This post: My Teen Thinks I’m Annoying and I’m Okay With That
The other day, my 16-year-old daughter popped her head in my bedroom around 10:30 p.m and asked if she could go to a country concert downtown with her friends the following weekend.
The plan was that they would “hop on” the MARTA (the train) to and from the concert (to a major metropolitan city) so they wouldn’t need a ride and, because “lots” of people would be attending the concert, she was sure it would be safe.
Now, I have no idea if my daughter’s goal was to time her request just perfectly by hitting me up late at night when she knew I was worn down and exhausted from the day because she knew instinctively what my answer would be OR if she was just that clueless.
Either way, she wasn’t happy when I gave her my answer.
Let me preface this by saying that I gave her the chance to “state her case.” I listened without interrupting. I asked pertinent questions. I even stayed remarkably calm even though inside I was thinking my daughter had lost her ever-loving mind. And, in the end, I determined that it was a bad idea (actually, a horrible idea but I didn’t tell her that) and that it simply wasn’t safe for a group of young girls to ride the train home from a major (unsafe) city late at night by themselves.
My plan was that if she wanted to attend the concert, her Dad or I would be happy to take her and her friends and sit a few rows back. Sounded like a fair enough compromise to me…
Needless to say, everything fell to pieces after that. There was whining and tears, begging and plenty of comments like, “You never let me do anything!” and “You’re the only parent who’s not on board with this!” and “You’re SO annoyyyyiiinnnggg!”
My Teen Thinks I’m Annoying, and, I’m Okay with That
I don’t like it when my kids call me annoying. I don’t like when they tell me I’m the “only” parent not letting them do something (even though sometimes I feel like I’m standing out on a limb all alone). And, I don’t like upsetting my daughter, especially considering that we actually have a pretty strong relationship.
But one thing I’ve learned about parenting teenagers, being annoying comes with the territory.
Of course, my teen thinks I’m annoying…
I’m telling her things she doesn’t want to hear.
I’m making her do things she doesn’t want to do.
I’m saying “no” to things she wishes I’d say “yes” to.
I’m instilling values in her that she’s not quite ready to adopt.
I’m putting boundaries and rules in place that she doesn’t want to follow.
I’m harping on her (okay, sometimes, lecturing her) about things she thinks she already knows.
Yeah… my teen thinks I’m annoying and she’s right! I guess I am annoying.
Heck, sometimes, I annoy the smithereens out of her just by breathing, chewing too loudly, humming or asking her mundane questions like, “Hey, how was your day today?” or “Watcha in the mood to eat for dinner?”
The bottom line is, in her eyes, I’m annoying as hell. And, I’ve learned to be okay with that.
Looking back, there were plenty of times I thought my parents were annoying and I’m sure my parents thought their parents were annoying and I’m sure their parents thought their parents were annoying.
You sign up for the job of “chief annoyer” when you become a parent and especially when your kids become teenagers.
The truth is, I wouldn’t be doing my job as a mom if I allowed my kids to do anything they wanted anytime they wanted to do it. I wouldn’t be doing my job as a parent if I threw my hands up in the air and said, “Fine… I’ll allow it,” to any desire or whim that crossed their (underdeveloped pre-cortex) brain of theirs that isn’t quite ready to make important, life-changing responsible decisions without at least some guidance and adult perspective.
So for now, I’m willing to take the hits as they come.
I’m willing to make those unpopular decisions.
I’m willing to be the bad guy who says “no.”
I’m willing to be the one who deals with the heavy sighs, the rolling eyes, the occasional slamming doors and the “You don’t understand me,” You’re so old-fashioned,” “You just don’t trust me.” and the “You’re SO annoying!” comments because I know…
One day – maybe not today or tomorrow or next week or even next year – but one day, they’ll realize I was right.
Chances are they’ll understand more clearly when they become parents themselves, when they’re faced with the same issues that I’m facing, when they’re trying desperately to raise their kids right, to protect them and make those hard, disfavored decisions, even at the risk of their kids disliking (or hating) them from time to time.
Until then, though, I know their “heat of the moment” comments aren’t personal.
My kids really do love me. They just, sometimes, hate my rules, boundaries and decisions. They hate that I’m holding them back from making reckless or unsafe or unsound decisions. They hate that they don’t have total freedom to live their own lives without interruptions, feedback or guidance from me. And, they really hate that I (sometimes) get in the way of their “fun.”
Soon enough, though, they’ll learn that I loved them enough to say “no” when other parents were saying, “yes.”
I loved them enough to put my foot down, put boundaries in place and discipline them, even though they fought me every step of the way.
I loved them enough to ask where they were going, who they were going with, whether the parents would be home and what time they would be home.
I loved them enough to put some responsibility on their shoulders and make them follow through with their commitments.
I loved them enough to keep a close watch on them, who they were hanging with, and how they were spending their time.
I loved them enough to allow them to assume responsibility for their actions and deal with the consequences, so they’d learn.
I loved them enough to be the bad guy, to be the unpopular mom and to be really really annoying, at times.
So, to my children, yes, I know I’m annoying.
But I’m willing to be annoying if it means raising you right.
I’m willing to be annoying if it means raising you to be a responsible, caring, capable human being.
I’m willing to be annoying because you and your future matter more to me than you not liking me today.
I’m willing to be annoying because I love you far more than you’ll ever know…