Blossoming — and some thoughts for parents of middle schoolers at the end….

To watch a teenager blossom is truly a remarkable thing.  As we look forward to homeschooling high school this fall, one thing that is most lovely is to see who this beautiful person before me is becoming.  Many of you have younger children, and you think you are seeing this unfolding of individuality.  In a way you are, of course, because life is always a process of becoming, and those of you have even older teenagers on the cusp of the twenties will know and will have seen more than I have…but there is something special, more intense and more beautiful in this right- now  -cusp-of-15 than there ever has been before.  I am enjoying this age.   Parenting teens is not for the faint of heart!  However, overall it is more fascinating, intimate and loving than I ever remember my own teen years being.

Teens this age can have a beautiful  balance of  being in nature and increased physical activities along with more responsibility in school, at home,  and yes, in technology.  (And yes, I am so glad we waited until this year to open up some of the avenues of technology and how it was done in the context of school and using technology as a WORK tool, not entertainment!  That has been a huge help, along with strong limits!)   The world is opening up, but wanting to be emotionally held by us and talking with us and being with us has not diminished, which is nice to see and I hope continues.  I think the greater separation will happen at the 16 year change, which to me is where I think it would more naturally come  if we just left development alone without a lot of outside influences.  We have had  amazing discussions, and the general common sense that I see makes me feel hopeful that whatever storms or mistakes come along, (even big mistakes and big storms), will be handled with grace by our child and hopefully by us.

It is often said that teenagers feel invincible and that is where they get into trouble.  I think that is true,  because I  often look at today’s teens and see such vitality, such hope, such intelligence. I know a crop of really wonderful teenagers. This group of teens has me hopeful for the future of our country and the world.

There was an article about how mothers of tweens (ages 11-12)  are the most depressed group of parents as their children go through physical and emotional changes, trying to separate by pushing boundaries, and how marital satisfaction is at its lowest for women (and how often these changes for children come in the midst of when we are changing the most in adult development as  well).  The linked article also mentions the exhaustion from driving and the children’s activities.

So, for mothers of children these ages, coming from my experience of having a younger teen….Keep talking to your children and keep them close by keeping them with the family unit.  A few close  friends for your child whose parents you really respect and can be super helpful.    If you open things slowly and naturally as your individual child (within developmental reason) shows the maturity and responsibility to handle things, it goes easier – but the older the age the  better.  Fourteen is a good age for many things to unfold.  Hold steady in the current…

Many things I see middle schoolers doing in terms of having this incredible outside the home schedule, and millions of hours with friends,  and almost unlimited technology – well, these things to me need boundaries and with boundaries they could be appropriate for high schoolers!    If your child is only 11 or 12, try to find some parents with 14-17 year olds.  It really helps put things into perspective to see how little an 11 or 12 year old actually is.

The teen years are fun.  They can have harrowing moments, but what a beautiful unfolding.



6 thoughts on “Blossoming

  1. I love this Carrie. Thank you! I’m curious about how you mindfully introduced technology. We are approaching this threshold as well. So much is out there on the dangers of technology for little children; but, I’m not finding much on how to introduce it mindfully or in a healthy way. Were there any resources you found particularly helpful when deciding on your whens and hows and whats? Any plans on a post with some of your thoughts and discoveries on this topic? 🙂

    • Kathy,
      I will try to write one at some point. I have been putting it off because I find it is such a loaded topic for Waldorf families. There are a few posts on here, one about gaming by my husband and one on technology in the Waldorf Schools, that might be helpful to you. I think the idea is to have a purpose around it – our eighth grade daughter had an online class so she had to learn typing, how to email documents to her teacher, how to put together a Power point presentation, and her tech dad made sure she knew all the parts of the computer and how it worked as she went along. To actually understand how a computer receives and sends email, how you “get on the Internet”, how it all works is really important. We studied the history of computers and the Digital Age as part of our Eighth Grade block to give it context and meaning in history and in purpose. We did not encourage a lot of use for computer as diversion or entertainment and used products to control access, there is no social media, etc. We also waited until she was fully 14 years old. I think 14 is better age for introduction than 13 or younger if you can, because the 12 and 13 year olds I see cannot self regulate at all, but also because many parents do not have any limits or know how to limit access. Highly recommend use of a product such as Circle: We also discussed a lot about cybersecurity, internet safety,etc. Our daughter is close to 15 and this seems to have worked well over the past year.
      Hope that helps,

  2. This is a lovely post, Carrie.

    I can relate to the study you mention in many ways – there are certainly a lot of developmental changes going on in our household and I have to find time to reflect on this and make changes to work through it. Homeschooling is hard when both “teacher” and “student” are on a hormonal adjustment roller-coaster! Thankfully not every day feels that way.

    Most of the parenting stories and articles which seem to cross my path lately are cautionary, doom and gloom stuff and I notice I am starting to feel really worried for my tween. So step one is to block out those voices and just notice what is true for our family. Thank you for shining some light on the beauty of adolescence and bringing us hope.

    Cathy xoxo

  3. It is refreshing to hear this viewpoint on the teenager’s blossoming. I think back to my own years and realize how *young* I was, at 13 or 14 or even 16! — such a pressure from so many places to see a teenager as a smaller adult, when really they are in many ways simply a bigger child ❤ To see this time as a blossoming into, versus a pushing towards, is a gift to our children.

  4. Pingback: Is Parenting The Eleven to Twelve Year Old Stressful? | The Parenting Passageway

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