When I was growing up, I started that…good old fashion rebellious streak young. To be honest, I don’t think I have ever stopped. If someone told me no, I did it anyways. Leaving them with no option but to ban me from something, which pretty much left me with no option but to figure out another way around it, and go for it. I left everyone I encountered with a their hands in the air, completely clueless on how to stop me from doing what I wanted.
When I was told that I was no longer able to walk down the street at 13 years old, I smiled. And later that night quietly left the house while everyone else was asleep, and took myself out for a walk in the cool air. When I returned from said walk, I bumped into one of the people I was staying with. He looked at me, shook his head, put his hands in his pockets, and walked on past me while I made my way back to the house. That was in utter chaos. I see now why he walked on by.
I often said that I would never ban my kids from things like that. I wouldn’t stop them from running free, and I wouldn’t put limits on things, pushing them to break the line to do what they wanted. They would be free to do what they wanted – and would have no reason NOT to do what I asked.
Oh. I was a wise kid. Wasn’t I.
People have often told me that I need to stop limiting Madison to what she can and cannot do. That one day I will wake up to an open bedroom window, and an empty bed. A thought that literally shakes me.
Its not that I think she will run away today (I mean heck, shes not even here today – so she cant really). Its not that I even think she will in the next year. Or maybe two. But oh, eventually. Yes. I do see troubles with the strong, although level headed kid.
In many ways she has taken the streak that runs through the family. They all have. The stubborn “Don’t tell me what to do” bit, that gets you into trouble every way you look. If you tell her shes not aloud to do something she will seek out the weak point in your speech and exploit it. Shes smart. Shes stubborn. Shes got attitude. Shes all girl. All the time. And wants what she wants and wont stop until she gets it.
The problem now is, things she wants are bigger than I can give her without any problem.
Someone who will go unnamed has told me that because I have “Spoiled” her and “Given in to her every want wish and demand” that this really, could have only been expected.
I don’t, and never have, given them everything they want. Even if I was able to, I wouldn’t have. What Im talking about is giving her the right amounts of freedom and space she needs to not feel threatened or forced to go the opposite direction. Im not talking about what we eat, or what she can and cannot buy. Im talking about things like whos house she can sleep over at, who she can accept rides from, and who she shouldn’t have contact with.
Things that are for her safety.
Things that make her feel like I don’t trust her judgment, and want nothing more than to ruin her life.
The talks we used to have over sugary drinks, and pancakes are things of the past. Words that are exchanged are met with eye rolls, and attitude so big it can be seen across the room.
I get it.
Shes testing her boundaries, but these are boundaries I don’t know anything about.
She knows this too, she knows this is a weak spot, and she knows she can use it to her advantage. There are no words truer than when she yells “You don’t UNDERSTAND.” I don’t. I don’t understand. I don’t know the girls mind, or the girls way. I don’t.
Often it seems that while Im trying to protect her, Im only holding her back. Im putting up those limits, and Im forcing the bedroom window open all that further.
Im pretty much out of ideas – short of putting bars in the bedroom window, and alarms on every door.
I don’t want to hold her back, or force her to leave in the middle of the night. I want her to feel like she can talk to me, and tell me when something happened…but I don’t know how to leave that open – when every time she says something, it ends with “You just don’t understand.”
And while its true, I don’t understand…
I do. I understand she wants her freedom, she wants to go. She thinks she knows what way to go, and she thinks she must be right.
I want to support her, but Im afraid one day her ideas of selling lemonade will turn to selling other things. I don’t want her falling down a road that will damage her for life, but I don’t know what road to help guide her to.
I wonder sometimes, if anyone truly has it all figured out.
Anyone that is, besides 14 year old girls.