There’s a monster in our room right now calling us clueless parents. Did I really just hear that phrase come out of my teenager’s mouth? Weren’t we just proofreading her Spanish essay together? How did I end up insulted? I really don’t understand how I’m feeling right now. Excuse me one second while I collect my floating mind and force it back into my brain.
A part of me wants to wave it off with “Oh, she’s just a teenager.” The teenager in me wants to return the wave of insults. I mean, who does she think she’s talking to? I can see my husband has already voted for the first option, and now he’s standing by while I rant away. He might have learned that behavior throughout our marriage. I’ll have to come back and ask him.
Where is my precious little girl who couldn’t sleep without holding my hand? That little girl that ran around so excited in her sagging diaper Christmas morning. The one who asked me to teach her how to tie her shoes.
She grew up to be a tween that wouldn’t go to sleep without saying goodnight. She even called me from her aunt and uncle’s house to wish me sweet dreams. I can’t remember if she did the same with friendly sleepovers, but right now I don’t care about that.
When did we become clueless parents?
Was it when she turned into a know-it-all, 13-year-old demanding to date? I mean, “You’re taking this too seriously, Mom! Dating isn’t getting married!”
“Well, sorry to disappoint you, Honey. Dating is an adult behavior that we do when we are considering marriage. Why don’t you do a little research, from a parent approved source, on what you’re requesting. In the meantime, how about group dates?”
I thought I handled that pretty cool! I got to do some undercover teaching and we both got what we truly wanted. Right?
Or maybe it was when I didn’t let her go on a trip with her so-called friend? “After all, that’s pretty normal to go on a family vacation with a friend, that you like, and of the opposite gender. It’s not what you’re thinking, mom!”
Yes, this was her delivery. I, honestly, haven’t fully reattached my jaw correctly from that conversation.
Seriously, though, nothing could have prepared me for raising a teenager.
You know what the shock of all has been? The selfish ranting of hurtful words. Come on now, “clueless!” I could share a few more ugly words, but you get the point. Ugly words penetrate emotional ripples that can sometimes last for days. That hurt makes a way for my negative thinking to grow and devours my confidence.
Honestly, it makes me feel like I have failed at one of the most important jobs in life, motherhood. You know what? She doesn’t see that. Those are my worries, not hers. And there’s no sense in sharing the weight of this hurt with her either. My chest almost exploded the last time I went toe-to-toe with her, and then I was the one that felt horrible. What?
She doesn’t get it yet! So I have to endure it. At least for a little while longer. Wink. Wink.
It’s our job to love them as God loves us, right? The tough part is modeling that for her. Swallowing those loveless words in order to reflect love and patience.
Especially when another parent walks up to you so excited about how friendly and loving your teenage daughter was to their child. Listening to everyone else rave about my sweet teenager could be tricky. Where is that child at home? Not with me! And why not? I want a sweet and loving teenager to live with.
Oh, here I am complaining again.
I can sit and complain or I can reflect and look ahead.
They’re saying such sweet whispers about her. They could be saying awful words. Like the mean words we hear at home, but they’re not. They’re taking the time to bless me with good reviews. I’ve become quite the people watcher over the last eight years. So I understand that people choose to say the good things.
I certainly wouldn’t want to ruin another parent’s day with ugly words about their child. Unless it’s a matter of their safety, I choose to share the good as well. Parent-to-parent, sharing those good moments means hope for my child. Haha! Hope that my struggles parenting a teen are for her greater good.
So I will choose to endure the insults and model the behavior I expect her to model to the world. She called us clueless parents because she chose to allow her feelings to dictate her words. I was there once, maybe too many times. She will never learn to think before she speaks if she doesn’t see her parents showing her. Ugh! Even now it stirs my stomach to think about allowing my child to be disrespectful in order to teach her grace.
But grace is what will see her through life.
Would we choose a boss who insults us with reprimands? Or would we appreciate one who explains and builds us up?
Or better yet, would I listen to my husband’s words if he wasn’t speaking to me in a loving way? Absolutely not. I would, however, embrace and pray about his desires if he shared them with me gently. Grace!
Even when we are upset, we hear and see loving grace. We may be so upset at the moment that we choose not to acknowledge it, but we will remember it later. Remorse!
I think we struggle with this thought because they’re our children and our children need to obey their parents. Right? But children grow up! They grow up, they know more than us, they insult, they move out and then here comes the growth. Haha!
For those of you wondering why we were called clueless parents, I believe it was because I answered a question she asked earlier that day. “We are not talking about what other parents are allowing their 15-year-old to do. You are our child and we do not believe you are old enough to travel to Charleston with a group of other teenagers unchaperoned. That is final!”
I would ask if you agree but according to my child at the time, you disagree.
So this is where we are right now, learning how to embrace the teenage ugliness in order to model and teach her loving grace. I can’t say I will ever master this art, but I will try my hardest.