Being the parent of teens is like being the container that holds all the lotto balls……They constantly bounce off of you and each other, but would be a mess without you. – JRB 2016
Being a parent of teenagers is not easy. It is sometimes painful and bruising to one’s psyche . Teens are constantly asserting their independence. Sounds good right? Yes, but recognize that it means they no longer want to be with you much of the time. They want to be on their own without your presence or input. They are learning to have their own opinions, think differently and argue their point. Again sounds like a good thing (and it is :), but for the short term it generally means that they will not agree with you, in fact sometimes it means that they will do anything BUT agree with you. They are building their own relationships (with boys and girls). The reality is that they often no longer just want the friends that know the family or that you know. Not a bad thing you say…..No, not in the long run, but in the teenage years it means that often you do not know their friends. They are getting to know people on their own and figuring out how to handle friendships and romantic relationships, and it is often without your daily input. You pray they are using what you have already taught them, but they don’t necessarily want your advice now. They are driving, getting jobs, choosing schools; all wonderful things, but all very difficult and scary things for parents, as there may be more potential battles and more potential dangers As the teens do each of those things, we have to widen our boundaries and let go more and more. Not easy!
Now, if you have more than one teen (like many lotto balls), you also contend with the collisions between the teens. There may be competition, difference of opinion, varying friend groups, or just the difficulties that come with different personalities, going through a crazy time in the same home. They will have peaceful times and they will have struggles. They will bounce off each other and fling past each other and collide with you. It is not easy! Sometimes multiple teens may collide with the boundaries at the same time. Hold strong they still need you!
Make no mistake, as parents of teens we still have a say, we still have influence. No matter how hard they push against us and bounce off of us, we still have to maintain and hold our chosen boundaries. They aren’t free yet. However, it is crucial to admit and realize that they push harder during this time, and the collisions between parents (of opinions, attitudes, expectations, and experiences) and children are harder and often tougher to handle. Parenting teens can be wonderful and you do see glimpses of the amazing young men and women they will be. (I think God gives us these so we are able to make it through 🙂 Remember that they do need us. However, we often do stand day to day feeling figuratively beat up, stretched and bruised; while they learn and grow and move within our boundaries in preparation for the time they will be released from our “world” into the bigger world. Being a parent of teens really is like being the container that holds all the lotto balls….They constantly bounce off off of you, but without you they would be a mess.