My daughter arrived home from college just the other day. After a brief visit with the family, she ate, showered and went out. I was not surprised. She did the very same thing when she came home as a freshman. Other parents had warned me of this inevitable domestic exodus, but I thought naively - I was different from all of the other parents: my MN daughter had spent her first semester missing me, texting me and calling. Wrong! Remember the line from the Harry Chapin’s song, Cat’s In The Cradle;
“Well, he came home from college just the other day, So much like a man I just had to say, “Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for a while?” He shook his had and said with a smile, “What I’d really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys, See you later, can I have them please?”
At the other end of the spectrum, my 8th grade MN Daughter is completely burnt out. She has worked at an intense and furious pace all year long; she still has plenty of work to prepare for finals and end of the year projects. Her response to everything is short and impatient - I can feel the exhaustion in her words. The nice MN teenager has definitely been highjacked by the cranky MN teenager. We need summer! My MN teen is not unique – In the last week, when asking her friends how they were, their unanimous response was, “I am tired. I just want to sleep!”
High school sophomores and juniors are the most difficult at this time of year – I am happy not to have any currently in my house:
Junior are stressed with APs, end of the year projects and Final Exams. They are cognizant that strangers – sitting in an admissions office hundreds or thousands of miles away – will be judging them by the grades they receive! They are cranky, over worked and completely convinced that their parents know much less about anything and everything than they do!
Seniors have already been accepted to college and know that the results of their final semester do not really count. They become rebels with a cause – they are preparing for the inevitable separation from their parents that college will bring very shortly; they are high school students who are ready to move on: they stay out late on school nights as well as weekends (everyone else is doing this!); they do not listen very well to their folks (practice for next year when they do not have to); they are holding on tightly to their friends (late night house parties, basketball games and movies); and they show up to just enough classes to make graduation possible. This ‘senior-itis’ is completely normal and drives parents completely crazy.
I have to constantly remind myself not to get ‘sympathy stress’ or ‘sympathy anxiety’ with my MN teenagers. My MN teen recovers more rapidly than I – usually within minutes of some sort of altercation and especially in the sanctuary of her friends – while I hold onto a lot and take so much to heart- even the things I know I cannot fix or alleviate!