So often, I see articles about What Parents Need to Understand About Their Teens.
Being the mom of a 13 year old, I delve into these articles looking for information on what my teen needs from me.
In the articles it tells me that teens will push you away but still need you. OK. Check. That makes sense.
I am told that my teen will be struggling for independence. OK. Yes. That’s important!
That when asked over and over and over why they should do what I’ve asked – I’m not to resort to, “Because I said so.”
That I need to allow them to “talk back” because it is how my teen is asserting his independence.
So I am struggling here. This is new for me but an issue for as long as humans have walked the earth.
It has me thinking that we have our side too. For our teens to understand our side too – might help this process.
What teens need to know about their parents is that:
We are shocked by the sudden change in you despite the warnings.
Yesterday, you were our cuddly baby that would always hold our hand and panic if we were out of site. Today you are a wild cat squirming to get away.
We are still us.
We haven’t changed. Newsflash – we are all a little disfunctional. We always were. You are just noticing it now – and judging us, harshly. Reaaaaallllllly harshly. We were also raised by parents that didn’t know what they were doing.
We remember being a teen.
We remember our parents hassling us. We remember dumb curfews and mumbling to ourselves as we went to our room and slammed the door , “who does she think she is doesn’t know anything about me doesn’t want me to have friends doesn’t think I know anything who does she think she is I’m so sick of this place”.
We also remember being scared that we had played it soooo cool with our parents that in those moments that still happen when you feel like a scared little kid (cause you still are one) that it can be hard to go snuggle with your momma.
But for momma and dadda those moments are like jewels!
Always hug us and snuggle us. For real. Do it for us. If you feel it’s uncool then let us know that you are doing us a favor. Ask US if We need a hug. Chances are really good we will say YES!!!! (but we might also burst into tears – please be patient).
Teens need to know that we are preparing to let you go, and that’s the hardest thing anyone can do.
When you hold your baby for the first time, 18 years seems like an eternity. It isn’t. It is the blink of an eye.
So – we are having troubles sometimes that we don’t want to show you, as we release you.
Like you feel like you need to put a brave face on in front of us to start to assert your independence – we need to put on a brave face in front of you, to let you go.
Teens need to know that when they are “talking back” that parent’s have a vital choice to make that will affect both the person you will be in the future – and likely how you will remember us.
So, one train of thought is that if the parent rolls his or her eyes and says, “teenagers” and let’s you “talk back” we are letting you express your ideas.
The other train of thought, mine, says, I cannot let you disrespect me. I cannot. I cannot let you think it is ok to be disrespectful to me because then you will be disrespectful to your life partner(s), your boss(es), your friends, your children. NO.
Option A probably will mean your teen as he or she grows up will remember you as flexible and cool.
Option B – when your kid goes to therapy YOU will be labelled a hard assed, narcisistic parent.
When a parent has resorted to, “because I said so” it is because you have literally worn them out and things might get nasty if pushed farther.
You have already been arguing for a while – maybe a long while.
That parent has already tried to logically give you the reasons why you are to do this or not do that.
FEW, maybe NO parents want to resort to, “because I said so” because it is what our parents said to us that WE hated so much. It makes us OUR parents. Hello! Who wants that?
And let’s face it. We all want to be cool. Parents want to be cool. Why can’t we be good parents and still be cool? Huh? Why?
So here’s the deal….
Things are changing. That is normal. That is natural. That is good.
We KNOW you still love us. We KNOW you still need us. We are so proud.
We want to hear your point of view.
We want a debate though, not an arguent and YES, sometimes you have to just do or not do what we say because we are your parents and we want the best for you.
We know, and ache to know, that nevertheless you will sometimes disobey us and have to learn the hard way. We don’t want you to learn the hard way cause that sucks. We know. You know why we know? Because we disobeyed and had to learn the hard way and it was probably awful to varying degrees.
Teens – parents love the baby in you, the toddler in you, kid in you and sometimes we yearn for that.
BUT we are proud of who you are becoming even though you are becoming a person unique to you, not like us.
We WANT you to grow up independent and strong.
We want you to speak your mind – but in a respectful way.
We WANT you to make your case – but with evidence not just yelling.
We are excited to see what you can do.
We are really proud when you know more than us about something – but also want you to realize we are not without knowledge ourselves.
We want you to leave us.
We want you to leave us and go to school and meet new people. We want you to fall in love and have a wonderful job and hopefully raise a family too.
All of THIS … is preparing for THAT.
In the meantime, after you have gone to school and we stand here eating Nutella out of the jar – Teens – you need to know that, like OUR parents, we take comfort in knowing that someday you will likely have teenagers in your home and will know what it’s like!
If you are a parent or a teen that feels you need more resources, keep tuned in to the Community Section. Often, there are news items, upcoming classes, professional services to guide you through these years.
There are also loads of upcoming events and activities that are geared towards parents and teens having fun and making memories.
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