Even though we hear the message of grace in mothering over and over and over, there’s still this pressure. This unspoken message that if you’re really a good family who loves each other, your kids will behave a certain way.
We understand we’re not immune to outside circumstances that might make life hard, but there’s this expectation that inside our homes we can control outcomes enough to avoid some of the more undesirable behaviors.
So maybe now you’’ve found yourself the parent of a teenager, and you’re struggling through this season. It’s hard. And you’re beating yourself up because you think that if you’d just done a better job, these years would be easier.
But mama, be encouraged. This season is not the result of your failure but rather the catalyst for their future maturation, growth, and success.
In How to Raise an Adult, author Julie Lythcott-Haims points out research that suggests there have been significant declines in teenage rebellion and tumultuous teenage-parent relationships due to today’s modern, involved, and emotionally rich parenting style.
“Our kids like us. Heck, they more than like us,” she says.
But even though that sounds amazing, that peaceful parent-teen relationship has come with a high price. It’s correlated to a marked decrease in adult autonomy and self-efficacy and an increase in significant mental health problems in college and early adulthood – among other things.
So mamas, some people do it. They maintain an easy relationship with their teen.
But if you’re not, and they’re asserting their independence more and more, it’s not because of a failure on your part. It’s because developmentally, they’re supposed to. And circumventing this important developmental stage could have serious consequences for their future.
That doesn’t mean you look at every act of teenage rebellion as acceptable. You are still firm. You still give consequences. You don’t have to tolerate disrespect or life-altering behavior. You still parent.
But know that during these years they should be learning how to rely on you less and make confident decisions for themselves more.
And that’s exactly what you’re helping them learn to do as you walk through this season with your teen.
It’s not because you’ve failed. It’s because you’re still mothering well.