Dear Parents, Your Teen is Just Readying Their Wings to Fly

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: Dear Parents, Your Teen is Just Readying Their Wings to Fly

Lately, my daughter and I haven’t been getting along…

Since she was born, she was always my buddy. We went everywhere together. Whether I was running to the grocery store to grab a gallon of milk, heading to the bank to deposit a check or running through a Starbucks for a quick cup of coffee, unless she was in school or had other plans, she begged to come with me.

If she needed advice about a problem she was having with a friend, couldn’t decide what to wear to school, or wanted a few suggestions on what her and her friends could do on a Saturday night, she came to me.

She trusted me.

She valued my opinion.

She wanted me in her life.

She not only loved me… she genuinely liked me.

Looking back on those lighthearted, effortless days, I never could have imagined that we’d be where we are today. In all my infinite motherhood wisdom, I thought I would never be the parent who struggled to connect with her teenage daughter.

Other parents might have that problem. Other parents might feel that desperate disconnect. But definitely, not me. My daughter and I were tight. Nothing could break our bond.

And here we are…

In a blink, my girl went from a sweet, fun-loving, carefree child to a moody, unpredictable, rather sassy teenager who spends most of her time rolling her eyes at me, letting out long, dramatic sighs and dreaming of the day when she can move out and live on her own far away from her dad and me.

Nearly everything I say and do irritates her. If I chew too loud. If I ask her about her grades or school. If I make a suggestion or God forbid ask her to clean her bedroom or do a few things around the house, she lets out a desperate sigh and a long “Okaaaay… stop nagging me” – even though we both know I’m not “nagging” her. Heck, if I breathe too loud, I fear her eyes will pop out of her head.

Suddenly, I feel like the enemy piling on armor to protect myself from the inevitable battles that I know will arise when I’m least suspecting.

I’m constantly walking on eggshells around her all while trying to support her, trying to figure out what I need to do to regain the ground we’ve lost, trying to love her through it all, trying to bring my daughter home to me.

These days are hard on me. But through it all, I’ve also realized that these days are hard on my daughter, too.

I can see it in her eyes.

When she spews out a snarky, unwarranted comment, I see her shoulders sink just a bit, almost as if she’s wondering herself what imposter inside her said those combative words.

Sometimes, she’ll glance back at me after having said something I certainly didn’t deserve and I’ll catch a forlorn look in her eye as if to say, “I’m just as confused as you are… don’t leave me, mom. I may not act like it, but I need you now.”

Like me, she’s having a hard time recognizing the girl she’s become.

Some days are really hard. In fact, some days are downright chaotic and messy, and exhausting. But every once in a while, we’ll settle into a perfect moment that’s reminiscent of old times. When I show her a funny TikTok video I thought she might like or when I surprise her with her favorite candy bar or pick up a new mascara for her because she casually said in passing that hers is drying out – I see my girl lying quietly below the surface of the emerging teenager who’s anxious to prove to the world that she doesn’t need anyone… least of all, me.

When I see these glimpses of my girl and how she’s fighting so hard to break through the barrier of immense hormonal changes happening within her, it reinforces everything I know, everything I’ve read, everything everyone who’s weathered the teen years with their kids has told me, everything my heart is telling me… this is temporary.

It won’t be like this forever.

She’s growing, developing and transforming into a new “her.”

Like a caterpillar who’s so eager to learn to fly that it’s willing to give up being a caterpillar, my daughter is ready to leave her old self behind so she, too, can one day learn how to fly.

Growing up is hard and messy and confusing and overwhelming for teenagers and for parents. But we have to remind ourselves that so much of what our teens go through is not only normal, it’s necessary.

We also have to remind ourselves that amidst the unsteady days, the cloud of confusion wondering where our once cheerful child went, and the gentle tugs at our heart as we watch our pudgy-faced, sweet child who relished in tender kisses on our cheek quietly drift away, there are plenty of perfect moments. Plenty of beautiful moments. Plenty of moments that, if we’re paying attention, we can cling to, relish and remember.

So, for now, weather the occasional unsettling storms when they hit, take the bumps in the road in stride, enjoy the journey and the changing view, and remind yourself over and over again that this time in your teen’s life is short-lived. 

Remind yourself over and over again that your teen is simply readying their wings to fly.

It means you’re doing your job well. You’re empowering them with the tools and confidence they need so that, one day, they can soar on their own.

Help them strengthen their wings. Guide them on this tumultuous journey. Support them when they flounder and fall. Have patience. Offer them a little grace, a little space, a little understanding and a lot of love…

One day, soon enough, a beautiful, graceful, butterfly will present itself to the world. And, that’s when you’ll look back and realize just how beautiful their transformation really was.

If you enjoyed,” Dear Parents, Your Teen is Just Readying Their Wings to Fly,” you might also enjoy reading:

4 Things Teenagers Need Every Single Day

23 Things That Threw Me For a Loop When My Kids Became Teenagers

What Teenagers Really Need From Their Parents

Why Not Join Us?
I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join over 3.000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn how to optimize your blog for search engines, find free traffic, and monetize your website.
RAISING TEENS TODAY is a resource and safe zone for parents to share the joys, challenges, triumphs and frustrations of raising our oh, so imperfect (but totally awesome) teens. PLUS, sign up and you'll receive my FREE e-Book "Scoring Scholarships!"

You may also like

Leave a Comment