In this post: It’s not fun to be the mom who says no, but when I say it, it’s important, so I’ll be “that” mom for my kids.
Dear Teens: I’m sorry that you got “that” mom.
I’m sorry you got that mom who will always ask where you are going–and actually expect you to be there.
I’m sorry that you got the mom who wants to meet the parents of the house you want to go to, or the boy you want to date, or the friend you want to spend time with after school.
I’m sorry that you got the mom who checks your screen time and your social media and your entire phone every once in a while.
I’m sorry you got that mom who expects you to carry your weight around the house, who thinks doing things like emptying the dishwasher and washing your own clothes and making your own lunch are important life skills.
I’m sorry you got that mom that lets you fail sometimes. I’m sorry that I don’t always bring the gym uniform you left sitting on the counter or your homework sitting on your desk to school. It hurts my heart when something bad happens to you, but I hope the consequences teach you more.
I’m sorry that you got that mom who says no when all the rest of the moms are saying yes. I know that sucks for you. It sucks for me too. Sometimes other parents don’t like it when I’m “that” mom, either.
It can be lonely being the mom who says “no”
Teens lack the ability to make smart decisions on a regular basis. Friendships—which are so important to teenagers—can easily outweigh their need to be responsible or safe. They are thrill seekers. They like to push limits.
But more than that, they’re not stupid. As much as we want to believe our kids tell us everything, they don’t come home and tell us when they’ve engaged in risky behavior.
So, sometimes we say no, because we don’t get a replacement if something happens to our kids.
Being the “no” mom is lonely. It is hard. It makes every relationship—with your child, with their friends, with your friends—more difficult.
We want our kids to be happy. It’s nice when they fit in. And sometimes we just don’t want a knock-down, drag-out fight about every ask.
But there are times when saying no is important, even when—especially when—every other parent is saying yes.
And the weird thing is, our kids want us to set limits. Sometimes they are even relieved when we say no, giving them an out for something they may not have been ready to do anyway.
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It’s a delicate balancing act, raising you.
I want you to be independent, yet one mistake can change the trajectory of your young life. I want you to be accepted by your peers, but not at the expense of risking safety. I want you to become trustworthy, but sometimes I know–or you’ve demonstrated–you can’t yet be trusted.
So, I’m “that” mom. Just like my mom was “that” mom, too.
And I hope that one day you’ll understand. I hope one day you’ll appreciate the fact that holding you accountable, setting limits, letting you learn from your mistakes–being “that” mom–is the greatest way I can show my love for you.
But until that time, I’m (kind of) sorry that you got stuck with me. I know that it makes you embarrassed, I know that it takes away some of your fun, I know that it sometimes makes your relationships contentious or difficult.
So, I’ll say yes when I can, when it comes to your style or your activities or what you want to get out of your future.
I want you to be happy and enjoy life. It’s nice when we can get along.
Unfortunately for you though, I’m going to keep being “that” mom, and that’s just the way it’s going to be.
So sorry/not sorry you got “that” mom. You’re stuck with me, but I’ll love you until the end of time.
*Repost from Playdates on Fridays by Whitney Fleming
A word about trust
Good Kids Still Need To Earn Trust
Without a doubt, trust is essential when it comes to preparing our kids for adulthood. But they aren’t adults yet. So, we still have to gauge what decisions they are ready to be trusted with, so we set them up for success.
Think about it this way. Let’s say you have an awesome 13-year-old who you totally trust.
So, you’d absolutely give him the keys to your car and let him drive himself to school, right?
Yes, you trust him, but aside from it being illegal to drive at 13, he hasn’t taken driver’s ed or proven himself through practice that he is ready to be behind the wheel of a car. Therefore, he has not EARNED your trust to operate a vehicle.
That’s why we’re not sorry when we set boundaries or adhere to the rules.
A great philosophy for parents of teens comes from Dr. John Townsend, who says, “Love is free, and trust is earned.”
It is an ongoing process and be very different child to child. But here are a few important things to consider when it comes to trusting teens and tweens:
- They show good judgment
This means everything from who they are hanging out with, to the way they behave in front of other adults to what they share on social media.
- They are responsible
When they make a mistake, they take ownership of their actions and don’t blame others. They understand the value of their possessions and care for them appropriately. They are able to remember whatever gear they need for school, sports, and other activities without constant reminders.
- They are respectful of rules
They don’t necessarily have to like them, but they do have to follow them and show respect. Constantly challenging or negotiating is a red flag.
- They treat people with respect
From their parents to teachers and coaches, they are able to look adults in the eye, speak clearly and effectively and have the ability to control their emotions within reason, and raise issues and concerns in a calm way.
- They value balance
Are they constantly eating junk food? Do they spend all their free time on snap chat? Overall, teenagers should begin to show the ability to moderate. If they tend towards extremes, they may not be able to recognize situations that are risky until it’s too late.
As stated earlier, our tweens and teens are not perfect. So, even if you’re answering yes to all these questions, be prepared because your kids are still going to screw up.
We parents do it all the time, so we shouldn’t expect more from them.
If you’ve got a good kid, when they make those mistakes, give them some grace and a second chance. This will not only help them regain confidence in themselves, but will also inspire them to want to work that much harder to prove they deserve your trust.
No one knows your child as you do. Trust your own instincts.
Just because your child reaches a certain age doesn’t mean he’s automatically ready for certain privileges. Not all 13-year-olds are ready for social media accounts, just like not all 16-year-olds are ready to be behind the wheel of a car.
Also, peer pressure is strong at this age, and your child may be pushing for certain freedoms simply because they are seeking social acceptance.
If your gut is telling you that your child wants something for the wrong reasons and it could be damaging to them in the long run, hold your ground. You may be surprised to find out that they are relieved to be able to use you as the scapegoat for something they really didn’t want to do.
Remember Our Kids Trust Us Too
They trust us to be their parents.
They trust us to know what they are watching and reading and viewing online.
They trust us to monitor what they are saying and what is being said about them on social media.
They trust us to know who they are texting and who they are hanging out with both in the virtual and real world.
They trust us to know them and to know when they are ready for certain decisions and when they need our guidance and intervention.
They trust us to protect both their childhoods and their futures.
Are you looking for a resource to help you parent your teens more effectively? We love Parenting Teens With Love & Logic. It’s been a game changer for us!