Parenting Teens: Learning & Growing Together
Remember when our kids were little, and sleep was scarce, and needs were enormous? Now we call those the good days.
And every mom I know will attest to this: “No one told us it gets harder as they get older.” Raising teenagers is a big, fun, scary job. But here are a few things I’m learning in the process:
We are learning and growing with them.
If you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re not alone. And it’s a good thing to tell your teen that. “Let’s give each other grace as we figure things out together.”
This too shall pass.
Whatever it is, for them or you, it will pass. Remind them of that and remind yourself.
Don’t take things too personally.
This is a hard one for me because I am a “feeler.” But it helps to remember that sometimes teenagers say and do dumb things. Sometimes they say things that hurt your feelings, whether intentional or not. It is our job to try to remain steady through the flighty emotions they are dealing with. They will feel safe if they know we don’t crumble at their every fault. (Again, talking to myself here!)
Hug them and talk to them.
Show them affection even if it’s not always reciprocated. They love you, even if they don’t always show it. But your affection and reaching out shouldn’t be contingent upon theirs. Be there. It will make a big difference in a little while.
Write them letters.
Years ago, I bought my teens a spiral notebook with the inscription “To (name), Love Mom.” We exchanged this notebook back and forth, writing letters to each other. I found that almost always, my children open up about things in writing they don’t always communicate verbally. My son still writes me occasionally in his notebook at 23.
Try to do something fun with your teens every now and then. Connect with them over something that is meaningful in their lives. And pray, pray, pray!! Pray for them, over them and with them.
They will well remember all your efforts to love them and see them through this turbulent part of their lives. Stay calm, and parent on!