My Teen’s Out for the Summer and I’m Terrified!

My daughter is just finishing up her finals this week, school is almost over. Soon the long slow days of summer begin. And frankly, I’m terrified.

When she was little, summer was all sunshine and promises. I couldn’t wait for summer to start. Every year right before school ended, we’d make a list of some of the fun activities we’d want to fill our summer vacation with. Our perfect summer included running through a sprinkler, opening a lemonade stand, swimming and learning to do a cartwheel.

We’d excitedly check each item off our list in bright magic marker. By the middle of the summer, we’d scramble to complete all our adventures before the magic of summer ended and the new school year started.

She’s Thirteen Now

Now that she’s thirteen, I’m not so much looking forward to the school year ending. I’m actually completely scared that it’s ending. I’m scared of those long days stretching into weeks that turn into complete months of nothing on the calendar. I’m frightened of a sullen teenager staring blankly at me for hours at a time.

I’ve asked her what she wants to do over the summer. The answer? Well, it’s the answer to almost every question you ask a teenager, “I dunno.” (The only other answer that I do get sometimes is the almost-a-sound grunt, or the complete and total silence coupled with the eye roll.)

(Don’t get me wrong, my daughter is AMAZING! Smart, funny, kind, an amazing student-but she’s still a teen, and parenting them ain’t easy!)

My perfect summer for her would be as follows:

  • Enrichment camp (filmmaking, literature, art?)
  • Road trip to several Western states
  • A family vacation
  • Concerts
  • Movies
  • Art projects

My daughter’s perfect summer would be as follows:

  • Being on her computer
  • Me bringing food to her room
  • Being on her computer
  • Me never speaking to her
  • Being on her computer
  • Me leaving her alone
  • Being on her computer

What’s a Mother to Do?

So what in the heck do I do?

Do I force her into activities that actually make her speak to real live present people face to face? Activities that she might have to log off and leave her room for?

Or do I just close the door, let her roleplay on websites and chat online with her virtual frineds until August, when she has to leave her room, speak to living breathing actual humans and start school again.

I don’t want to be a total old fart about this but she’s got chances to do things that I would have killed for as a kid. What were my summers like way back when? I’d wait at home for my Mom to come home from work, scavenge food from the refrigerator and watch reruns, game shows and crappy TV. The highlight was some impromptu late night kick the can with the other bored neighborhood kids.

So what’s the mom of a teen to do?

If there are parents of teens out there that can offer any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

Does your teen want to stay online and ignore you this summer?

Are you forcing your teen into summertime activities?

This post first appeared on Round & Round Rosie, reprinted with permission.

Rosemond Cranner is an LA-based divorced mom to one awesome teenaged daughter. A former TV production company owner, she writes about a diverse range of topics, usually at 3am when she can’t sleep. You can find her throwing words around at Babble, Huffpost, BluntMoms, Scary Mommy, SheKnows, and here! She writes about things like body image, the joy of schlepping all your worldly belongings in Hefty trash bags post-divorce, the horrors of dating when you have elbow fat and of course, cute shoes; but her true mission is to be a hopeful voice for women as they rediscover themselves and kick some major midlife ass.  You can find her at Round & Round Rosie, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

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