It's an option....

As the parent of a young teen, I'm on an amazing journey, in the company of thousands of other parents.  I count myself lucky though.  This is my second teen experience.  My first is best categorized as uneventful.  Many warned that I could not be so lucky with my second (a girl), so I braced myself for some stormy years.

Granted, we're early in to this with her.  Lots of opportunity for things to go awry.

I've had many discussions with her, beginning in about 5th grade as her father and I divorced.  Though I allowed her sadness, I made it perfectly clear that she had the power to choose her reaction.  She had the choice to wake up in the morning and 'decide' it would be a good day.  Or not.  It was in her hands.  It took only a few weeks before she told me she no longer had to actively make that had become more of a habit to start the day happy. 

We also explored the concept of not giving others the power to control our own emotions.  Once again, reinforcing the choices each of us has in the direction of our lives.  Circumstances may be beyond our control, but our reactions are where we regain that control.  At times, when friends are being 'stupid' or 'mean', revisiting this seems to give her the boost needed to prevent total meltdown, and work it through rationally.

Recently, while I was out of state, my daughter called me in tears, begging to stay with a friend instead of at home with her older brother and cousin (who may as well have been a brother).  Once she calmed down to where I could understand her words, she dropped a bombshell that no parent ever wants to hear.  The favorite cousin had molested her some 6-7 years earlier.  No details necessary here (that's a whole different discussion).  Suffice it to say, that being 1/2 way across the country is not where one wishes to be when your child needs you.  Anyway, through lots of talks, an incredible, yet simple book, and supportive adults in her life, she's accepted what happened, made certain that my nephew knows that she remembers, received an apology from him, and forgiven him. 

Her view now is that everything that happens in your life happens for a reason, and it all contributes to the person you are now, and the person you are yet to become.  Not everything is going to be happy and good.  Some stuff will be hard and sad.  But if you choose your reaction, and choose to find that silver lining, no matter how small, you can take any circumstance life throws your way and become better and stronger because of it.

To have been so wise at 13.