In general parenting teens has been a huge education for me. Specifically I can now see how this education has prepared me for being involved in foster care. Interacting with bio parents is a lot like interacting with teenagers. Some bio parents are actually teens, some are not.
For me parenting teens has been a struggle, it feels like the same struggle I have with Primo's parents. I have learned a lot from my teenaged children, I have made many mistakes with them which have helped me learn a lot along the way. Some of the lessons have been painful and surprisingly hard to learn from, meaning that even though I know how I should respond in certain situations it is still hard for me to do what I know I should do.
One of the hardest things for me to remember when parenting my teenagers has been to "not take it personally". I tend to take everything said to me to right to heart, this is exhausting and difficult. I work every day on not taking things around me personally.
Another tough lesson has been realizing that I can't control other people. As much as I feel the need to control my teen children, for their own good of course :), I can't really control them. They are individuals who have their own free will. I can guide, advise and enforce consequences etc., but in reality I cannot follow them around all day and make decisions for them.
As a parent I often wish that I had a magic wand that would enable me to sweep away my children's pain, challenging behaviors, questionable choices and miserable moods. I'm still learning that this is not my job. I am learning that there are many times I have to "let go and let God". There are extremely difficult days when the only prayer I can come up with is "Thy will be done".
I have been parenting teenagers for 10 years, with 6 more years to come. I continue to strive to be grateful for the experience and the continued learning this provides me for use in other areas of my life.