This post is dedicated to the memory of “Ricki”, a teenager with Down Syndrome who died in her sleep this week. Blogger RickisMom wrote about the challenges she and Ricki faced bravely in her blog Beneath the Wings, which served as a resource for moms of teens with disabilities. May the family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
Reader pseudo1 sent me this article about parental silence in the face of difficulties with teens. The author, Sarah Buttenweiser, points out that parents who write online about challenges with babies or preschoolers get plenty of support. But as kids enter adolescence and the problems become serious, privacy issues come into play. Online parenting writer Katie Granju never mentioned her son’s drug use until after he was killed. Perhaps she would have been able to help her son more if she had shared his story online. We’ll never know.
I’ve faced the issue writing about teens here on my own blog. Several readers objected when I mentioned that one of my teenagers had said something obnoxious. Eventually I took down that post and a few others, even though readers going through similar issues found the posts helpful.
Almost every teen goes through a difficult stage at one time or another. As Buttenweiser points on, the challenges for parents are often exponentially greater than breastfeeding problems or preschool tantrums. Parents who have found a successful way to discipline younger children may find themselves helpless around teens.
Finally, parents are embarrassed to tell others about their teen’s issues, which may include drugs, inappropriate sexual behavior, mental illness, crime, school failure, addictions, eating disorders and for religious families, lack of religious observance. Conformity counts in religious society. People think they are the only ones with problems, but they’re not.
If you are parenting a teenager, do you have access to the support and resources you need?