Monday, 17 March 2014

When you have teenagers, you MUST have a dog

When you have teenagers, you MUST have a dog
17 March 2014

I read something the other day, and it gave me pause for thought.  It also really made me laugh.  And then almost made me cry.

“When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog in the house, so that someone is happy to see you”.

Ain’t that the truth!

I have one teen, in the house.  A boy.  And we’re right in the thick of things with hormones, attitude, and general teenage-ish-ness.  All pretty normal.  Standard practice.  Part of the parenting-a-teen-landscape.  Who knows.  I might even have been disappointed if I didn’t have this experience.  As if I’ve missed out on some parenting rite of passage of sorts.

And then I have another almost-teen in the house.  And this one is a girl.  Her hormones have been all over the show, for over a year already.  Loads of eye-rolling, obsessions with clothes, pop music, make-up and then there’s the boys.  Who can resist the boys.  And the problem is that these young girls are so gorgeous from so young, that they get a lot of attention.  From boys.  Boys who are immature and child-like, cause the girls that are their peers, are emotional streets ahead of them.  Galaxies in fact.

The last child in my home, is still just that – a child.  However, he’s playing catch-up you see.  Mimicking behaviour of an older brother and sister.  And hence I can see bits of him racing for the teenage finish line.  Even though he is just a little boy.  And doesn’t quite understand them at times.  For now, he’s obsessed with sports, and running in the garden, playing with the dogs, marbles, etc.  He just wishes that he was older too.  That he also had the privileges that came with being slightly older.  I imagine him feeling at times, like he is in a foreign country.  Almost out of place, amidst the teens and almost-teens. 

Teenagers are not known for their enthusiasm.  For their joie de vivre.  For their happiness.  For their exuberance.

Especially around adults.  Particularly in front of parents.

I am forever optimistically hopeful, that they are indeed capable of this depth of emotion.  That it does exist.  Though, I’m guesstimating, that they choose to show these range of emotions to their friends only.  Lest the adults in their life, mistakenly assume they’re not dissatisfied.  And thus positive feelings such as joy, delight, gratitude, optimism and caring are reserved for display to their inner circle and their inner circle only.  Their “peeps” if you like.

Though to be fair, a few outside stimuli are capable of enticing some of these positive emotions too.  Stimuli like chocolates.  Treats.  Gifts.  Money.  Yip, those work pretty well.  However just giving them “normal” things like three meals a day, a roof over their head, carting them about, etc. – well those don’t get special mention at all.  As far as they are concerned, this falls under the heading of entitlement.  They deserve these things already.  No extra gratitude needed.

Why, around teenagers, it would be quite easy to develop a low self-esteem.  A feeling of never really making the grading and doing something just right.  Of always missing the satisfaction mark.  Usually by a lot.

Which is why the sentence above brought forth such emotion from me.  It IS good to have a dog, when you’ve got a teenager in the house.  Cause the dog will ALWAYS be happy to see you and show gratitude for even the smallest affection bestowed upon them.

Actually, even a cat will do.  Twirling itself between your legs while you’re walking.  Curling up next to you wherever you’re sitting.

Heck, in comparison, even a goldfish, looks happy.  Far more eager for affection.

And great with conversation.  Fantastic listeners. 

Added bonus being that they don’t roll their eyes at you.

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  1. Oh boy!! Too much truth!

    But they do eventually get over it - I promise!!

  2. This too will pass! But the memory stays - I can still hear my kids rolling their eyes!!