Handbook for me

I am now a mother of three teenagers. When I became a mom, this is the period I was worried about the most. I was a horrible/reckless teenager and it is nothing but a miracle that I am still alive and as any other mother, I didn’t want my children to go through what I went through. After all it is my duty to protect my children ( from making the same mistakes I did)

Oddly, the time I dreaded the most has now turned to be the time I am having the best time. It is peaceful, filled with laughter and joy.

My solution to a hassle free  time with teenagers is very simple. More respect and less restrictions.

If I have got away with every restrictions my mother placed on me, then there is nothing that stops my children from doing exactly the same ( may be better).

Digressing a bit. My son tells me that another Mallu student in his school has to show his laptop to his mother everyday for her inspection. She likes to know what he is doing. The kid has installed BossKey ( My son tried to explain to me what it is and shook his head eventually and called me a Noob), created multiple desktop ( not sure why) and also fragmented his hard drive. By now, you my readers know I am clueless when it comes to computers and have no idea what all this things are meant to do. From what I understand from my son is, even though the mother checks the laptop everyday, her son only shows her what he wants her to see.

I just don’t want my children  to go through all these hassles. I don’t check their laptops/phones etc. I respect their right to privacy.

I respect that they are mini adults and can make a decision on their own. They are in the process of learning about causes and reaction. Some of their decisions might not be the right ones, but hey, I screwed up more times than I can count. So much as I want to correct them, I don’t. Life is a good teacher.

I also have very few restrictions. They are allowed to go out with their friends, go for parties, concerts, movies etc. They tell me who they are going out with and when will get back home. Lately, Yaya goes out with her friends for parties on Friday nights and spend the night at one of her friend’s place. ( it was the best way we could come to a mutual agreement..she having to come back home before 10 pm rule) She then goes to work on Saturday morning from her friend’s place and I only see her in the evening. That means when she leaves for school on Friday morning, I don’t see her till Saturday evening. Initially it was really hard for me to accept that, but then I told myself..next year, I won’t see her at all, might as well get used to it.

I look forward to Saturday and Sunday night dinner that all three kids never miss. After dinner, we sit around a talk for a long time. They tell me about their dreams, their fears and I tell them the same thing “It is ok to be fearful, but do your best and all will be well”

I found this article in the paper and agree with it

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6 thoughts on “Handbook for me

  1. Sarah, my daughter is entering her teens and goes for sleepovers… As a person who was abused when young, i am really scared for her… but as a mother, who wants her kid to be strong and learn life her way, i don’t want her to miss out the happiness she gets from being with her friends… i try to get to know the family of her friends..i talk to her about safe and unsafe touch.. but still am worried till she gets back…

    • Anna: That worry will never leave you. I hate being a paranoid mother..yet every time my children come back home after a sleep over, I am walking on egg shells..scared..

  2. Hi Sarah
    One of my kids just became a teenager (though she has been acting like one for some time now). The thing that I find most difficult is the mood swings – I try to give some margin since their bodies are undergoing a lot of change plus it is a confusing time being in the no mans land between being a kid and turning into an an adult but it is like trying to walk on egg shells. I thought I was a “natural” when it comes to parenting but the beginning of teens for my kid has humbled me!

    • Goutham: A friend told me this story. She and her partner are professors and their house is a typical academic family with not much of strife. One evening she cooked dinner and called everyone to come for dinner. Her husband and two older boys started to eat and her daughter who was 13 burst out in to tears because they were having green beans for dinner !!! Every time my children have mood swings, I tell myself.. “green beans”

  3. Your children will be like your soulmate if you keep like this.

    I totally agree with this kind of parenting method. I so wish I had it like..I think my brother and I would have been better, but as usual we have the typical Asian parenting..controlling, lambasted that we are spoiled, sort of like “tiger parent”. My dad is usually calm and easy though..strict when he has to be, which is a good thing and does limit boundaries (he’ll let us go places, but with a curfew..I think that’s ideal parenting, few restrictions but setting limits.

    And about making mistakes. I agree. It’s the only way you’ll learn from them and should go through the experience, though it may be painful. Trying to shelter your kids and preventing them from making mistakes does really no good. Learned that way, made me better.

    It’s good you realize this..being overprotective, obsessive is a recipe for disaster. Very common in many Asian-American kids.

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