Do you want a closer relationship with your teen? I hope you are ready, it comes at a cost.
I hear so many parents pleading to be involved in their teenagers life. Parents want to know what is going on and how they can best help them. Parents want to know when their teen is hanging with the “wrong crowd” and know when and how to teach the lessons as they come across the choices and consequences. Parents want to make sure teachers are being fair to their teen, friends are not pressuring them to do drugs, have sex, smoke, drink or party and most of all, just to know that they are safe!
If you are one of these parents, you need to recognize that this closeness and involvement take work and it comes at a cost. As if you didn’t think you could be more emotionally invested in their lives, you can.
If you want to be involved in your teens life keep in mind…
-YOU WILL NOT GET TO MAKE THEIR CHOICES FOR THEM.
Instead you have to be witness to the choices they make, the ones you agree with and the ones you despise. There will be times you cannot “teach” them by words and lessons you provide, or your own experiences. Like I have said before,
“LET APPROPRIATE AND POWERFUL CONSEQUENCES HELP YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN”
We call them “natural consequences” and they feel anything but natural to us as parents.
-YOU MAY LEARN THAT THEY ARE NOT PERFECT.
(yes even though you say that you know they are not perfect, it can still shock you how imperfect they really are)..
-YOU MAY COME TO KNOW JUST HOW OFTEN THEY ARE AT FAULT FOR CONSEQUENCES IN THEIR OWN LIVES.
-IT MIGHT COME TO LIGHT THAT YOUR TEEN HAS A NEGATIVE INFLUENCE ON SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE.
The very things you hammer in and draw a line about might be the thing they are influencing others into.
-THEY WILL LIKELY SHOW YOU THE WORST PARTS OF YOURSELF AND THEIR OTHER PARENT.
You know, all the things you both worked so hard to grow out of and overcome.Prepare to get TRIGGERED!
-YOU WILL CELEBRATE GREATNESS WITH THEM, BUT CONVERSELY, YOUR HEART WILL BREAK WITH THEIRS WHEN TRIALS HIT HARD.
You get invested in their relationships and you go down when they fall apart as well. Don’t forget that it is still not about you. So, your heart will break and you will grieve the losses as well, but they are not your losses. You will need to put these feelings aside and focus on helping your teen get through it and grieve on your own or somewhere else.
We know how worth it the experience is to parent and be involved with your teen and be” in the know” of their life. Just prepare yourself (if it is even possible) at the very least be aware that it comes at a cost. The price is worth it but if you really want to make a positive impact on their lives, you must know that it is only and impact and guidance you can give you cannot control the actions and often not even the outcomes.
*Written through the tears of a mother.