How To Raise an Emotionally Healthy Teenager

Did I get you with the title? Sorry. That really wasn’t fair. Because some of you, undoubtedly, got here because you saw that title and were all excited. You know how I know that? Because if I saw that title, I would get all excited. Or, at least, I used to.

This post will be tricky to write because my children (and some of their friends) read my blog. I know, it shocks me, too, but there it is. I write about them and it’s not more than an hour before one of them is texting me with a “seriously, mom?” and I end up having to take things down.

So there will be very few specifics here. I’m only going to write about ME. Which, conveniently, is my favorite subject. ¬†What’s it like for ME, the mom of 3 young adults all living here, all male, all stubborn and strong-willed (that’s redundant, sorry) and all wickedly smart and cunning. Just like their mom and dad.

But here’s what I’ve learned. It’s big so you may want to go get a pen and paper and write it down. Or get your fingers ready to cut and paste so you can tweet it. (small aside: I know I’m supposed to do that thing where people can tweet things directly from the blog but I don’t know how to do that, but you should still tweet it. I’ll even try to make it 140 characters).

Despite all the love and support in the world, I do not control my teenager’s choices, passions, mistakes or future. That is up to them.

I realize, for many of you, this may be far from an A-HA moment. And Good Night, if you are childless you might have read this and thought, well who would think that?

Who would think that? ME. For a long time. Far too long. And now that I have figured it out I feel free. Still scared and worried for them, but free from the bondage that comes when you think their choices and their future are up to you.

You know who I compare myself to when I try to think it’s up to me? GOD. Yes, I spend a great deal of time comparing myself to God. No, seriously, stick with me here.

God is our dad. He doesn’t control us. We choose. Sometimes we choose well, sometimes we choose like drunken maniacs with limited access to information or guidance.. And he doesn’t feel bad about it at all. At least, I don’t think he does. I think he hates it when we do things to hurt ourselves, just like I hate it when my kids do stuff to hurt themselves, but it is what it is. It’s not up to him. It’s up to us.

What my kids choose isn’t up to me. It’s up to them.

They are thinking, learning, living humans and I love them dearly. I love their company, I love the way they smell (most of the time;), I love their sense of humor and yes, I even love their stubborn obstinance. Because they got it from me and I see myself and my husband in their growing pains.

And even with all the hurt (mutually inflicted – this isn’t a one sided difficulty) I would choose to do it all over again in a heart beat. Because they are worth it. And in the end it will be OK. And if it’s not OK, it’s not the end. Hang in there moms and dads. The kids are going to be all right.

 

One thought on “How To Raise an Emotionally Healthy Teenager

  1. Dorothy@ Fitness says:

    Sometimes it’s hard for parents to not be controlling of their kids’s life, as parents are always trying to do what they think is best for the them. So yes, thank you for writing this post, and let more people realize how wonderful to let kids learn and grow to their own choices, with some guidance only when they need it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *