Many parents struggle with the teen years, and, having a teen AND a tween, I can relate, but not in the way you might think. I see many parents of young children who are completely checked out, and they don't realize it, but this is setting up their children to have issues down the road. I see moms pushing strollers in a daze, looking at their phones, while the child is plugged in to an electronic device, watching a movie. There is no human connection in that equation.
This morning, on my walk, I saw a group of very young girls playing on the sidewalk. Their dads were talking to each other off to the side. As I came up to where they were sitting, one of the girls pushed her stroller towards me, as if to hit me with it. The dads still did not look up, even when I said, "Wow, you wanted to hit me with that!" The girl looked at me belligerently, and finally one of the dads looked up, with a half smile that told me he had no idea what was going on, then went back to his conversation. I smiled at the girl and kept walking, but my heart went out to her. She was trying to get someone to engage with her, and if it took actually hurting someone to get attention, she was THAT desperate. She coud not have been more than 4 years old, and I began to wonder what she would be like at 13, 14, or 15. I can guarantee you that she will not be a happy, fulfilled young woman. I imagine it is likely that she will engage in unhealthy relationships with boys very early on, in another desperate attempt for validation and attention. Her parents will spend a lot of money trying to apply a "band aid" to the problem that their unconsciousness created.
When my kids were little, a very wise woman told me, "Meet their needs now, and they will grow up strong and healthy, without the drive of desperately seeking those unfulfilled voids." This has proven to be the best advice I have ever received. We push them out of our beds, and tell them we can't hold them, force them to cry themselves to sleep in a darkened room, and then wonder why they grow up distant and closed off to us. They are raising themselves, and they are not doing a great job. Is this really surprising? I am saddened that this is our next generation of leaders, for they are missing some important pieces, and growing up to be apathetic, and unconscious, for that is what we are teaching them. If you are lucky enough to have a young child, please cherish this time with them, and reject the philosophy of teaching them "independence" from birth. Let's instead move into a place of teaching them "INTERdependence," in which they can feel supported by the adults in their lives, but they have the confidence to go off on their own when they are ready. I promise you that your child will not sleep in your bed, or want you to hold him, when he goes off to high school!