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I think that one of the hardest parts of being a parent to older kids (J is 14, A is 12) is that the older they get the less control you have over their little lives. That isn’t to say that I’m looking to control them (that much), but when they’re small you get to have a say in everything. From what they eat to what they wear, when they go to bed, who they play with, what they play with, what they watch on TV, the list is long. But when they get older you send them off to school every day and kind of just hope for the best. And when someone hurts their feelings or mistreats them, you can’t have a meeting with the teacher, there is no “time out” in middle school. You can give them advice on how to deal with it until the cows come home, but at the end of the day, it’s all on them, and not on you. So when your daughter buys a Valentines Day brownie gram and sends it to a friend in order to “make up” and that friend basically snubs her, causing seriously hurt feelings, what can I do as a parent? She’s not being bullied (which is a term that is thrown around far to often in my opinion), this is just normal friend crap that happens/happened to us all. But it breaks my heart to see her so sad. And every fiber of my being wants to march into school and throttle the kid that is making her life harder than it needs to be. But I can’t do that.

There was a recent story on the news in my area about a mom whose kindergarten son was hit by a classmate, a little girl. The mother got on the school bus and put her hands on that little girl, and was subsequently arrested. Now, I completely agree that she should have been arrested, and if it were my child she laid her hands on I’d be furious. But on another level I can see where she was coming from, I know the feeling of being so angry that someone has hurt your child and wanting to lash out on their behalf. But luckily I have that “don’t do that!” switch that stops me from throttling other peoples kids.

People with small kids are always looking forward to the future. They think that their life will be easier when little Billy is potty trained, and goes to school full time, but what no one tells you when you have little kids, is that the older they get the bigger the problems are. When you’re faced with a house full of teenagers, you’ll long for the days when homework was drawing a picture of your family, and your child’s toughest decision was what toy to play with, and your biggest fight was over what they were eating for dinner.

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