I recently Googled “parenting teens” just to see what would come up. To my complete lack of surprise, here are some of the articles that popped up on the first page:
- Dealing with Difficult Teens
- 5 Mistakes Parents Make with Teens
- A Parent’s Guide to Surviving the Teen Years
- Parenting Course: DCF Approved
- Parenting Teens: Discipline and Communication
- Raising Teenagers: The Mother of All Problems
Our culture wants us to believe that teenagers are difficult, challenging, disrespectful, rude, slothful, slovenly heathens who live only to make our lives as mothers more difficult. Well, I am here to call shenanigans on that! Of course, those assertions are true sometimes. But no one is perfect. I’m pretty sure the same could be said about every one of us from time to time.
Teenagers are interesting, complex, and enjoyable humans! Caught in the middle of who they were as children and who they’ll become as adults, they have a unique perspective on the world and their place in it. They are old enough to shoulder responsibility and young enough to still need us. They test us and try us. And then, in an instant, they make us prouder than we ever imagined possible.
Staring The Teen Years Squarely in the Eye
Nothing can prepare you for parenting a teenager until you have one. My oldest two boys just turned sixteen and thirteen last month. The older son is over six feet tall and his younger brother matches every bit of my height. What a strange feeling it is to have to look up to meet your baby’s gaze!
I’ll be perfectly honest. When my oldest was twelve, I dreaded him turning thirteen. I knew what to do with babies, toddlers, and school-aged kids. They were a known entity.
But teenagers were mysterious and scary. And having a thirteen-year-old made me sound old. I wanted no part of it.
Then, someone dropped a nugget of wisdom that changed my attitude. She said, “You know, when he wakes up on his thirteenth birthday, he’s still going to be the same kid he was when you told him goodnight. And you’re still going to be his mom.”
This realization made me realize that I was as ready as I was ever going to be to be the mom of a teenager.
Does that mean I haven’t had moments of head-scratching confusion as I look at these man-children of mine? No way. In fact, it’s happened more times than I’d like to admit. But if I have learned anything over the past three years, it’s that I still have so much to learn.
Advice from the Trenches
Just like we all used to reach for all the pregnancy and child-rearing books we could find as new moms, we still need to call in the experts from time to time. And who is more experienced than other mothers?!
How to Parent Joyfully During the Teen Years
A while ago, I was faced with a situation with my son that made me wonder if I had any clue what I was doing. I wondered what advice the older, more experienced moms I know and trust would give to the mom of a newly minted teen. Here’s what they had to say.
Today’s blog post originally appeared on Blessed Is She.
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Featured image credit goes to Blessed Is She.