This week my third child, Elisa turns 14. She said that turning 14 seemed so much better than being 13. That now she is really, really a teen. Being 13 people often say "Oh, just starting your teens, aye?" when you tell them how old you are. But if you are 14 you can claim you've been a teenager for a while. So it's different. Huh. OK. I guess I can see the logic of that.
Shayleen and Forrest were so much different at that age. Elisa seems to want to be able to live out this whole phase of life. She wants to wear nail polish and name brand jeans. She likes to listen to more current music and watch Julian Smith videos and just feel like she has truly experienced this whole teen thing. I guess some people would kind of think that was a bad thing, but I'm not sure I really do. She isn't doing anything sinful. I think she just wants to feel like she got out of this phase of life what there is to get out of it. I know the music she listens to, the videos she likes to watch, the jeans she wants to wear. I don't object to them. I'm a lot different of a mom to older kids than I thought I would be. We defintely have our boundries, according to the general standards of the world at large, I guess we would be considered pretty strict. But I don't want to be strict simply for strict's sake. When I tell my kids no about something, I want to have reasons for it. Especially with the older kids. They may not agree with me but I think they generally feel like I've at least thought about it and am giving an answer I believe to be the right thing and not just a knee jerk "no" or trying to be conservative for conservatives sake, etc.
I want my kids to start making choices when they are at home and allow them to use their own reasoning skills while they are still under my roof and I can ask them questions about how they made this choice or that. Sometimes I think we parents get so used to sheltering and controling that we forget to allow them to exercise those skills. But then what happens when they are turned out on their own (and they will be!). Will they have their own tools for making desicions they haven't faced when they are in our home?
Sometimes it can be lonely trying to make desicions based on reasons. Sometimes I think it's much easier to make disicions based on where we feel we belong in society as a group. There is security in being easily labeled. If you are a conservative homeschooler type it's very easy just to make desicions based on whatever you perceive your group as approving. Sometimes people are uncomfortable with people they can't easily "peg" as to what group they belong to. Sometimes you may think you belong in one "group" based on certain things but then when you are around them more you realize you don't really fit with them as much as you thought. Human nature is interesting. I think it would be interesting to be a sociologist.
Another thing is that as parents I think we get comfortable with whatever the styles or habits were of a certain time period and get kind of stuck there. The things the kids are doing just look odd to us. Or certain colors or style represent different things to us. Shayleen and I were discussing the mix of red and black in clothing. I told her that when I was a kid girls just didn't wear red and black together. It was considered racey. At least in my smallish to medium sized suburban town that's what we thought. And red in general was used sparingly. She said today red is sophisticated and red and black together are "rich". Hmm.. Interesting. Another time I was talkign to some moms about a certain clothing style that the teens are wearing. They said it just looked plain weird to them. I had to think "Oh well, they aren't wearing it for us anyway. They are dressing more for each other than their old moms!"
Happy Birthday Elisa.