Parenting Teenagers is a Joy Beyond Measure
January 23, 2023 /
Parenting teenagers is a joy beyond measure and also the hands-down hardest thing I have ever done in my life. It’s the kind of hard that twists your heart and squeezes out every drop of love and patience you have in you.
I thought having been a teenager myself this gig would be no problem. I was a delight if I am remembering things correctly. And I’m a teacher for the love, kids are my jam.
But let me tell you my friends, I often feel like I’m drowning. I come up for air and look around at everyone else on the sunny beach and I start to take steps toward them thinking it is finally my turn to go lay on a towel and rest and then sure enough right when I can finally feel the sand under my feet another wave hits me and I’m knocked down again.
It. Can. Be. Exhausting.
The good news is each time getting up is easier.
Because what I am oh so slowly learning is they are not me. They are not here to live my dreams. We cannot control roughly 95% of what our teenagers are going to do, think, or feel.
But we can show them all the love we have in our hearts for them, which is no joke because these kids have our hearts, just like they did when they were smaller versions of themselves, the roots that bind us together are now just really strong and thick and tangled so things can get a little dicey.
We can tell them over and over and over again that God loves them and created them just as they are on absolute purpose.
We can remind them to put down their phones and look around and also clear their dirty dishes from their room because mold never made anyone happier.
We can help them find their way when they struggle, walking beside them so they are not alone.
We can make sure they do their homework and get a little sunshine and learn to drive safely and also give them the gift of never driving with them because that is good for no one at all.
We can give them space and time to figure out their path.
We can feed them things they love and teach them to do laundry and also do their laundry for them when their lives are just a bit harder than seems fair.
We can help them learn to lean on each other so that someday when we are no longer here they have people who have known and loved them always.
We can welcome their friends to our homes and hide out of sight when this is called for even though we are super fun and funny and why wouldn’t they want to hang out with us?
We can set boundaries and expectations and learn to make peace with not being liked.
We can pray and pray and pray some more.
We can stand more firm and solid in God’s love and support and draw all the strength we can so when the waves come we don’t fall down every single time. They need us to stand as strong as we can and also to show them how to get up when we fall.
And we can also look around and watch for other drowning parents. I think if we give each other a hand or an ear or really any body part that would be helpful we can keep each other from going under.
Let’s lift each other up and reserve all the judgment and learn to love each other’s children and see the good in our own.
We’ve got this my friends, even in the moments when we feel we might never reach the shore and it might never be our turn to rest.
I can assure you it someday will and in the meantime, God gave us all His love and also each other. Let’s lean into those gifts.