Parenting Teenagers Requires Love Through All Seasons
By Kerry Martin
As a mother of three children (ages 11, 12 and 13), I now understand that babies and toddlers aren’t necessarily the most difficult to parent.
With all the messes to clean up, diapers to change and sometimes physical exhaustion, I did have down time to myself during their nap times, and their earlier bedtimes allowed me to actually watch a show on TV that I wanted to watch.
These days, I am bombarded with schedules and emotions that are often all over the place. Some days are spent refereeing and other days educating. Arguments happen over a crumb on the table, whose turn is it to turn the lights off or who took out the trash last. Sometimes I catch myself tackling an argument between them that is so ridiculous it makes me laugh.
Often, I find myself having to try to teach my kids topics I know nothing about. They are learning in a much different way than I was taught, and they often face obstacles that I am not familiar with, both in school and in their personal lives. Parenting at this age can be frustrating for both of us.
Tiffany Stuart’s article “Loving Your Teens Through Life’s Seasons” offers strategies for understanding our children through their middle and high school years. Her advice, to love kids through each of their “seasons,” helped me to focus on a child’s obstacles, and better understand my own challenges in parenting.
Love during their winter
One of our greatest challenges is to love our teen during blizzard-like conditions when their heart is cold. They need our love during an emotional whiteout more than ever.
Love during their spring
You’ll know when spring has sprung in your teen’s life. The signs? A blossoming friendship. A budding romance. A growing interest in a talent or new job. Their optimism makes loving them easier.
Love during their summer
In your teen’s summer season, they flower and mature. You feel comfortable relaxing and enjoying the healthy growth you see in your son or daughter. Their character blooms and thrives.
Love during their fall
Autumn is a time of change. Leaves that were once green fade into yellow, orange or red, eventually falling to the ground. Flowers die back and drop seed for next year’s new growth.
Despite the negative perceptions adults often have about teens, they are often dynamic, thoughtful, and creative individuals. Although it can be a time of friction between parents and children, the teen years are an important time to help kids develop into the unique adults they will become.
Kerry Martin is the Office Coordinator at Youth Resources.