05 JanHow to Blog With Teenagers
The majority of Daddy and Mommy blogs I see are by new parents or the parents of young children. This is understandable. There are few things more exciting and life changing than becoming a first-time father. And then raising young children? The do such cute things. They say such cute things. They hold your hand and give you kisses and hugs. They listen to you and are sorry when they make you mad. Most of all, they are proud of you. They won’t hesitate to tell anyone, “That’s my dad!” There is such a joyous connection to the young children in our lives that we want to tell the world about our life-changing experience. Then they become teenagers.
Parents of young children hear the horror stories of teenage children but no matter how good their imagination cannot imagine correctly what it will be like when their own children become teenagers. I know I couldn’t. It’s almost like your young child dies to bring this teenager into existence. I’ve tried to express what it’s like here. Whatever the case, as far as blogging goes, it’s much more difficult to write about teenage children.
There are several reasons for this. The first is that teenagers just aren’t cute any more. They become clumsy. They have bad haircuts (mostly boys). They wear too much makeup and perfume (mostly girls). Their complexion lose that baby perfection and become mottled. They just aren’t as attractive a subject anymore.
A second even more applicable reason is that we as dads have lost our mystical, infallible leader status. We fall in their eyes to “he who is embarrassing to look at and one who can ruin my entire life” status. If this sounds a little funny to you let me tell you, it’s not. I still remember the moment I tried to lift my daughter in a store so she could see what was on a top shelf. She was horrified and begged me to put her down. She did nothing wrong there (except grow up), but right then I realized my little girl was gone. My vantage point on our relationship was a little lower then and it was harder to write.
Third, and most painfully, is that our relationship with a teenager is less pleasant. Their childish behavior which was once non-threatening and even cute is no longer childish. It’s certainly not cute. What makes it worse is that they draw out of us our own weaknesses and faults. We find out that we who are adults still have so much growing up to do. Blogging substantively about our teenagers is risking our own exposure. Warm stories from a young parent about sleepless nights due to Tommy’s being sick turn into stories of sleepless nights when a son or daughter doesn’t come home at the appointed curfew. Blogs about comforting a child whose feelings have been hurt may turn into blogs about teenage depression. It’s no wonder blogs by parents of teenagers are fewer in number.
Of course a Daddy blog with teenage children isn’t going to be all bad. For instance, I have one teenage daughter who shows her love for me easily. She will often (yet unexpectedly) kiss me on the cheek and whisper I love you. Get this, she will even still tell me she loves me in front of her friends. She does this easily and gracefully. Oh, what that means to a dad. I have another daughter who keeps her distance from me. I will pull her in for a hug from time to time and she will make it clear one way or another that this wasn’t her idea. She will look at me at times as if she knows of some conspiracy theory about my existence in her life. This certainly isn’t the little who used to adore me a few years ago. However, the other day I was in my room when she came walking by the doorway. She stopped and looked at me. I looked back to see what she wanted. She suddenly threw me the three finger “I Love You” sign and voiced the words. Then she walked on. I just stood there blinking. Oh what that meant to a dad. I don’t know when the next sign of love will come from her, but I hope to live in a manner to keep all doors open.