Monday, April 28, 2014

Monday Madness - Parenting a Teen (My Young Adult)

Today's Monday Madness will be vignettes - a vocabulary word for one of my students.

Overreaching - Setting Goals that are Too High:
I'm not talking about college courses.  Here she and a friend decided to hike to to Mission Peak.  It's a thing with folks around here.  Climb to the top and have your picture taken with your hand on the peak marker.  Most people are cheering or doing a thumbs up or jumping because they're glad they made it.  

My teen and her friend went up there on a day with rain predicted.  Not only did it rain, but it blew and stormed and even hailed on them!  In spite of this weather, they trudged on to the top, when others coming down asked, "Enjoying the hail?"  Yes, the biting, stinging, freezing stuff that was whipping around their faces, getting in their ears and nose. A hailstorm.  Freezing hands and wet, freezing feet.  And yet still they pressed onward and upward toward their goal, slipping, sliding, covered in mud and in cold misery.  

What does this tell you?  No good judgment here.  No, "Hey, let's just come back another day." No shame in that.  Who even knew they were up there -- not me!  They could have slipped, fallen, broken bones, and who would have been looking there for them?  Did they even have cell phone reception up there?  So, am I proud of this achievement?  Not so much.  The picture at the top is not one of joy and accomplishment, but more of a drenched, muddy, drowned rat type photo.  Perseverance.  Dogged Determination.  Goal Achieved.  On to the next challenge.
Grades and College Courses:
If your teen says," Hey I want to drop this course - I'm not doing too well."  Go ahead and let her do it.  Don't say, as I did, "Oh, don't be a quitter.  Stick it out.  You can do it.  You love this subject, etc., etc."  I said those things and she failed the course.  So, now her GPA is down and she may not qualify for financial aid.  Sure, she can retake it in the fall, but the damage is done and there's no way to "fix" her GPA short of getting straight A's until then.  (And the Cal Grant application already went in, probably with the low grade.)

Lesson learned:  If they want to drop a course, let them.  Don't learn this the hard way as I have.  It's their choice, their decision to study or not.  If they realize they can't do it, and it's in the add/drop time period, then let it be dropped.  You don't learn much from failing a course in college.  Well, you learn that you should study more or not take such a hard course.  But learning about failing when it affects your financial aid isn't such a good lesson.  It affects more than the student - it affects the whole family, the whole budgeting process.  A hard lesson to learn.
Muddy Shoes:
Back to the Mission Peak experience (Peak experience, he he).  What happened to the muddy shoes?  They sat outside on the chair in the front yard until this morning when they were scrubbed in the kitchen sink.  Yes, dirty water spraying all over the sink and the dishes (and muddy plates and bowls loaded into the dishwasher.)  "Do you know we have a laundry sink where you can wash your shoes?"  But I usually wash the mud off mine outside, using tap water, not in the kitchen sink using filtered soft water.  Good judgment?  I think not.  When will this lesson be learned?  And the frustration and the lessons continue!
Tags:  Mission Peak, Hiking, muddy shoes, poor grades, dity sink, setting goals, perseverance, determination, failing courses, teens, young adults, judgement, making good decisions, making good choices, learning from experience, lessons learned.


  1. The hardest part of parenting is the teen years.

    1. Yes, I think there need to be more classes in parenting teens. We could call them "Saving your Sanity," or "Moving Beyond Madness," or "Transitioning the Terrible Teen Years," or "Parents Praying and Practicing Patience."