Adolescence, Vegetarianism and Stoicism

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Family / Life / Love

Hello from a rain-soaked Crabtree Cottage. You’d be forgiven for thinking it was mid November in Leitrim today.

Only thing for it is to keep busy! I’m still practising the art of stoicism and all in all it’s going well.

Acceptance is a funny old thing really. My eldest is in her teens and up until now I hadn’t realised that I was having trouble accepting that she is really coming into her own.

Although I had started this parenting journey believing myself to be open-minded and respectful of my children’s wishes (within reason, obviously!) I have come to the realisation that as I watched my eldest grow and become more independent my reflex action was to try to reign her in. Hoping that somehow I could slow down this marching of time and have her remain my ‘little girl’ forever.

However, the battle within was worse than any of the struggle between the two of us. As I would stand arguing over why she couldn’t do something my inner voice of reason would be asking me ‘why ever not’ in a reproachful tone. Then it would take great pleasure in telling me that whatever it was my darling teen wanted to do at least she had foretold me. It would go on to remind me that I would have just gone ahead and done whatever madcap idea I had gotten into my head, worrying about the consequences after the act.

And there were many consequences. Which is probably why I tried to save my lovely teen the bother and the anguish.

In saving her from the bother and the anguish (or the joy because let’s face it, she’s not me and maybe her choices are much more thought through than mine ever were) I’m also preventing  her from experiencing life. All of life! The ups the downs and the in between parts. I’m not helping her to become the person she so wants to be and I’m not allowing her to build up any resilience, something that is much-needed in this ever-changing world that we are living in.

So how has stoicism helped me let my child develop in her own way rather than follow a predetermined path that I have chosen for her?

She has wanted to be a vegetarian for ages now. I’ve always nodded and agreed while reminding her she hardly eats any veg at all. Last week when vegetarianism was mentioned again I asked what she needed? How could I help? I accepted her choice and realised that without help, support and encouragement from mum and dad sure wasn’t she destined to fail.

That was early last week and I can report that the vegetarianism is going well. Most dinners can be adapted to include a vegetarian option and we’ve had veg korma and lasagne among other things. She is helping out with the preparations and is eating much healthier than before.

While it has been difficult to admit that my child is growing into an independent  young person it is extremely satisfying to watch. She is a great conversationalist and extremely well-informed in areas that interest her. I’m beginning to understand that now is my time to watch, listen and learn. I am no longer the fountain of all knowledge and you know that’s fine. Once she never gets too grown up for a hug!

The vegetarianism links in very well with the eating like a stoic exercise I have been following. I thought that after completing the week-long task that I would be straight back to my old habits of picking at food throughout the day. So I’m really pleased that I haven’t returned to old habits rather I have streamlined my shopping list and am enjoying cooking wholesome hearty dinners from scratch.

So that’s what’s been happening here at Crabtree Cottage. Hope your week has been good.

Adolescents are not monsters. They are just people trying to learn how to make it among the adults in the world, who are probably not so sure themselves. ~Virginia Satir, The New Peoplemaking, 1988

Slán agus beannacht.


The Author

I'm living on the Leitrim border with my lovely husband and two terrific kids. It's the little piece of heaven that I dreamed of growing up. I work in Adult Education by day and during my free time I read, write, knit, plant and bake not always in that order. I blog about life, love, family and everything in between. Pull up a chair and have a browse while you're here. All the best, Karen

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