Friday, June 19, 2009

Twelve Steps for Parents of Teens and Young Adults

I finally reconstructed my 12 steps for parents of teens and young adults (see previous post), although I think the original was funnier. The occasion for my revisiting them was that my son, busy working in London, forgot my birthday. When he finally did call, almost a week later, it was to tell me that something I posted on his Facebook wall embarrassed him, and oh, yes, Happy Birthday.

Gee, thanks. Fortunately, I restrained the impulse to send the Motherly Guilt-Inducing E Mail, guaranteed good from 6 time zones away. Three hours later the beautiful bouquet, pictured above, was delivered to my office with a card from said son. So if you are struggling with a teen now, I hope the following gives you a good laugh, and be reassured, it may be mud and rocks now, but someday there will be flowers.

Step 1 - We admitted we were powerless over our children’s behavior, and how that really pisses us off.

Step 2 - Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves - Dean of Students, boarding school, drill sargeant, a parole officer - could restore the brats to sanity

Step 3 - Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to a Higher Power, like Judge Judy

Step 4 - Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our children’s strengths and shortcomings, attributing the former to our expert parenting and the latter to bad genes/bad influences from the other side of the family.

Step 5 - Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being that we have no idea what to do with the creatures

Step 6 - Were entirely ready to have our Higher Power remove all these defects of our child’s character, not to mention the magazines and drug paraphenalia hidden under the mattress

Step 7 - Humbly asked our Higher Power to remove our child to another state

Step 8 - Made a list of all the times we told our own parents how we were going to be so much better as parents than they were, and became willing to make amends to them immediately

Step 9 - Made direct amends to our parents wherever possible, except when they were laughing so hard as to make it difficult

Step 10 - Continued to take personal inventory of our child’s shortcomings, just to have something to do while waiting up until dawn for them to come home and ask “What curfew?”

Step 11 - Sought through prayer, meditation and heavy doses of Valium to improve our conscious contact with our own sanity

Step 12 - Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry the message to other would be parents, “Yeah those baby things are cute, but do you know what they turn into?"

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