Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I often find myself in an identity crisis. :) Yeah? Really! I told Kent the first year we were married that I was having feelings I hadn't had since I was 13 or 14. You all remember some of those awkward "trying-to-figure-out-yourself" moments of early adolescence. You still feel like a kid, but you also sense this desire to be more independent and grown-up. You love your parents but you don't want to be them. You're not sure how other people view you, and frankly, you're not sure how you view yourself.

Well, I find myself feeling those things in relation to being a parent of teenagers. Just over five years ago, I was chaperoning teen groups, having teen girls over to my house for fun, taking a teen girl out every now and then to talk, and...to be honest...I felt good about myself. I don't think it was in a proud way. But rather, I felt happy about my relationships with the teen girls in my life.

Then suddenly, I'm wondering, "Who am I?" in regard to the teen girls in my life, my daughters. They are no different than any other teen girl, but my own position, role, and relationship have totally changed...throwing me for a loop!! I'm no longer have that sense of happiness about how I'm handling things with them (at least much of the time). I often feel defensive or timid, quick to speak or quick to avoid needed confrontation, unable to enjoy fun moments together or wishing they could see how much fun I used to have.

So...what do you ladies remember from your growing up years that really helped your relationship with your moms? What were some key things that she did or didn't do that helped your relationship to grow in friendship and openness? How did your mom (or you as a mom of teen girls) handle disagreements, attitudes, feelings, etc? Looking forward to hearing any good stuff you want to share!


Kami said...

I really have no good stuff to share! It isn't that my mom and I didn't have a good relationship, because we certainly DID, it's just that my parents' were in the middle of their divorce during my teen years, and in my rebellion, my relationship with them crumbled a LOT. I felt like I was raised by my older brother during most of my teen years (which would just crush my mom if she ever heard me say that!), but it's definitely truth. More than anything, I would encourage you to always be open and honest with them. Play the three question game - when they come home, ask how their day was - when they respond, you have to ask at least three more questions pertaining to their response. It's a great way to help them to see that you are truly interested in them and that you love them!

Also, I would suggest a one-on-one girls date night. I started doing this with Claire, and it was truly awkward at first, but I expressed to her my desire to not be "just a step-mom", but to be her friend as well. Our relationship is better than ever! Granted, she's not a teen yet, but I can truly believe that we have built a solid foundation for a great relationship in the future.

Praying for you!

Tonita said...

I have only been a mother of a teenage daughter for a short time, but I have years of experience with teenage boys. I think some things are the same whether they're girls or boys. My number one rule is to "Choose my battles carefully." Situations with long term consequences (teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, misuse of a vehicle, tattoos, etc.) are worth fighting over. Other situations are temporary, harmless and give the teen an opportunity to express their individualism. Examples? Hair styles, clothing styles (modesty is an issue); even piercings are temporary. You can't fight every battle. Fight the really important ones.

Second, you have to listen to your teens without overreacting or passing judgment on their thoughts or actions. I made this mistake with Caleb and he would either blow up or shut down. I want to know what my children are doing and thinking. They will only talk if they know you are listening--and only listening. Advice and guidance should be given gently.

Thirdly, PRAY. None of us are perfect. None of us can parent alone. We need God's help and guidance. We also need the help of our Christian friends. Another adult may be able to say things to your children that they won't accept from you.

Fourthly, trust them to God. Alyssa, Tana, Kalai and Malia have been raised with a knowledge of their Creator and Savior. The Spirit of God lives in them. God will guide and protect them. Les and Loopie have had to do this in a big way with their four boys. Joseph and Mary were young teenagers when they were entrusted with the Christ child.

As young adults your children will make their own life decisions. We don't have any control over that. I am at peace knowing that while they were in my care I showed them Christ through my actions, attitudes and words.

Christy, you have a wisdom and maturity beyond your years. You have an amazing capacity to love God's children. You have demonstrated an unselfishness and willingness to submit to God's will that I highly admire. You are a child of God redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. That's who you are. That's who I am. Through all of life's changes and challenges that is our constant.

I often think about and pray for your family.

Love, Tonita

Ang said...

thanks for bringing this up Christy. I am sorta the parent of two teens right now and this will help me. I knew that God put you here for a reason. just kidding I have known that for a long time. love you Angie