I’ll be honest… I’ve been going through a rough time with my teens. I’m in the middle of the storm and it’s very unsettling.
I’ve heard from many parents of teenagers that there will be a day when my kids hate me. I thought I may have gotten through their teen years unscathed… but guess what?
Mama down. I repeat, Mama down.
My once sweet kids, who used to look up to me and listen to every word I said, are now rebelling in ways I never thought possible.
My daughter does not want to talk to me. She’s staying with her dad and I’m not sure how our relationship will (or can) be repaired.
My son is about to move out to be on his own and our communication has been strained.
In short, every interaction with both of my teens ends up in conflict. And I don’t know how to make it better.
Give me a chaotic toddler birthday party over dinner with an angry teenager any day.
My therapist tells me that it’s my job to build up the walls of boundaries every day and their job is to knock them down. She tells me that my job as a parent is to not react to their behavior..
Fortunately, I have tools that can help me get through this. I know this is temporary. Everything changes and this will pass, eventually.
But this is a sad and scary time.
So what do I do now to help me get to the other side?
Reach out. Thank goodness for my trusted friends. I rely on an amazing network of supportive friends whom I call when the parenting waters get choppy. They help me focus on the solution rather than stare into the abyss of this mess I find myself in.
Let go. If there is one thing parenting teens has taught me, it’s that I am powerless. Not in the “woe is me” way, but the “wow I have no control over these kids anymore” way. I have to admit, over and over, that I am powerless over their behavior and actions. They are going through their unique experience and it’s my job to continue to show up as a loving parent who has boundaries.
Sit with discomfort. I know that feeling this discomfort will help me process what’s really going on. Truly, at the base of all it is the fear that I will lose connection with my kids and that they’ll never talk to me again. That scares me. So I sit with discomfort and honor this feeling.
Accept and trust. Finally ,I need to accept and trust this process. I know I’m not the only parent in the midst of a tumultuous period with their teenagers. I’ve heard countless stories of other parents who have gone through this and come out the other side, together and with love. I have to accept that this is what it is right now. It will pass.
Relations with my kids may never be the same after the dust settles. Our lives may be affected in ways I never imagined. I know that this is not the end of the story. There will be more to come and more that will be revealed.
I will be ok.
And so will they.
After all, their job right now is to assert and find their independence. And I’ll be here waiting, with a cup of tea and cookies whenever they’re ready to continue the conversation.