Usually I write posts about how mindfulness and self care can help us to navigate the challenges of life and to grow as individuals. I do believe that. Wholeheartedly. But today, I am just struggling finding that calm within myself. I am struggling to find self-compassion and to lead from a place of joy.
Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely adore my teenage children. Most days I look at them and am in awe of the unique, kind, truly interesting people they are and are becoming. I know I am blessed to have them in my life and I know that being their parent is enriching my life. It truly is the greatest joy I have known.
Today all I can think of is that parenting teens is so…damn…hard.
I am not going to get into the specifics of this or the struggles we are currently navigating. My kids are like every other teenager. They are living through a time of significant physical, emotional and cognitive changes, and I know those changes affect how they think, feel, and behave. Lately, though, those changes are making it more and more difficult to connect with them and to understand them which is, unfortunately, leading to a lot of conflict and misunderstanding.
And I know that they are struggling to find their independence. Especially my older child. He is trying to figure out his own identity and wants to make his own decisions, try new things and push boundaries. And OH is he pushing them. It’s hard to find the balance between giving them the freedom they need to grow and develop, while also making sure they have the guidance and boundaries they need to stay safe and healthy.
I think the biggest struggle for me is how to find the patience and understanding and ability to listen to their perspectives while also making sure they have very clear expectations and boundaries. The world seems so much more complicated than it did when I was their age. And maybe it isn’t. Maybe we did all the same things, but we didn’t have our bad choices posted all over social media for the world to see…forever. I think the rise of technology and social media has created new challenges and pressures for parents of teenagers. They are more connected than ever before, which can be both positive and negative. They may spend too much time on their devices, which can impact their mental health, sleep, and social relationships. Our kids have limited screen time which is good, but limiting their screen time is interpreted (by them) as being too harsh or just not understanding how kids connect these days.
Mostly, I feel tired. Tired of feeling ineffective as a mom. Tired of having the same conversation over and over about choices and staying safe, and knowing that the next bad decision could have real, life changing consequences.
So, today I have no wisdom to share, no tips, no ideas to help any of us through this time. Today I am simply reaching out and trying to find some common humanity. I am trying to remember that we are not alone in this adventure of parenting our teenagers.
I do have a question.
To those who have successfully navigated through these challenging years, how did you do it? How did you sleep at night? Am I just worrying too much?
I desperately want to enjoy these years with my teens. Like I said, they are so interesting and unique and fun to be around. Most days. And truly, they are good kids…good kids trying to find out who they are and making all the age appropriate decisions (good and bad ones) as they seek to figure out what feels right for them.
Okay. I am going to try to just breathe, to appreciate this time because I know we will never get it back, and remember they still need us to guide and support them. And if you happen to be having remotely similar struggles right now, know you are not alone. I guess that generations before us (including our parents) have survived these years, and we will too.
I am not sure how I survived those years! I thought, between my daughter and I, one of us would not come out alive. But we did. She is now an independent woman, and our relationship is strong. One day at a time. Best wishes.
I love this! I think the passionate difference of opinions between parents and teens (and especially mothers and daughters) just means we care deeply. Good to remember that we do come out on the other side, stronger and closer. Thanks for this. All the best.
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Glad my commented resonated with you. No profound wisdom to offer, just offering support. You are not alone!
I think the knowledge that we are not alone is the MOST profound wisdom. ❤️
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