What Are Your Teens Teaching You? by Mara Shapiro from Momfaze
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~:: Mara Shapiro from Momfaze ::~
When we have babies, we wonder how we’re going to teach them everything they know. After all, kids are completely Tabula Rasa, blank slates. They come out of the womb with the instincts to survive- they know how to breathe, cry, pee, poop, and (hopefully) latch on to some kind of feeding apparatus. But, other than that, it’s up to us, their mommas (and papas) to give them the rest of the information and tools they’ll need to navigate the rest of their lives.
What we forget, however, is how much our babies will school us as they grow up.
Young children truly are amazing. By the time they are teens, they’ll have taught us so much: adaptability, creativity, resilience, patience. They’ll show us what friendship and love are really like, how to forgive and forget, how to be exuberant, and what love really is.
This learning, to me, is the absolute best part of being a mother.
Even though it’s sometimes sad for me to be past the stage where I might wake up with a tiny, warm body curled around me (unless it’s furry and smells like dog), it’s also amazing to have the opportunity to spend stolen moments with my almost-grown children. Because when I’m truly listening to what they’re saying, when I’m mindful of the nuances (or the obvious comments directed straight at me), I learn. They teach me.
And that is a very special thing. The best thing.
Lately, my children have shared some very important wisdom with me.
My daughter said to me, ‘I don’t want to hear you say your fat or you’re ugly. You aren’t supposed to say things like that in front of me.’ What she taught me: Be confident. Be mindful of what you’re saying and who you’re saying it in front of. Be a good example to those who you are responsible for influencing. Love yourself and be happy the way you are.’
My daughter said to me (yes, twice, she’s a very smart young woman), ‘Why do you talk about celebrities like you know them? You don’t know them or what they’re thinking or what is going on with them.’ I asked her, ‘Don’t you care when someone is acting stupid? Her reply, ‘When it affects me, I care. How do Taylor Swift’s boyfriend problems affect me?’ What she taught me: Mind your own business. Don’t gossip. Worry about things that are happening in your own life instead of troubling yourself with things you can’t do anything about or that don’t matter.
My son said to me, ‘Leave him be. He will find his own way’. (We were discussing my concerns about his younger brother’s social life.) What he taught me: People are who they are. You cannot change them. You can love them, you can guide them, but leave allow them to find their own way. A mother cannot control everything.
My youngest son said to me, ‘These days, kids have to take no responsibility. When the kid is rude to the teacher or doesn’t do their homework, they get their parents to blame the teacher for not doing a good job. Kids aren’t learning how to be accountable.’ (Yes, he knows that word. He reads a lot.) What he taught me: That kids are watching and observing at all times, and that they’re not stupid. They know the score, and exactly what they’re doing to manipulate their parents. That some people are willing to work for what they want and will stand by their convictions and that it’s worth doing so if you believe in them, even if the opinion is unpopular or will cause your life to be more difficult.
The same youngest said, ‘We have had an unconventional upbringing.’ What he taught me: That even though I’m not a perfect mother, and that I forget to hand in permission forms, and I don’t make hot lunches and I don’t know whose socks are whose and sometimes (often) I say no, they have still loved their childhoods. I learned you don’t have to be perfect to make happy kids.
Every day there’s more. Every single day my kids share their world views and provide me with opportunities to grow as a person. I know that obviously, if they’re this smart, I’ve done an ok job with this mothering thing. I’m not sure how much credit their father and I can take for their intuitiveness. Maybe it’s just good genes.
All I know is that teenagers are amazingly smart creatures. You should talk to one today.
- What have your kids taught you?
ABOUT MARA: Mara Shapiro is living her dream as a social media Manager for a parenting and education resource in Canada. She loves to cook, read, practice yoga, and write lots of words. She has been a featured guest on Bonbon Break, Blogher, Huffington Post life, CTV News Channel, and has been quoted about teenagers in Brighterlife.ca, The Toronto Star, and The Huffington Post. You can find her dishing about life with teenagers at momfaze.com and sharing book reviews and inappropriate slices of life at beniceorleavethanks.com.
To learn more, check out her about.me page. Ever so social, you can tweet her @chickymara, giggle with her on Facebook, and see her imaginary life on Pinterest.
Check out more of Mara’s work on Bonbon Break
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This post was written by Mara Shapiro of Momfaze and Be Nice or Leave. Thanks. exclusively for Bonbon Break Media, LLC
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