Where can I find advice on raising today's teenagers?

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Answered by: EDWARD, An Expert in the Parenting Teenagers Category
Although it seems like another dimension at times, I once traversed this world as one of those mythical creatures known as teenagers. Raising today’s teenagers shouldn’t be any different for parents than any other generation, but as you may be aware, times have changed.

Though rumors persists of involvement in activities other than the consumption of food, these creatures are adept at ransacking kitchens, leaving only ruins in their wake. One might find an occasional straggler, wounded by other members of the herd, resting on the couch. This activity (or lack thereof) consists of sampling a plethora of energy depleting electronic devices simultaneously. It seems teenagers have the innate ability to observe, listen to, and absorb incredible amounts of audio and visual stimulation. Ironically, however, today’s teenagers lack the capability to perceive the voice of their own parents.

As parents raising today's teenagers, we must be aware that teens will be consistent in one thing: selfishness. No doubt there are exceptions, and there are many outstanding examples of teens whose behavior is exemplary. But just as sure as a baby cries for attention, so a teenager will test her parents to get her way.

One of the hardest things for me to witness as a father is the power struggle between my teenage son and myself. It seems the more I try to warn him of impending consequences, the more defiant he becomes.

And of course, our daughters were born with overactive tear ducts. It is true, there is a proverbial switch they can turn off and on and leave parents reeling in the aftermath.

Before you know it, they’ve left you with a kiss on the cheek, exiting the front door, car keys in hand, promising to safely observe whatever we demanded they safely observe. And, you realize that most likely they won’t.

But that’s all a part of parenting teenagers. You have to trust them to learn some of life's lessons on their own. This quest for independence is normal, but it can topple a parent’s authority quicker than an army pillaging a village.

Don't get me wrong-- I love my kids. They’re all unique and wonderful in their own way. But something mysterious has occurred. I have become my father, or mother, or a strange hybrid of both.

Like my father before me, I find myself demanding my son to turn down his music. How many times in one day should parents squabble with their daughters about straightening their room instead of their hair?

"Choose your battles," they say. Well, with raising today's teenagers (there I go sounding like my father again) it's more like fighting the War of the Worlds. I should probably go back to my H.G. Wells Cliff-notes and search for hidden meanings between the lines. Surely Mr. Wells had experience raising teenagers or he would not be adequately equipped to address the topic of combating alien beings.

Oh well, I'm sure these nutty days will someday seem normal. Glossed in the bizarre, shadowy glow of surreal, yet fond memories, somewhere between the diapers and the DWIs, we will survive and I will find my children once again. And we will all live happily ever after.

And maybe, just maybe, I'll discover that it was not them, but I who had changed all along.

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