Wanted: The Cure for a Disrespectful Teen
Does your teen need a dose of ‘act right’? Do you think a boarding school would help – you or them? One day on maternity leave I was taken way back in my childhood when a marathon of the television show, The Facts of Life, popped up on one of my TV channels. As a child it didn’t faze me that the main characters were in a boarding school. The fact that they were not with their parents was an afterthought. As a child I was more interested in the friendship between Tootie and Natalie or the bickering between Jo and Blair. Watching the Facts of Life reruns that day with my brand new baby I looked down and ran my fingers across their tiny toes and cute little squat nose and I couldn’t help but think who would want to send their child away to boarding school. Wouldn’t the parents miss the joys of preparing their teen for prom, listening to boyfriend trouble or providing encouragement for that much wanted spot on the varsity squad? Fourteen years later there is no judgment from me on those who send their children to boarding school. Believe you me, I get it (and I’m not talking privileged educational opportunities). Raising children is much like child birth to me, or even marriage. They are both experiences that you can read about, talk to others who have been where you’re going until you’re blue in the face, but until you have experienced it, you will never really know how much of a challenge it really can be. I have heard of the term ‘raging hormones and attitudes’ in reference to teenagers, but like most things related to raising children in general, parenting a teen is a major learning curve. For instance when my teen gives me that old ugly, disrespectful, “Whatever. You have no idea what you’re talking about. In fact I think that you’re stupid and you’re wasting my time’ look it is enough to make me want to go berserk - ready to pop like steam screaming from a tea pot. And sometimes I can’t help it. That one look conjures up the does she know, does she even have a clue questions in my head? Like does she know the amount of time her father and I spend parked in front of a cubicle or laptop to make sure there are enough groceries to fill her growing frame. In a much calmer state, I would know that the answer is no. But that look makes me want to yell, ‘boarding schools here we come!’ A study published last year claimed that yelling and cussing at children have the same effects as hitting. While this may be true, I must confess that it's hard to go Zen or conscious parenting when for weeks you've applied the type of patience exhibited by one ant trying to move an entire cookie to people who pay no bills and don't understand the meaning of sacrifice. A little teen parental wishful thinking on my part? Perhaps instead of boarding schools it would be nice if there was a stun gun available that could deliver a tranquilizer of respect, nothing that would cause any long term damage, just a shot straight to the bloodstream to deliver some lasting ‘act right’ in seconds.
Have you ever thought of sending your teen to boarding school?