Galactic Hot Dogs
 
|

Envying Our Teens

We envy our teens. It's one of those realities we work hard at keeping buried deep in our unconscious minds. If we allowed ourselves to become fully aware of that envy, we might realize that some of our anger, frustration, disapproval, and disappointment directed toward our teens often has more to do with our jealous, unfulfilled, worried state of mind than it does with their adolescent behavior.

I'm not suggesting that we want to be living every single moment of their confusing, anxiety-ridden, and often emotionally overwhelmed lives. That's why most of us say things like, "You couldn't give me enough money to live through being a teenager again." Too much hurt. Too much heartache. Just plain too much...all the time.

But, we do secretly covet their vitality and enthusiasm, their energy and sense of adventure. And we also wouldn't mind trading bodies with them. For the most part, our teens are fully engaged in exhibiting all the characteristics of being fully alive, when we are on the cusp of being rudely introduced to -- or in the throes of -- female and male menopause. They look and feel like everything we do not. Their bodies defy the laws of physics (especially gravity) while ours feel unattractive, under siege, and moving south at an alarming pace

Bad Timing

Bad timing. That's what's at the heart of our envy. Really bad timing.

Just when we are being dramatically told and shown that we are not forever young, vital, in control, and "hot" -- unless you count hot flashes -- we are sentenced to live with these glowing models of passionate, boundless energy and possibility.

So what are we going to do? Resent them for having so much more fun than we are? Get angry with them for being carefree and adventurous when the last big risk we took was drinking 2 percent milk? Forbid them from wearing bathing suits because we don't want to be reminded how glorious it once was to feel sexually attractive?

Teenagers are not a disease. And neither is menopause. Truth be told, I think the timing of all this is good: Parents and their teens being at these divergent life stages at the same time. Seeing our teens so fully immersed in life at all levels should make us reflect upon our need to celebrate life. Not by emulating them, dressing like them, talking like them, or trying to be their best friend instead of their parent. But by confronting our own complacency, boredom, and indifference and challenging ourselves to become interested and interesting. If our lives have become all work and no play, we must find a playground. If our bodies have become fast-food storage facilities, maybe it's time that we started walking in the spring air with our mates, our friends, or our dogs.

Do you think there might be a reason why most of us are where we are -- mentally, physically, and spiritually -- when our children are teens? Maybe that's the cosmic plan. Maybe we all get a chance to turn some teen envy and parental self-pity into becoming who we really need to be and what we really need to do in the next chapter of our lives.

Read Carleton Kendrick's bio.

|


highlights

Top 10 Sweet 16 Birthday Gifts
Your daughter's sweet 16 is a big milestone in her life. Celebrate this special occasion with one of these top gifts for girls turning 16.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, brought to you by Galactic Hot Dogs.

Printable Lists of the Top 100 Baby Names
Need help with baby name ideas? Use our printable list of the top 100 girl names and top 100 boy names of 2015 to help you brainstorm and narrow down your favorites.

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks