Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Unfair Life of the American Teen

I can remember being a teenager. I had some great friends and we used to have a lot of fun together. I remember the parties, the boys we obsessed over and, being a teen in the 80's, the big hair and wild clothes. Good times.

I also remember the schoolwork, the homework, the kickline practices that I would have preferred to skip and the after-school jobs that I was forced to have. I remember the car that I had to pay for, the gas I had to pay for, the car insurance I had to pay for and how unfair I thought it was that I had to be so darn responsible when all I wanted to do was have fun with my friends. Why couldn't my parents understand that?

Do I really have that good of a memory? Do I sit around and still think about this all the time? No. I have a 16-year old and dealing with him this weekend has brought it all back with blazingly clear clarity. Does that even make sense? I am reliving those last few years of high school all over again and my parents are sore from all of the laughing they are doing at me and if I hear one more chorus of "I told you so", I'll go mad!

Nick got a job. A job that he tried for all summer long. We sat together and worked out his availability. We discussed how he would have to work his school schedule around his work schedule. Ah, the beauty of homeschooling. He got his first paycheck and kept it for himself, even though he owed us money. Okay, fine, I know where to find him when the next one comes in. When he got his schedule last week, he griped because of his hours for yesterday because it meant that he could not go and see a friend's band play that night. Oh, well. He thought that he could ask to change his hours! After less than a week on the job!! I don't know how to break it to the boy that he doesn't possess any kind of 'super-skill' that makes him stand out from the masses (yet) and so the first week of work is so NOT the time to be demanding a change in your schedule.

We picked him up last night and he got his schedule for this week. Lo and behold, he did not like it. Did they give him hours when he said he wasn't available? No. He made plans with his girlfriend BEFORE getting his schedule and then thought that he could just call in and change them!!! We had to have the talk with him AGAIN about your still too new at this job to be asking for so many schedule changes. And it wasn't a small schedule change, it was a full day on Sunday and another full day on Saturday!! The busiest days in retail, in which he SAID he was available for, and he thinks he can just not go. After much discussion, he relented and is going to work these shifts.

It must be hard to go from care-free, no-responisbilities to limited freedom and having to do what others are telling you. This is part of the growing up process that sucks. There is no way to cushion this blow. We can tell him until we are blue in the face that this is an important life lession but considering that we're obviously idiots (and the enemy), nothing that we say makes a dent. On top of this change, we had to ammend some of our parenting rules, as well. Now, he cannot go out with his girlfriend during the week. He changed the plans one too many times and I had a complete meltdown this weekend and need a little less demands on my time. I cannot go to work and take care of all of my responsibilities there, take care of all of my responsibilities at home, keep up with his homeschooling, keep up with Michael's schedule, keep up with Nick's work schedule and Frank's AND transport him back and forth to his girlfriend's. I mean, I AM entitled to have some time for myself, aren't I?

Not to the teen, I'm not.

So, we heard a lot of "I don't want to's" and "That's not fair's" this weekend, and it was really hard to stand firm. But if I am going to keep my sanity, then some things have to go. I don't want to remind him that if he had gotten his permit when he was first eligible then he would have a license now and could have a whole LOT more freedom. I don't want to remind him that if he were in public school then he wouldn't see his girlfriend during the week either. I love my son. I love this girl that he is dating. I would be happy if he never dated any other girl but her because she is just that sweet...but I am not the one in the 'couple' and therefore I believe that I am entitled to not have to be involved and give up all of my spare time for it. If they are as mature as my son claims they are, they can deal with this temporary bump in the road and go with it. School and work have to come first, then you can play.

Being a parent really sucks sometimes.

No comments: