower a day because he has his hair newly striped and there's this girl named Rowan...)

Instinct on the part of the child AND of the parents enables us to let the children mature and venture out without us dying of the loss of our perfect baby, and allows them to finally turn their backs on their mothers and walk beyond sight, beyond hearing, and beyond making it home for dinner.

I could be wrong, but that's what it seems like to me.


Stages and phases

Someone wrote:
As a new unschooler, I am working toward being less of a "helicopter parent" and more of a watch-from-a-distance parent...
Laurie Wolfrum responded:
While moving towards being calmer and more thoughtful is good, you don't have to think of yourself as any certain kind of parent to do so. It is good if something helps you think of how you can be a better parent. However, I would let go of trying to fit into any kind of label and *be* the responsible and thoughtful parent you wish to be for your child.

Children go through many stages and phases, some of which warrant our close presence and others which warrant our respectful distance. Don't let a label coax you into doing something you don't feel good about. Trust your gut and watch your kid for cues.
—Laurie Wolfrum

More of both those quotes:
photo by Holly Clark
Gold Coast Always Learning Live, 2014

Angst and frustration

More tales of teens

Links to pages about teens and older unschoolers