I think I’ve figured out part of the reason why raising teenagers is so damn hard.
We don’t like to talk about it.
When they’re newborns, there’s tons of information out there and everyone’s willing to talk about it. When they’re three and acting out, it’s totally normal to share, commiserate and discuss strategies that might work. When they’re school age, it’s still totally normal to talk about problems they’re having with friends or in school or at home.
But the true teenage years hit…and no one wants to talk about it. You know why I think this is? Because if something “bad” is going on with our teenagers, we feel extremely guilty and think we will be judged for our bad parenting.
If your teen is being disrespectful in a major way, it’s hard to admit it and say it out loud because you feel as though you will be judged. I didn’t do a good enough job raising him and that’s why he’s acting this way. Even though it’s TOTALLY NORMAL for your child to act this way, it’s hard to admit.
If your teen is doing poorly in school, or having trouble making friends, or didn’t make the team they had hoped for, you don’t want to talk about it. Again, you are afraid of being judged. Is it my parenting that is making him have these problems? Did I do something wrong? Is it my fault?
If your teen is doing drugs or drinking or having sex, you definitely don’t want to admit that to anyone. Again, you feel you will be judged. You never know if the person you’re talking to is going to be helpful and understanding or look at you like you have three heads because their kid would NEVER do anything like that. Even if they’re a good friend.
All of sudden you have this child, who you have loved, taken care of and cherished for years, looking at you with hate and contempt and disgust and it hurts. It hurts so badly. You just want him to look at you like he used to when he was little; like the sun rose and set on you. You want him to hug you, to appreciate you, to tell you he loves you and knows how much you love him too. And it sucks. Big time. He only wants to be in his room, on his phone, on his Xbox, hanging out with friends, certainly does not want to spend any time with you.
You are at the point where they will be in situations where they are going to have to make major life choices. Did I prepare him enough? Is he ready to make these choices? Did I screw it up? Will he come back to me eventually? Am I a bad mother?
And this is why, I think, we don’t talk about it. We don’t want anyone to know that our kid isn’t perfect. That we might not have done the right thing. We’re afraid of being judged. But when someone is brave enough to open up and speak the truth, more often than not, you find out that you’re not alone. Knowing that helps immensely.
So…who wants to talk about how hard it is to raise teenagers???