My daughter is royalty amongst commoners, an affliction that troubles her deeply. Sometimes she expresses her distress in the form of contempt of any rules, regulations, or such other guidelines made to channel her energies in a positive direction. On Sunday, we had an argument over her iPod, which since it's inception has caused many such arguments in our house. The iPod was forcibly removed from her hands and placed in a secure location, which she has desperately searched for and failed to find. This was, in her world, also the breaking point in a developing relationship, which was cut short due to her inability to communicate back to texts. (Landline phones for communications are reportedly "embarrassing" and "awkward". Try pulling the 10 foot kitchen cord as far as it will go into the stairwell of your 1,000 square foot house so no one can hear your coded conversation, sister.)
Her reaction to the banishment of her iPod has, as it would for any royal in this situation, caused much drama in our home. It has suddenly gone from Guarded: General Risk of Parental Involvement to High Alert: High Risk of Parental Involvement. Which reads: High Risk Of Invasion Of Privacy, which is how she sees my requests to randomly check the iPod. Which brings on a High Risk of Hostility and Animosity. The Ultimate Battle Royal.
In other words, things aren't peaceful.
I feel like I'm trying to stop a runaway train. I try not to be naive when it comes to teenage schemes and manipulations, all made easier by having a mini-computer placed in your hand. At least when the phone rang at 1:24AM in 1993, it woke the entire house up. And the entire house was angry about it. And the entire house got to speak about this anger with the offending phone caller. Now, it's all done in secret. A Teen + A Phone + A Friend + 1:24AM Phone Call = Sneaking Out At Night. So I, of course, am attempting to cut these things off before they can even happen, by keeping rules and guidelines in place. (Also deemed "overprotective", "embarrassing", and "awkward". And "ruining relationships" was also thrown in for good measure, because the other three weren't quite powerful enough labels to slap on a parent. So I am an Overprotective, Embarrassing, Awkward Ruiner of Relationships. Maybe I'm doing something right.)
It's not that we are in a bad spot right now. We aren't. I'm pretty sure the things I'm dealing with are typical tween behaviors, with all the sighs and eye rolls and flips of the head that go along with it. I'm not sure why they have to go along with typical tween behavior, but they do. I'm just trying to avoid potential storms by curbing said behaviors now, and the backlash is sometimes intense. They don't back down easily. (My doctor has suggested that sometimes the ages of 12-14 are the worst, then they get it out of their system and they are angels. I am hanging on to this slender thread of hope to avoid mental breakdown and wandering the streets at 3AM in my nightgown mumbling things about eye rolls and awkwardness.)
It seems to be the habit of some of the youngers in the house to dramatically improve behaviors for a short amount of time in the hopes that this sort of manipulation will overturn any such punishment being executed at the time, and then when it doesn't, quickly doing a 180 and being ugly again. Can I just say that I am mentally exhausted from trying to keep up? People my age should be lounging on the beach drinking Pina Colodas, not attempting to keep up with younger brains and technology. It's too much thinking.
But for now, I am giving up my Pina Colodas and margaritas for a good cause. Because parenting requires personal sacrifice, right? It's no longer just about me (as if it ever was) and is now about investing in my kids and their needs. (Not necessarily their wants. Hear me on that one.) And what they need is someone who doesn't walk around defeated but someone who loves them enough to stick to her guns even when there is a High Risk for WWIII to erupt in her very own living room.
One day, I've told them both, you will have a child in your life who is just like you. And you will call me. And when I've stopped laughing, I will tell you all about you. Good luck.