Tuesday, April 28, 2009

13 Is the New 18 and Other Things My Children Taught Me...

I just finished the funniest book... 13 Is the New 18 and Other Things my Children Taught Me- While I was Having a Nervous Breakdown Being their Mother, by my new favorite author Beth Harpaz. I can't tell you how many times I laughed out loud reading this memoir... and the scary part is that it all rang true. Raising teenagers is weird. and pretty hard too. Sometimes I think that I am doing pretty ok and then thirty seconds later something hits me...there is ALWAYS some new little insight or bit of information about my beloved offspring that strikes funny. Occasionally its funny in a "ha-ha" kind of way, but more often it's funny in an "how bizarre" kind of way.
Anna Quindlen recently wrote a Newsweek column about the challenges of parenting.... how it is a common popular expectation that parenting is easy and intuitive.She even cites a scientific study where the cortisol levels (stress hormones) of at risk kids is measured before and after their parents are enrolled in a parenting class. Nothing complicated, but the basics...consistent discipline, positive reinforcement... Dr. Spock kind of philosophy. And do you know what happened? The kids levels of cortisol changed. They tracked the kids for years, and the kids whose parents received basic sound advice and support were able to change the biology of their formerly at risk kids, from troubling to typical. Wow. Ms. Quindlen suggests that maybe instead of pretending like being a parent is a piece of cake, we should admit that it has its challenges and not be afraid to ask for help and advice. She states... It can be a great job, motherhood, but it would be nice if everyone could be more honest about how overwhelming the job can be, and more willing to find ways to support and inform the people who are trying to do it.
Honest looks at parenting a teenager- as in my new favorite book... 13 is the New 18- are refreshing and uplifting and help us realize that we are not alone...being a mom is great, but it can also be tough and emotionally exhausting and sometime downright confusing. I would like to thank Beth Harpaz very, very much for sharing her research and experience in surviving her son's 13th year.

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