Teenager for Sale…

Let me say first and foremost, I love the Bear. She is my absolute world. We’ve lived through the terrible twos and tantrum-ing threes. The feisty fours were a challenge, but we made it out alive. There were ups and downs along the way through elementary school. Grade four was particularly tough but again, we survived.

Ages 11-12 gave me a preview of what was to come but I assured myself that my Bear would be different, she would not succumb to the stereotypes of typical teenagers.

I was wrong and may I state, ‘What fresh hell is this?’.

At 13, the eye rolling and the brooding. The way she holes away in her bedroom in the dark with only her red LED lamp to illuminate the room. Oh, and the blue light emanating from her phone which is permanently affixed to her right hand.

I can’t keep up with the Ticky Toks and the Snapper Chat and whatever other platforms there are. I can’t imagine the pressure she’s under trying to keep up with all the other teens with their selfies and filters. It seems exhausting to me.

What gets me is the monotone sarcastic responses. Most of the time they’re one-word answers to my burning questions.

How was school?

Fine.

What did you learn today, anything fun?

Nothing.

What do you want for supper?

Dunno.

Fair enough, I’m asking closed ended questions for the most part so I shouldn’t be surprised with the one-word answers. But when I pry further, I’m only met with more resistance and feel like I’m an interrogator or the gestapo. Sigh.

I miss the days where she would go on and on about her friends and what happened at school, all of the rambling stories about her thoughts and her dreams. In those days I could ask for her input on supper and odds were there was a vegetable in the mix. These days junk food and processed foods are the go to’s. I’m so sick of chicken nuggets. She makes her own lunch and squirrels it away so I can’t inspect it. I know there’s bags of chips and other unhealthy foods despite my having fresh veggies and fruit in the house. There is no compromising. I guess I should take comfort in the fact that she’s at least eating something instead of developing an eating disorder that so many girls her age seem to have.

She’s moody and that comes with the hormones. Normally I think I could handle the swings but when you couple it with my depression, my patience is short, and I throw the moody right back at her like a boomerang. You see, my depression and my disorder really screw with my ability to parent.

When I’m manic, I’m too much for the Bear. My energy is too weird and too high for her sloth-like levels. When I’m depressed and prickly, I have less patience to deal with her teenage stubbornness and antics. I feel bad when I’m too exhausted to interact with her in a meaningful way. I feel guilty that I’m not the parent she deserves at that point.

But I think a lot of parents experience this with teenagers, even those without Bipolar or depression. Teens are tricky beasts and I’m no lion tamer. But that’s ok, I’ll keep her. There are moments here and there where I see glimpses of the kiddo from years past, where she wants to spend time with her mama. Those fill my bucket back up. These years won’t last forever and I’m sure the young adult years are better, right? Right……??

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