Monday, August 7, 2017

When Teens are Hard

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Yesterday was hard. As in, I wanted to just throw my hands up in the air and drop an f-bomb right in the living room. Followed by my screeching tires heading out of the driveway. The whole weekend seemed to be conspiring against us, my family, from having a good time. Or even a civil time. It was raining, we didn't have any plans. All the food we had needed to be prepared, there was nothing easy to eat quickly. We do screen-free Sunday which is fine when it isn't pouring down buckets. It was like a perfect storm for a nasty throw down.

What was so hard? Well it really started about thirteen years ago. When I became a mom, I realized I was a control freak. There was some precedent there. I knew that I had (and truthfully still do have) a tendency to micromanage things. I like things a certain way. I like the environment I am in to be a certain way. Having kids disrupted that.

Even after my oldest was born, I could still manage how the world went. At least within our four walls. Then came two and then three. You would think I would have learned that I have no control. I've kind of gotten the lesson.

Now, we are in the official teen years. Sometimes, I get outright defiance to my requests. Other times I get sullen looks or eye rolls. There are lies and inconsistency and that's not fairs ricocheting off all four walls of our home and the ceiling. It can get a little crazy. In fact, it drives ME crazy.

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My gut response to that crazy is to shout it down. I want to let my teen know he's not the boss. I want him to know that I'm still in charge. If he's gonna yell and stomp about, I can easily top that until I have him beat. On a good day where I feel rested I can help diffuse the situation. More often then I like, it's not a good day and I get worked up right along with. Especially if it's on-going. We both have tempers. We both want the world to go our way. It's exhausting.

Fighting with one another never works. 

So as much as I want to be the victor in a fight, now I realize that it's not about winning. It really is about kindness. The biggest kindness I can give my teen right now is to step aside and let him make the choices. Good or bad, I will let him do that. Then I will help him deal with the consequences if it was a bad choice. I will celebrate with him the good choice. Either way, I will continue to help him see his part in the choice-making.

Isn't that what these teen years are about? These children taking ownership of themselves. That is scary as all get out. This is the phase we are in. Taking a step back, letting go and seeing where the next few years take us.

I recently heard a quote that said in reference to raising kids, "I am not responsible for the choices my kids make. I am responsible for how I have taught them." That's the line of freedom I'm holding onto. That we have taught the lessons needed for our kids. 
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