Wendy Mogel for MSNBC's TODAYMoms: Your teen is no teacup. If you want to hold on, let go

November 14th, 2011

By, Wendy Mogel
November 14, 2011

Exposing small children to lots of environments isn’t terribly scary because we’re right beside them holding their hands, scanning the surroundings for any danger. But once they become teenagers — so reckless, so dopey, so sleepy — it’s much more challenging.

Last week, the mother of a 13-year-old boy told me that she enjoyed my book, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, but hasn’t been able to bring herself to read The Blessing of a B Minus. She said:

Lucas must get A’s. And he’s not much of a student so I help him with his homework for at least two hours every night. I have your book on my night table but I can’t open it. It’s the title. It makes me want to throw-up.

A teen we interviewed for TODAY said her mom’s top three fears are “me learning to drive, choking, and me being abducted. And somehow she ties everything into those three issues.”

Other teens complain that their parents demand that they text them at every turn. When you get to the party…when you leave the party…when you arrive home if I’m already asleep so if I wake up in the night I can check to see that you got home safely.

Some tell me they can’t win in communicating with their parents: If I don’t tell them stuff they seem sad, or betrayed or imagine the worst, but if I do they overreact and want to take over.

I’m starting to think that the most loving, intelligent parents wish their children would just skip adolescence entirely, that our world is just too dangerous and competitive to chance any risky moves. They pray that their child will go from pleasant, diligent third-grader to junior statesman with no experimentation or mistakes or the possibility of blemishes on the high school transcripts in between.

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