Parenting teenagers can be mentally exhausting. These perfect tiny humans are born to you and you raise them with such love and care and you continuously express the importance of education and success and choosing friends wisely, carefully. You see them take heed to all this for many years. They show good decision making. They stand up for what they believe in and defend the rights of their friends. All this makes you proud. Overflowing. They show that birds of a feather really do flock together in positive ways. Then suddenly one day, your perfect tiny humans who grew up to be marvelously intelligent small people are now teenaged strangers. And you’re looking at and communicating with them and thinking “who are these kids??? where are the ones I’ve been raising?” and you actually hear yourself say “I don’t know who you are, but I want my kid back.” And you walk away from whatever version of that conversation is -the same conversation you’ve had 174 times in 174 ways- feeling so tired. You sit in the quiet of your car or your bedroom and you think, where did I go wrong? How did I foster this new personality? Then you think, but they’re really not the worst. They could be SO MUCH WORSE. And so you give thanks for the temporary insanity. Because yes, this has GOT to be temporary. Then you go into fix-it mode. Because success is NOT an option. Not before and definitely not now. Not in this political and racial and environmental climate that we’re approaching. SUCCESS IS NOT OPTIONAL. So you find different paths and make new rules and remove as much distractions as possible without stripping them of all communications. And you once again stress the importance of education and success. And you walk away exhausted. Again. But you know you can’t allow them to give up and settle for mediocrity. You know you can’t give up on them. Yes, parenting teenagers is exhausting, but it’s worth it.