William remembers the day his son became an adolescent. In earlier years, his son had liked how his father would break into a quiet song while they walked through the aisles of the supermarket. He seemed delighted with his dad's spontaneity as he walked close by, mouthing the words if he knew the tune.
Things changed abruptly on a spring evening when William's son was 13. William started on one of his standard 1960s songs in the condiments aisle. This time his son spun around, reproached him with a stern "Dad!" and then fled toward the other end of the supermarket. In an instant, William had switched from "Cool Dad" to "Dork Dad."
When asked about this incident later that evening, son told father that it was highly embarrassing that father was singing in public. And then came the clincher: What if a friend were to witness this scene?
Surviving your child's adolescence means accepting the inevitable: Your popularity will go down in direct proportion to the rise in popularity of friends; your child's growth spurt and hormone surge will bewilder both of you; and your companionable child will suddenly become a privacy freak.
Other than being gracious about your drop in popularity, what else can you do to survive the early teen years? Here are seven tips that can help:
Some teens enjoy seeing their parents get worked up. That's another reason to avoid an emotional meltdown when dealing with kids this age. Keeping your cool is even more important when your daughter comes home with pierced eyelids and a scruffy new boyfriend. Blowing up or giving speeches at this moment accomplishes nothing but raising your blood pressure.