The Infamous Teen Eye Roll and Scowl
When I was about thirteen or fourteen, my parents wanted to take us to the Shakespeare festival in Cedar City, Utah. I moaned and groaned, as did my brother Eric. "Shakespeare Mom, really! How can you do that to us? It will be so boring. Please don't make us go." And then I did what most teens do so well - I rolled my eyes. If you have a teen or have had one; you will understand me. There should be a teen eye rolling competition because I think they have mastered this skill!
That Shakespeare festival that I was dragged to; I loved it of course but didn't want my Mom and Dad to know. I would never admit defeat and tell them it was a great idea.
My teens are no different than I was. They are interested in the world but if I suggest things I get push back. A central theme in a teens life is autonomy, and the mere fact that I am suggesting brings a most certain glare, scowl, or rolling of the eyes or a comment to the likes of, "Mom, our generation isn't like that..tsss. Please don't even try."
I think back often to that festival and about how it felt to be a teen. I wanted to be different than my parents, to push back on what they thought and create my life. It is funny how annoyed I can get when my teens take for granted everything we are offering them. I have to remind myself constantly, "Yes, I acted like this too, and I turned out just fine."
I do two things when I get annoyed; I try to make them think some things are their own ideas and I let them take the lead on some activities but I also make them do things they don't like! I deal with the moaning and groaning, and I move ahead knowing one day they will thank me that I've dragged them to a concert or a museum. The same goes for our digital detox days or hours. When I decide they need to put it all away, there isn't a choice, and honestly, I can tell within an hour how much good it is doing them. My son will never admit it now, but then again I would never have admitted as a teen that I had loved the Shakespeare festival I fought so hard not to attend. I choose to take no offense, to remember my teen days and look at the world from their perspective. It helps every time.
–Allison Ochs, Social Worker M.S.W. , Coach, Expat, Mother of three, Wife