Changeable winds and Alternet

In the past several days, one of my older posts (that I’m quite proud of, incidentally), got picked up and published at RH Reality Check and Alternet.  If you’re heading over from either of those places – welcome!  Take a look here to find out more about me and my perspective on adolescent sexuality.

For those of you who don’t know, I live in Austin, Texas.  When it drops below freezing here and it happens to be wet, we get ice, not snow.  And that happens maybe once a year.  One other thing to know about my local micro-climate: It changes quickly.  We get huge sweeping cold fronts that drop in from Canada across the plains, and warm blasts from the Gulf of Mexico fighting over our heads all winter long.  I love it!

So yesterday the high was 81.  This morning the low is around 30.  And it snowed!  So my husband, my kids, and I had our first snowball fight at home (we’ve had them in Montana and Germany…) and ate maple syrup over clean snow just like the Ingalls family did in the Big Woods.  It’s been a fabulous morning.

And it got me thinking about changeable winds.  All through yesterday, a warm wind blew in from the south.  Then, suddenly, around 2:30 in the afternoon, it changed to a cold blustery wind from the north.  I stood outside and marveled at the change.

Living with a teenager can feel very similar to living with dramatic, changeable winds.  Everything is pleasant and lovely, until suddenly it isn’t.  It’s just what happens, much like the weather here in Central Texas.  Some of my friends burrow inside and complain or ignore it or shake their heads and comment on how bizarre it all is.  But really the best thing to do is to sit and marvel at the changeable winds.  Stay grounded, calm, engaged, and know that this storm will pass, so appreciate the passion while it’s here.

Your teenagers will not always be teenagers, and just like you appreciated them as babies for their essential baby-ness, now you need to appreciate them as teenagers for their essential teenager-ness.

About Karen Rayne

Dr. Karen Rayne has been supporting parents and families since 2007 when she received her PhD in Educational Psychology. A specialist in child wellbeing, Dr. Rayne has spent much of her career supporting parents, teachers, and other adults who care for children and teenagers.


  1. beautiful metaphor, Karen.

  2. We’re practically neighbors – I’m in Corpus. Went to UT for my MSSW even.

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