Dear friends, I recently completed a year of doing my column “Parenting on Purpose” and I’ve written my last article, at least for now. It has been a wonderful year and I have very much appreciated your support! It has been so gratifying to hear from you, and answer questions you’ve had regarding the very important […]
Whether you are approaching the teen years with your child or right in the middle of them, the time is now to find more ease in this aspect of your parenting. Why does our culture teach us to fear the teen years? Most of us are conditioned to respond almost with pity when someone mentions the age of their child when it falls between the ages of 12- 18. Have others ever reacted to you in this way?
Anyone who has ever been a teen or had a teen will tell you the reason our culture teaches us to dread these years with fear, is because they have the potential to cause us angst as our kids rebel, hate us and desperately want their freedom. Granted, not every teen on the planet becomes this person but it is common, and it is necessary. It is necessary because this is your teen’s time for self-awareness, self-discovery and the time their hormones start to dictate autonomy from us, their loving parents.
Why are we at odds with our teens? In my experience, I was at odds with my teens because I wanted to control the uncontrollable. I wanted to control their homework schedule (you know, insist they do it) control when they went to sleep (so they would feel good of course) control how they ate, (how could they function with all that sugar) control how they dressed (I couldn’t imagine how the school allowed some of the outfits) control the quality of their friends (was it even safe to hang around that person?) on and on.
It was years of trying to control what I couldn’t control and didn’t really have a right to. After pushing against the situation to the point of possibly losing the relationship I treasured with my son, I finally came to realize that each of us is in charge of creating within ourselves whom we want to ultimately become. We do this by living through a vast amount of experiences, some we want and others we don’t want. This is how we come to select our personal identity and life path, and this is the time of life and the primary job of every teen.
It was quite a challenge to let go of the illusion of control. When I did, and allowed my kids to make their own decisions, face their own consequences and be in control of what they lived, all of our lives changed for the better. I was allowing them to decide for themselves what they wanted to experience. If they didn’t do their HW then they didn’t do well in a class. How could they know what they really wanted if they weren’t allowed to possibly fail?
As a parent with three grown functional, happy kids that went through their teen years in different ways and in varying degrees of trauma, I would like to offer you some comfort. This too shall pass. And even though it can be really challenging to believe this when we are right in the middle of a storm, know this. It does.
If we can approach each day with the strong intention to resist being in control, and being reactive to our teens non compliance and maybe even harsh words, then we stand a chance of ending the day in a more easeful manner. And when we can end the day in a more easeful manner, we stand the chance of conserving and protecting the long-term relationship we hope to have with our kids. We stand the chance of being the ones they turn to for support rather than turn away from.
Please feel free to comment.
© 2015. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.