One day you are your child's best friend and the next day they would rather eat lima beans and spinach than be seen with you in public. If they're with their friends at the mall and they see you coming, they run in the other direction. If you go to the same movie, they insist on sitting ten rows behind you. What's the matter? Did you suddenly grow two heads and a tail?
Every parent experiences it – the time in their child's life when it's no longer “cool" to be seen with their parents. We enter into this bittersweet experience with mixed emotions. Our child is growing up and becoming independent and that's something we're proud of, but we also feel just a tad bit remorseful and maybe even hurt. After all, just a few short years ago public hugs and kisses were no big deal. Now they're cause for public humiliation and teenage angst.
So how are parents supposed to handle the heartache? There are a few different ways to approach this time in your child's life.
Bribery Will Get You Everywhere
If you really can't bear to go to the mall without your teenager, this is the perfect time to get them the necessary clothes they need. The only way most teenagers will even consider going to the mall with mom or dad is if there's something in it for them – and that means spending money. Is little Ms. Thing too cool to head to the plaza with you? Promise a brand new pair of jeans and things may change. Is Mr. Cool just too fabulous to be seen at the store with good old dad? The promise of a pair of sneakers may put a different spin on things.
The Waiting Game
If bribery seems abhorrent to you and there's absolutely no way you're going to “pay" your child to go out in public in your presence, then you just may have to play the waiting game. It may take a few years before you're cool enough to go out with your son or daughter again, but it will be well worth the wait when your child grows up into an adult and realizes how cool you always were.
Enjoy It While It Lasts
You know that freedom you had before you became a parent? Well, right about now you're getting some of it back. Instead of mourning the loss of your child's affections and attention, relish it. Go to the movies you want to see and read the book you've been meaning to get to. Before you know it, your child is going to outgrow this phase and a few short years after that you may have your hands tied as a grandparent!
So rest assured, you definitely haven't sprouted another head or a tail. Your child is just spreading their wings and exploring independence. It's natural and it's good for them – and though you may not realize it, it's probably good for you too.
Copyright (c) 2006 Pat Brill
Pat Brill is co-founder of http://www.SilkBow.com which supports Busy Moms with free gift ideas and helpful tips to meet the challenges of motherhood. SilkBow is the perfect place for the perfect gift. To contact Pat, email her at email@example.com