Adolescence is hard, and for many of us parents, we’ve forgotten so many of the painful moments that it might be difficult to relate to our kids.
We are, after all, used to them simply being difficult. Add sullenness and it’s hard to know whether it’s “normal” moodiness or a real problem. It’s a shame that it takes an awful event to become aware of how fragile our young people really are.
When I saw the news this morning about yet another teen killed by an oncoming train, my mind started to race: did my kid know him? What’s the reaction among the students? How is the administration handling this? I work in the city and at moments like this it feels like another world.
I did get an early train home, just to be near my kid regardless of whether we wanted to talk about it. (There was very little discussion, but at least we were under the same roof.)
High school is difficult, and our kids are still, most of the time, just that: children, who need guidance and support even though they refuse it — or do a very good job of pretending to. There are times when they need to know that their parents are there for them.
Knowing that they’re not alone, an assurance that’s so easy to provide, may be what’s most needed at those unpredictable times of incomprehensible vulnerability.
Our kids might shut us off. I’ve been called an idiot more times than I can count (but not today, interestingly).
Given what happened yesterday in Ohio, and what happens far too often everywhere, it’s our duty not to shut them off. Parenthood, like adolescence, can be more demanding than it seems.