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Mom's Nag Pad is a place of support for women and moms. I hope that while you're reading the stories about the crazy lives of others, you'll remember yourself and pick up that dream deferred. Like me, everyone should indulge a dream!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Do your teenagers still need you?

This is a question I ask myself a lot as I watch my older girls turn into young women. The oldest is nineteen, a sophomore in college, drives her own car, and occasionally makes her own money. The next one is sixteen, incredibly self reliant, and possibly the most stubborn person I know. Most of the time she walks around with a sense of self assurance that would make a Supreme Court Justice take a course in confidence building. But don't be fooled. When it comes to handling their own problems, that five-year-old they think they left behind in kindergarten will reappear.

If you've paid any attention at all to your kids over the past decade, you should be able to read the signs. With the oldest, I'm addressed as 'mommy' when she wants something, and 'mom' with anguish when she's distressed. With the second, it's just tears. This is significant because she's not a crier, and is embarrassed at the thought of having to wear her emotions on her sleeve. And the chances are she's exhausted every other possible solution to her problem before coming to her parents. This is good.

It's good because she's tried to solve the problem on her own. It's good because after she's seen she can't solve the problem on her own, she moves on to a higher power, and I don't mean a round robin of her usually clueless friends on Facebook. I think this is what all parents want. We want kids who are self reliant, but we want them to be able to turn to another source once they've hit a wall.

This is why I don't question my approach to parenting. I'm not at all concerned that because I provide structure, discipline and love, that my kids will grow to hate me. Put simply, I don't care if they don't like washing dishes or folding clothes. Making their beds and doing their homework is a part of their life at present. Sure, we sometimes have bitter fights over the need for clean bathrooms and swept floors, but at the end of the day, my kids know that I'm their staunchest defender and their biggest fan.

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