Monsoons of Adolescence or How Parenting a Teenager is Sometimes Like Experiencing A Sudden Flash Flood.

Teen-Arguing682874470a-main_Full Ever been in Tucson in the middle of the summer?  For me, the weather is gorgeous.  I love opening my door and feeling that blast of heat that resembles an oven set to 450 degrees.  I lived in Tucson one summer and loved every minute of it.  It was the only time as a parent that I enjoyed the stay-at-home-mommy status. 

One thing that comes with that glorious heat is the instantaneous monsoon weather.  One minute the sky is brilliantly blue and the weather hot.  Perfect tanning times.  The next moment, you are running for cover under a downpour so torrential even a native Oregonian would fear for her life.  Flash floods are no joking matter.  Monsoon season is just a way of life for the native Southwesterner.  I loved it, but during my short stay in the region, I never got over the sudden switch the weather could make from serene to stormy. 

Sometimes we mess up as parents and make the wrong decision or say something ( even well intentioned) in a way that wasn’t received quite the way we hoped by the teenager. Before we know it, the sunny weather in our home has transitioned to hurricane force gales with words hurling like debris in a tornado. 

In instances like these, you might wonder, what just happened there? You might also wonder, why am I saying that?  Or why is he/she saying that?!

The reality is, no matter how good we become as parents, we are bound to have some conflict with our teenager at some point. My mother used to suggest that the best remedy for this sudden monsoon like behavior in our teen is, simply, to dig a hole, bury them and unearth them when they turn 25.  Now, I’m not sure how practical it would be to bury anyone alive, let alone a teenager (especially if they have a cell phone with text messaging), but I got my mom’s point:  sometimes all you can do when dealing with the sudden mood shifts is to hang on and wait out the storm.

Sometimes those mood shifts are unexpected and unexplained.  Sometimes, we as parents, create them by being less than supportive, or positive or by not listening closely enough to our child.  Whatever the case, even in the best of homes some conflict is bound to occur.

What strategies do you employ to mend the rifts and stay connected?