I don’t know why I thought adjusting to the teen years would be an easy task. I assumed that my girls would just be more independent and happier, while still enjoying being around their mother. It seems as though I may have been wrong! The life of a teenager only seems to get more mysterious and challenging to predict.
Hannah has been a challenge from the day she was born. She was colicky and absolutely hated life for her first 2 years on this planet. You can ask any of her childcare providers, or relatives, and they will agree. After that age, she seemed to snap out of it and became this sweet outgoing child. I loved it! We’ve become very close over the years but our adjustment to her becoming a teen has been hard on our entire family.
It’s almost like we are going through a daily cycle of every single emotion.
On any given day she can be happy, sad, angry, frustrated, and my favorite- silent. Yes, that is an emotion, and it is a real thing. Just ask any parent of a teen. That’s when I get to play the guessing game as to what her problem could be and then at some point, I give up and retreat to my own space.
I know the adjustment to the teen years is hard on me, but what about her and other new teens? They deal with so much on a daily basis that I never had to deal with. I can imagine that it is exhausting and stressful.
There is so much pressure on teens to get good grades, join extracurricular activities, plan for the future, and- what I would consider the most stressful- being social, both in person and on social media. I am so glad I never had to face those extra challenges when I was a teen!
This is another topic in itself, but social media and texting can be very overwhelming and consuming. When our new teens find that adjusting to the teen years gets to be too much, I’d think it would be easy to come home and just take a break from social media and phones. But today, with the access that children have today to Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, ETC… it can be hard for kids to separate from their daily stressors. When I was growing up, this wasn’t an adjustment I ever had to think about, and it’s not something I can ask my parents about either. Phones can become a dominating presence in the home, and I do my best to help my teen girls find an escape from this pressure.
When the girls were younger I never really thought about how I would deal with their adjustment to the teen years. I never knew how difficult it would be to step aside and let them figure out their emotions on their own, or to let them make attempts, and sometimes fail.
The idea that my girls don’t need me as much as they used to is another adjustment that is difficult for me to accept. I take that back. They need me but in different ways now. It’s hard to understand that my kids are becoming independent and learning how to handle situations on their own.