The 3 Ts: Around the Bonfire

by Gigi Ross on November 7, 2012

After a brief hiatus from the Bonfire series last week, we’re back with another post today!

I’ve known Jackie from With Just A Bit of Magic for years now. She finds herself in a parenting situation that most of us don’t find ourselves in. But one thing we will all face as parents is dealing with teenagers, and that’s the subject of her post today.

parenting teensAfter a brief hiatus in our Bonfire series due to Halloween, we’re back this week with another new post.

I’m a minority. No, not because I’m a woman, but because I’m a 40 year old mom of teens. There I said it… I’m old, but that’s not what this is all about.

Most of the bloggers that I’ve met out there are in their early to mid 30’s and have young kids, like 10 or younger while I’m one of the few who have who have teens (2 girls… 16 and 13), a tween (a girl who is 10), and a toddler (the only boy who is 2 ½).

The 3 T’s.

Now at this point you’re either laughing or feeling sorry for me or both. Go ahead – I’d do the same thing and honestly there are times I wonder how I still have a shred of sanity left.

So let me share a little story with you about recent happenings at my house with the oldest.

A bit of backstory first…. she had a long time boyfriend, 2 years, and then he graduated from high school and moved out of state to go to college. Of course they broke up and she decided that she wasn’t going to date anymore and instead focus on school and stuff like that.

Summer came and she started hanging out with friends a lot more than she had in the past and was having a great time. This made me really happy because I was afraid that she was going to miss out on so much of the fun that happened in high school by being so focused on one guy and her studies. I don’t know about you but I have a lot of fond memories of high school and had a lot of fun!

She hung out with girls and guys because Cait has always been friends with everyone no matter what. So the summer passed into fall and she was spending more and more time with two guys that she had been in the same class with since 2nd grade and I thought nothing of. Until one of them would pick her up at the house, pay for her food when they all went out to eat, and offer to hang out with her often. The kicker was when he asked her to the homecoming dance… because he “felt bad” for her because he knew that she really wanted to go and nobody else had asked her. My first thought… whatever. It’s a date. They’re dating.

She has vehemently denied that they were dating. She has refused up and down that they’re not together. She has done everything to try and convince us that they’re simply friends and that dating him would be like dating her brother. I think she even said, “eww… we’ve been best friends since 2nd grade mom!” My thought… whatever.

You know what? At first I believed her but as time passed it just seemed odd to me with all the time that they were spending together, him picking her up, paying for this or that, even though they hung out with other people it was getting more difficult for me to believe that they were just friends.

Well, this week I pushed a bit more and when she said that they (meaning her, the non-boyfriend & a couple others) were going to hang out my response was a flat out no. I told her that I couldn’t believe that they weren’t dating and that she needed to tell me the truth once and for all and then when she did she could go. I knew that I was right. I mean come on… I was a teen once a long time ago but things aren’t that much different!

Yea, she refused to give in and answer me. I figured that since she went upstairs that she was there for the night… until she came down dressed.

Finally! Finally, she admitted that they were dating! I just love being right! I may have done a happy dance in my head.

Teens aren’t easy. They don’t like to share much of anything that’s going on in their lives. They think that they know everything and you never know what each day is going to bring. I really think that they tend to forget that at one point in our lives we were just like them… we were teens too who thought we knew it all.

I don’t know how to keep the communication open, honest, and flowing with teens. Do you?

So those of you with toddlers, preschoolers, or elementary age kids…. enjoy it! Enjoy it while it lasts because all too soon they’ll turn into teens who think you’re a moron.

Jackie is a wife, mother of 4 kids from toddler to teen, a project manager, a writer, and social media consultant and to pull it all off it takes a bit of magic! And yes… she does have a magic wand! Find her on social media:



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Jackie November 7, 2012 at 4:34 am

Thank you so much for asking me to sit around the bonfire with you and so many other wonderful people and share my story with all of you today.

Renee Schuls-Jacobson November 7, 2012 at 6:30 am

Please understand inhad a very personal reaction to this post. I don’t know you. And I’m sure you are great like all of Gigi’s friends. I toyed with not responding at all, but i had to say something.

This post shows how very different relationships are between mothers & daughters and mothers & sons. Like you, I am an older mother. In a few days, I’ll be 45. And I have one teenage son, my only. But I have learned in the last six months NOT to press him on personal matters. He is not sharing, and pressing makes him very uncomfortable.

I wonder if it is different with daughters? I don’t know. I remember my mother pressing like that and feeling so disrespected. Like you, she would interrogate me until I confessed something I had wanted to keep to myself. Or she would dole out punishments if i didn’t give her her precious information. This has made me distant from my mother as an adult. I wonder now, Why did she have to KNOW so badly? And I would ask you, why did you have to be right?

Raising teens is hard. I’m not digging it right now either. The silence sucks. I’ve written about it recently myself.

And yet, I try to respect these new boundaries my son is erecting. He still shows up when he needs me. He still comes to me when he is struggling.

But isn’t part of letting them grow up, letting go. Let your daughter have her secrets. I assume you would like to have a relationship with your daughter in the future. If you keep pressing, she may resent you. If not now, later.

Jackie November 7, 2012 at 8:01 am

While I do respect her privacy and the boundaries I also want to know who she is friends with and more importantly who she is dating. I don’t think that it’s wrong or butting into her personal business to want to know who her boyfriend is and to have met him. I consider it me being a good parent… or at least trying to be.

Poppy November 7, 2012 at 8:23 am

I’m glad your kiddo has moved on. My teen daughter was an open book until she got her first broken heart. I have grade school age kids too, who tease her relentlessly, so it takes a lot of pushing to get her to talk. I am totally pushy! She doesn’t have to talk to me about feelings – but I need to know facts.

Jackie November 7, 2012 at 9:39 am

Her sisters tease her too but that’s par for the course no matter what the subject is!

I agree… I don’t need to know feelings but I do need/want to know the facts and what she is doing.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell November 7, 2012 at 8:29 am

Those teenage years (particularly with girls) are tough. If your mama instincts tell you to go deeper, then it’s the right thing to do. I speak from experience although I’ve never told the story and probably never will.

Susan in the Boonies November 7, 2012 at 9:22 am

Hi, Jackie! Thank you so much for sharing!
I’m a blogger, a mom of teens, and I so hear your heart.
I, too, long to stay connected to my teens.
The best parenting advice I ever received in regard to my kids, even when they were pre-teens, was learn to love what they love.
So, I’ve made it a point to be passionately interested in things that, quite honestly, didn’t initially hold much appeal for me. At my house, it’s all about music, so I’ve opened my musical palate pretty wide.

Jackie November 7, 2012 at 9:41 am

Music is really big with mine too! I’ve gone to concerts with them, shared music with them, and asked for their input for new playlists and all that. Thankfully the music that they like isn’t to bad!

hilljean November 7, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Hi Susie! We sat at the dinner table the other night and shared a burger 😉 Ok, your piece of advice is the best I’ve heard ever. To love what they love. I think this is true in all relationships–friendships, marriage, kids. I would love to hear you write about this sometime in more detail. hint hint 😉

hilljean November 7, 2012 at 12:27 pm

She sounds like a sweetheart! Oh the unknown terrain of teen years–I pray for wisdom when I get there!

Jackie November 8, 2012 at 3:23 pm

funny thing is that the teen years seem to go by so fast too… I swear she just turned 13 and now she’ll be 17 this year.

Galit Breen November 7, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Oh jackie, you’re definitely treading in terrain that’s new for me! Keep the info and tips and stories coming – so we can have a heads up for what’s ahead!

Jackie November 8, 2012 at 3:22 pm

I don’t think that you’ll have any trouble at all! You seem to have an incredible relationship with your kids!

Just keep talking to them and let them know that they can talk to you no matter what… and go with your gut!

Danyelle Franciosa November 7, 2012 at 11:11 pm

I am glad to see that your kids are moving on. They seems they are having fun, they are becoming even matured so we as a parent we must prepare that they will have their own family.

Cynthia November 8, 2012 at 6:17 am

Glad to read about your experiences! I’m quaking in my boots somewhat because my preteen is already pulling away and I’m going to be 50-something mom of teens! You sound like a firm but very kind and loving mom, she’s lucky!

Jackie November 8, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Thanks! It’s really hard when they start to pull away and are so independent… it’s like they simply don’t need you anymore.

Emmy November 8, 2012 at 9:29 am

Ugh I am already dreading the teenage years and might just be a little more now. And yea for being right and calling her on it!

Yea- as much as I hate listening to my son talk about the “Trains” and cars he is inventing and driving, etc I try really hard to listen now so he knows that I do listen to him and hopefully will remember this when he may have something he really needs to talk to me about someday.

Great post!

Jackie November 8, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Even with the girls it’s sometimes hard to listen to what they’re talking about and really focus…. especially when you have one that talks non stop from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed!

Cori November 8, 2012 at 10:08 pm

GREAT POST JACKIE!! I love the fact that you were right! Probing is great isn’t it 😉 xoxo

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