Raising Teenagers

My friend called me a few minutes ago to rant about her 14-year old brother, who has been causing her headaches the past few years. I have been kept updated about him, and I remember warning her that he will eventually get to that stage where he is pressured by his peers — spending more time with them, giving in to their suggestions, experimenting on things with them, and the like — thus gradually changing how he is at home.

In the past, he has just been going home late because he would be playing computer games with his friends. This has caused my friend, who is acting as his guardian since their mom is in the US, to feel tensed and stressed, especially since he obviously has not been listening to what she has been saying every time they had one of those talks. Recently, she found cigarette remnants in his bag, a condom in his wallet and reports that he has been asking some people to drink alcohol with him. And when they talked this morning, he came up mixed up answers to every question he asked, and eventually, decided not to go to church with her, breaking a tradition which they have been practicing since they were kids.

My friend, naturally, is heart broken.

Since I am not one to know how it is to have a teenager at home, only gave her things to ponder on based on a) what I know about the transition of tweens to teens and b) how I was when I was at that age. In the end, I gave her an advice that she might consider eventually — to ask their mom to come home (since she has retired from work already and is done with her responsibilities abroad), even for a short period, to take over. I know this may have crushed her pride, but as what I told her, given that she is a career driven, single 31-year old, who still has the entire world to explore, rearing a teenager is too big of a task for her, and as she herself admitted, she is not ready to face that — thus resulting to having a breakdown due to the huge baggage she is carrying.

And worse, God forbid, failing to raise her brother the right way.

At her age, this is all too much to handle. Especially if we’re talking about a kid who only sees her as a sister, a confidante, a best friend…and not someone who should be feared.


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