ometimes I wonder if I’ll make it through the teenage years with two boys. Calgon, take me away…
Just when you’re thanking your lucky stars that you survived the toddler years, you blink and your active baby boy has become a teenager. As I’m sure other parents would attest, the teenage years make the “terrible twos” look like, well, child’s play.
On almost a daily basis, my girlfriends email me tragic stories of teenage boys doing stupid things, like the Georgia teen who drowned just hours after his high school graduation when his friends tied him to a shopping cart and pushed into a lake as part of a game.
Part of the problem is that the developing teenage brain is hardwired for risk. According to Dr. Amir Levine, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at Columbia University, the expansion of grey matter in the adolescent brain stimulates neural pathways that make a young person more willing to try new things.
Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that a growing number of married couples in my circle of 40-something friends are calling it quits. Unsurprisingly, infidelity is a factor in many of these break-ups. However, what is surprising to me is that in most of the cases, it’s the woman who is having the affair – not the man.
Today’s culture of infidelity is so drastically different from what I saw growing up in the 1980s, it could almost be considered a backlash. As a child, my friends and I saw how divorce left our mothers devastated and in dire financial straits, and we vowed never to let it happen to us. We worked hard in school, went to college and grad school, and pursued careers so that we would never have to be financially dependent on a man. We would not experience the pain that our mothers felt when they were cheated on, dumped for a younger version of themselves, and left with nothing.
Now, as we approach our mid-lives, it seems that we women are repeating the mistakes of our fathers. Why are we willing to risk everything – our marriages, our homes, our whole lifestyles – to have a romp in the sack with another man?