I bring my daughter to a counselor awhile back, and we all talk together, and the counselor says, “It sounds like she’s exhibiting normal teen behavior. She just wants to be treated like a normal teen.” I say, “Her two older siblings both exhibited what I thought was ‘normal teen behavior’ — they both tried heroin and one is an addict. How am I supposed to have a clue about what is ‘normal’?” The counselor paused. She looked at me and nodded.
Technology alone has made my kids’ teen years very different from mine. But let’s think about it. Some level of isolation is normal for a teen. Moodiness, wanting to sleep late, wanting a lot of time with friends, becoming more private, less social with family … all “normal teen behavior.”
Honestly, at some point I knew my boys’ behaviors had breached the “normal” boundary. But I didn’t know when it happened. It snuck up on me. I don’t want that to happen with my daughter.
I’m moving her across the country to be near my family. Four weeks from now we hit the road. She wants this. She cried out for this. Her dad is furious. He says I’m ending his relationship with her. I said he had fifteen years to create a relationship with her. I’m trying to give her a couple of “normal teenage years” before it’s too late. It’s the best choice I see right now. And that’s all I can do — make the best choice that I see right now.