Mommas, raising teens and tweens is some of the most trying work you will ever endure. Attempting to figure out how to mother a moving target of emotions, behaviors, and attitudes is a lot much. At least when your kids are young, the moving target still wants to sit in your lap, hold your hand, and talk to you.
But, if you’ve got teens, they’re now beyond those days and are transitioning into the mode of:
- One-word answers
- I don’t want to talk to you
- This game night is dumb
- Don’t hug me in public
- I want to be by myself
- I’d rather play video games
- You don’t know anything
- You’ll never get it
Or, in other words, all things ‘leave me alone,’ ‘you are so annoying’ and ‘whatever’.
I totally feel your pain. The struggle is beyond real.
But, as someone who is now on the other side of feeling like I could do nothing right when my three kids were teens—which was often pointed out to me in dramatic detail, I want to give you some words of encouragement and hope. There is light and laughter and love at the end of this lonely tunnel you feel trapped in at the moment.
The child who giggled non-stop, rolled around on the floor, hung on your leg, begged you to read one more book, played with you until dusk, and lit up an entire room with a smile simply because you entered their field of vision still exists. The lighthearted joy bomb who wanted your never-ending attention and chatted both your ears off is still very much inside their more grown-up body.
The child who had no idea embarrassment was an emotion or any concept that ‘being cool’ was a thing is just taking a pause. They simply need to find their place in the world. Right now they are learning to deal with big emotions, social complexities and how to maneuver through internal changes and external pressures. Once they’ve found their own true north, they will find their way back to you.
Your kid will pass into the next stage of young adulthood and learn to play again as if no one is watching. They’ll appreciate your existence, look forward to spending time with you, and once again value your input.
I can say all this based on experience, one of which melted my mom heart recently. My 22-year-old baby asked me to go to the park with her a couple weeks ago to film a music video for a song she wrote. The once silent teen who spent hours in her room and snapped at my questions is now an adult who wanted me to be with her, actually asked for my help, and didn’t have a care in the world as she lightheartedly focused on her craft.
At one point, she was filming herself pretending to play hide-and-seek around some trees. The goal was to come across like she was having a blast playing a game with someone she loves. Before running around the tree, she “got into character” by flailing her arms around to make herself laugh. It was hysterical and watching her crack herself up was priceless. I pressed every detail of the moment deep into my mom heart.
These moments, when your adult kid shows flashes of yesteryear will unlock the memory bank in your soul, allowing a flood of ‘I remember when’s’ to pour out of you so that joy can fill you up from head to toe. In fact, these gifts are so impactful you’ll forget you ever went through the seasons of sulkiness, sass, and silence.
Trust me. The time will come.
In the meantime, love yourself with abandon. You are doing your best and so is your teen. Eventually, all the turmoil inside both of you will settle and make way for a season that will take your breath away.
This was a contributed post from Shelby Spear. Shelby is a sappy soul whisperer, sarcasm aficionado, pro-LOVE Jesus adoring mom of 3 Millennials writing stuff & doing life w/ hubs of 25 yrs. She is the co-author of the book, How Are You Feeling, Momma? (You don’t need to say, “I’m fine.”) You can read her open heart about the revelations, screw-ups, gaffes, and joys of motherhood on her blog shelbyspear.com, around the web, and in print at Guideposts.
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