Over the past year, I’ve sat down to write so many times. More than I can count. But I was afraid. I had so much in my head that I couldn’t get it out. There was so much going on, insanity it felt to me, that I couldn’t put it into words. Also? I was embarrassed. I was ashamed. I was incredibly sad. I was worried beyond belief. I felt like my whole world was turned upside down.
Having a teenager can suck like nothing you’ve ever dreamed of. Writing about it is difficult. I want to share, so that others can benefit from knowing they’re not alone, to feel comforted, to help, but I also want to respect our privacy and especially my kids’ privacy. How do I walk that line? Which is why every time I’d sit down to write, I just couldn’t. But guess what? We NEED to have these conversations. There are so many of us that are going through tough times with teenagers but we don’t want to talk about it because it’s embarrassing, people might judge, it’s ugly, but we need to. We all need to know we’re not alone in this mess of parenting even the teenage years.
However, after having conversations with friends and family and acquaintances over the past year, I feel like I need and want to share in case it can help someone in any way. My son, who is 17, has had a rough year. He’s been in a lot of trouble for a lot of different things. He’s been hateful, spiteful, rude, unreasonable and sometimes just plain awful. I can’t even tell you how hard it is to see how much your son hates you. It’s hard on your soul. Deep into your soul. You look at him and you love him so much and you would die for this child and all you see is hate. Not to mention that you’re terrified because you’re afraid he’s going to hurt himself or someone else and/or his future. It never leaves your mind.
The guilt is awful. Even though you know you and your husband are good parents, you wonder where you went wrong. Did I not love him enough? Did I love him too much? Did I help him too much? Did I not help him enough? Is it because his sister has special needs? Is it because I had cancer? Is it just who he is?
We’re starting to see a turnaround and it’s like I can feel sunshine in my chest. He’s getting back to his old self. I still embarrass him and he’d still rather be in his room, but there are hugs. I love yous. Rule following. Good grades. Aspirations for the future. Hope. Smiles. Honesty. Hard work. Love. I am so thankful we’re starting to see our boy again. We’ve forgiven. We’re moving on. What’s happened is in the past and we’re only moving forward.
He’s heading into his senior year and I just hope things continue to go well. I want him to have fun with his friends and enjoy this last year of his at-home bubble. I want him to get excited about football games, homecoming dances and the prospect of college or work. There is nothing worse than seeing your child struggle, even if you know you can’t fix it for them or that you shouldn’t fix it for them. It’s awful. But to see them figure it out, make some changes and seem happy again is the best thing in the world.
I’m here if anyone wants or needs to talk about this hideous thing called the teen years. I’ll listen without judgment and completely understand.