This post: As a parent of teenagers, I wish the answers came easier –
When my kids were younger, the answers to my burning parenting questions seemed easy to find – a question to a mom friend who knew exactly what I was going through, a call to my pediatrician who stood ready to tell me if what I was experiencing with my kids was normal, and, if that didn’t satisfy my need for answers, there was always a sea of books at the bookstore or mounds of articles to be found online.
Fast forward a few years and now that my kids are teenagers, the answers seem harder to find, the questions far more complex, and the outcome of decisions more impactful on my kids’ lives.
At a time when we need answers the most, at a time when we need solid advice, direction and clarification, at a time when we’re stumbling through the most tumultuous period of our children’s lives, we can’t always find answers in a book, online or from a friend.
As a parent of teenagers, I wish it wasn’t this hard…
I wish the answers came easier…
I wish I knew when to push my kids and when it’s best to let them figure some things out on their own.
I wish I knew when to catch them and when to let them fall.
I wish I knew how much freedom was too much and when I need to tighten the reins.
I wish I knew the right balance between too tough and too soft.
I wish I knew going into my kids’ teen years that sometimes my kids would be so hard to read, that their emotions would be so unpredictable, that they would fight me so hard on some things, and that I wouldn’t always know the best way to respond, react, discipline them or love them.
I wish I knew unequivocally when they needed my words or when it’s best for me to simply listen and quietly stand by their side and support them.
I wish I knew when to demand their time and when to loosen my grip and give them their space.
I wish I knew that my efforts to encourage and inspire them to accept and love themselves are paying off and that they won’t allow themselves to get caught up in the demeaning, fake digital onslaught that robs them of their confidence, self-esteem and self-love.
I wish I knew how to walk the delicate line between being a strong parent who doesn’t cave easily and being a compassionate, understanding parent who inherently knows when it’s okay and necessary to pull back and let them take the lead.
I wish I knew that the boundaries I’m putting in place today will serve as a solid foundation for my kids both today and in their future when they venture off on their own.
I wish I knew that my kids truly understand that with every decision I make I have their very best interest at heart and that nothing matters more to me than their well-being, safety, future, and happiness.
I wish I knew that my demands for respect, honor and the rules I’ve put into place are necessary and that one day, perhaps when they’re parents themselves, they’ll understand why I stood my ground – even when they fought me hard.
I wish I knew that they understand that my emotions are sometimes just as fragile as theirs and when I lose my patience, I always wish I hadn’t.
I wish I knew that the lessons I’m teaching my kids, the wisdom I share and the talks we have are sinking in and that when the chips are down, they’ll listen to the sound of my voice.
I wish I knew that when they isolate themselves behind a closed bedroom door that they’re not lonely, hurting or struggling and that they merely need this time to get to know themselves better and figure out who they are.
I wish I knew how other parents felt – that I’m not alone on my journey and that my worries, concerns, and struggles are warranted, justified and real.
I wish I had the comfort of knowing that our relationship will withstand the winds of change during these challenging, tumultuous teen years and that we’ll emerge on the other side stronger and more connected than ever before.
I wish I knew that when my kids get older and have lives of their own that they’ll reflect back on these years with a smile on their face knowing that I tried my best to give them what they needed, to be the best parent I could be and that I loved them with everything I had.
Above all, I wish I knew that when my kids lay their head on their pillow every single night that they know in their hearts that my love for them is steadfast and unconditional and that no matter what they’re going through in life…
they can always come to me,
they can always count on me,
and they can always, always come home.