Parental Qualifications

Am I really qualified to be a parent of a teenager??

I have been a single parent since my son was 3. I moved away from my family and friends to attend college when he was 4. I've never really had much help raising him, aside from the occasional family member taking him for a few days or a week at a time (oh, and some random, sporadic visits with his other parental unit-who is now MIA). There have been a few rough patches, but ultimately, my son was VERY easy to raise thus far.

He was potty-trained, for the day hours anyway, by the time he was two, much to the amazement of my other mommy friends.
He was reading early and maintains a love and respect for books.
He has always been able to hang out with adults and wasn't the kind of child that made people wonder "what's a child doing here?"

He is a pretty amazing kid.

Or was...but now he's a teenager. Not to say that he's not going to be an amazing teenager, but he is definitely in a transition phase. He's now officially a moody teenager testing some limits and unsure of his place in the world.

And as such, I am the mother of a teenager, unsure of my parenting abilities.

The good old days:

My household is in the midst of a transition. My man-child is struggling with school right now. Last night he told me that school is hard and he's "never had to really try before." I told him that he's been really fortunate that it went that way for him so far but that school IS hard and this is how it has been for other kids for awhile now.
What I wanted to say was more along the lines of "welcome to life sweetheart-it's hard."

I find myself censoring myself more and more frequently. It's more difficult now because he SEEMS like an adult much of the time. He talks like one, he moves like one, he certainly is the size of one. His discussions are more more mature, he's definitely more adult than child. I'm not sure when, or how, that happened.

I'm not mourning the loss of my baby. I'm not sad that he's entering high school next year. I'm happy he's growing up. I'm happy that he's fairly healthy. I'm happy that he's alive and well enough to attend high school. I'm very aware that there are many children who don't get that chance. There are many parents who don't get the opportunity to help their struggling children make the adjustment from child to adult.

But within the feelings of being fortunate and happy, I recognize and question the trials and tribulations that lie ahead of us and how we will both survive. My own teenage years weren't the best (not the worst, but far from "great") and I dread having to relive them through his eyes. I believe I've done a pretty good job parenting so far, but am I qualified to be the parent of a teenager??



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