Rebellious teens

I don’t think anyone will argue that raising rebellious teens is challenging for even the best parents.  I once told my eldest son that since there is no book available to tell parents how to react to every situation, the fact that we were winging it was something he would have to accept.   We were doing the best we could with the resources we had.  

My youngest son is now eighteen, almost out of the rebellious teen phase.  We have to patiently remind ourselves that our two oldest sons have made the transition into responsible adults, so the third son will probably get there too.  I am grateful that the rebellious stages we have encountered so far have been quite mild compared to stories I have heard from parents of other families.  

My sister was not so fortunate when her daughter was a teen.  Throughout this difficult time in my sister’s life she shared many of her worries for her daughter with me.  She wondered if she, as a mother, was doing everything that she could to prevent irreparable damage in her daughter’s life.    She learned from experience that the line between helping your children and enabling them is often blurred.  

The purpose of this post is to prove that rebelious teens can and do turn out to be responsible and successful adults.  Although I had heard that my niece had worked hard to get her life under control,  I was thrilled to see the evidence last month when visiting my sister in Texas for her BIRTHDAY.   That is thrilled and proud of both my niece and my sister for their resilience and perseverance.   Married with three children of her own, my niece, now 35 years old, appears to have her head on straight, and is doing a wonderful job of raising her children.

I hope my niece realizes the stress she put on her parents growing up, but also recognizes that her parents did the best they could.  No parent is perfect in their parenting skills.  No parent does the right thing all of the time because no parent knows the right thing to do all of the time.  The lines between helping and enabling do get blurred for parents everywhere.   I hope this knowledge and advice, as well as the fact that her well-experienced mother is a valuable resource, will help my niece when her children become rebellious teens…


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Sleep Deprivation: Its Causes and how it Affects your Health…

It seemed appropriate to talk about sleep deprivation today, after we lost one hour sleep by setting our clocks ahead one hour this past weekend in honor of daylight saving time.  I find it simply amazing that one single hour can affect our lives so drastically.  When my children were small, daylight saving time would really send them for a loop, affecting their nap times and altering their internal clocks.  I thought adults would adjust better, but apparently there are a lot of people out there who do not adjust well, with shift workers at the top of the list.  I just heard on the news that within the three days following daylight saving time there are significantly more heart attacks reported.  On the flip side, in the fall when our clocks fall back and we gain one hour of sleep, there are significantly less heart attacks reported…

Sleep deprivation can be caused by hormone imbalance, sleep apnea, snoring, room temperature, stress/anxiety and sleeping conditions.  It is a known fact that sleep deprivation is the most common cause of many health issues affecting both adults and children, and yet I have the same argument with my teenaged son many school nights, about taking his cell phone to bed with him.  His argument is that the phone actually helps him to fall asleep.  I, on the other hand, believe electronic devices of any kind keep the brain stimulated, delaying and preventing a restful sleep.  Sleep deprivation is caused by many things, but I am sure stimulation by electronic devices is way up at the top of the list for many teens and adults.

If you are not getting an average of eight hours (more for children and teens) of restorative sleep a day,  your long term good health may be at risk.  In fact, it is now being suggested that sleep deprivation can be worse for you than lack of exercise….

If you research the causes of many illnesses or conditions including ADD/ADHD, (both childhood and adult forms) anxiety, depression and other psychiatric illnesses, heart problems, type II diabetes, obesity, brain fog, difficulty focusing and/or concentrating, poor/slow reaction time, memory loss, lethargy, irritability, headaches and loss of energy, just to name a few, you will find sleep deprivation at or near the top of the list.

Every part of our bodies need sleep to function properly.  Our cells rejuvenate and grow, our energy levels are boosted, our brains refuel with energy and reboot our memories, our aching joints and muscles repair and strengthen, and our organs release essential hormones, all when we are asleep.

This research has tired me out, I think I will take a nap to rejuvenate!

Apologies to a Stranger…

Recently my 15 year old son and I encountered a young couple on a street corner that appeared to be out for an early evening (still daylight) run.   She was sitting awkwardly on the sidewalk holding her ankle/lower leg, obviously in pain.  He was standing over her trying to help.  As we approached the couple, I rolled down my window to ask if they needed help in the form of a cellphone or ride etc.    At the same time, before the young man could respond, my son started yelling at me:  “What are you doing?  Why should we stop?  You’re so weird, talking to complete strangers!”

I am embarrassed to say my son’s outburst provoked an angry, hurt and disappointed reaction in me.  Instead of stopping to see if we could help the couple, we drove off towards home.  When I had cooled down I told my son that his reaction was not only hurtful and mean to me, but showed a complete lack of compassion towards others.  What if one of his family members or friends was hurt in a public setting and no one stopped to help?

This may sound harsh or naive on my part, but I have seen similar behaviour in some of the comments I see coming from him on facebook and twitter, even in his regular conversations with friends and family members.  I can’t help but feel his words are a form of bullying, potentially harmful to sensitive teens at the receiving end.

My son did apologize to me and agreed that stopping to help would have been the “right thing to do”  He also agreed that he would make an effort to stop the offensive comments on social media.