Inside: parenting teens is chaos, but sometimes in the right moment, you see the beautiful human emerging right in front of you.
Raising tweens and teens looks like your stomach flip-flopping all day at work because your child has her absolute-whole-being set on getting “The Part”, and in the next 8 hours, she finds out.
It looks like catching a glimpse of your tween curled up under blankets on the couch, and your heart melting because he reminds you of a decade ago. When he was a baby, you thought it wasn’t possible to love him more – but it turns out that you absolutely do.
And it’s discovering that the creak of the garage door signaling your young driver safely pulled in is one of the best sounds ever.
Raising tweens and teens looks like finding it hard to relax sometimes in your own home because your teen is pushing all of your buttons.
It looks like daydreaming about tossing your kids’ devices (phone, iPad, video game consoles) out the window and driving over the tangled electronic heap multiple times.
And emotional exhaustion from the normal adult responsibilities plus trying to figure out what’s going on with your moody tween and discerning if you should help with a solution or let them figure it out.
Raising tweens and teens looks like spending crazy amounts of time in the community from church to school events to Target.
It’s not realizing that it meant so much to you that your kid’s team gets that last basket in – your tense body clasps its hands together as you hope big for a buzzer-beater.
And it’s gathering bonus kids and other parents into your circle, enriching your life more than you could’ve ever imagined.
Raising tweens and teens looks like finding a wrinkled English paper in the depths of your teen’s backpack. You flatten it with a stroke of your hand and read the words your daughter wove together and are stunned by the amazing person she is becoming.
It also looks like being frustrated by your child’s choices, setting boundaries, and holding the line. It’s knowing that if your big kids sometimes don’t like you, you’re probably doing a great job as a parent. And finally understanding what grace truly means and how to wholeheartedly give it to your family and, most importantly, yourself.
Raising tweens and teens looks like a jammed-packed schedule with the magician parent(s) getting everyone to and from where they have to be (mostly) on time with (hopefully) what they need to bring/wear.
It looks like trying to squeeze in conversations (because you so want to get to know your child) in the car, around the dinner table, while waiting for password reset emails.
And watching family movies, going on road trips, checking grades, ordering pizza, sifting through laundry, collecting dishes from the bedrooms, tripping over shoes piled in front of the door, and hoping someone will carry the piles on the stairs up.
Parenting tweens and teens is busy – it’s 8 pm feeling like midnight.
Parenting tweens and teens takes so much brainpower – and saying a lot of prayers.
But it’s also stopping–and peering out the window to see your teen shoveling piles of snow off the driveway while wearing shorts and a hoodie.
And laughing out loud.
Because the most random of moments slow your whole world down and help you see – really see – your beautiful humans, your teens and tweens.
Their faces. Their smiles. Hearing their laugher. And the sound of their voices.
And then feeling with every bone in your body how rich and full your ordinary life is.
Parenting tweens and teens. It’s a gift.
This post originally appeared on the author’s blog here by Cheryl Donely. Cheryl runs Empowered Moms and Kids and is currently raising three teens/tweens. Then as if raising her own tweens/teens isn’t enough, she goes every day to work to spend time with – ready for this? – more teens. She is a high school teacher and has taught since she was 22 years old.
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