I remember bringing my son home from the hospital. No class or book prepared me for this! Here I stood, baby in arms, already exhausted. I knew then I would do anything for him. It is staggering to consider the role we take on when we become a mom. If we think parenting our infants or toddlers involves being in over our heads, we’ve got another thing coming when our child becomes a teen!
If you’re in this stage of motherhood, you already know what I’m talking about. Even if you have adult children, you can look back remembering the trials and concern moms of adolescents face. In our home, we’ve been through some growing pains with our teen son. It was because of these experiences I decided to write “Parenting Your Teen Through Chaos & Crisis” which is now available to purchase on Amazon.com.
I’ll share a little excerpt from the beginning of the book with you here. My heart is to help moms of teens to overcome guilt, be empowered to take hold of their role as an influencer and be equipped to allow and implement consequences in effective ways.
From Chapter One:
“You Didn’t Cause It”
Jon and I were sitting in a counseling session the summer of our son’s 14th year. We had been experiencing some normal conflict over parenting. For us, that means a trip to the therapist to work through things before they get too big. As we sat in the session, I shared concerns about rebellious tendencies we were seeing emerge. Out of the blue, our therapist got up from her chair, walked over and sat opposite me on the couch. She said four powerful words that would change my parenting perspective forever.
Quietly, she said, “You didn’t cause it.” I said, “I know, I know.” She repeated herself. “You didn’t cause this, Patty.” “Yes, I know.” Again, she persisted. “Patty, this isn’t your fault.” Third time’s the charm. I popped open like a dam with so much pressure behind the carefully constructed wall. I sat bawling on the couch as she and Jon remained present with me.
Something hidden revealed itself to me in that moment. I had held a belief in my mind common to so many of us moms. Under the surface, below my awareness, I thought I had caused the parts of my son that were now bringing us all difficulty. Like you, I’ve had my not-so-pretty moments as a mother. I’ve raised my voice, been impatient, and done harm to his heart. Though that isn’t the pattern in our home, there have been seasons where my threshold for his misbehavior was not very wide. Top that off with the naturally perfectionistic expectations we all tend to place on our firstborn, and I concluded I was the culprit behind all that was unlovely in him.
I can’t really explain why this particular counseling session broke the levee. In my right mind, I know we all are sinful. Every child has the tendency to sin, whether they are reared in a wonderful home or one steeped in dysfunction. Truthfully, most normal homes are a combination of both. I knew that. Let’s just say mommy guilt had woven itself into my psyche and I was under the delusion that my failings created his rebellion.
Sugar and Spice
Shortly after this breakthrough, I started having little flashes of the good Jon and I had poured into the life and heart of our son. I could be washing the dishes and a thought would come about how my husband read the Bible with him every night before bed all the way through his 7th birthday (when his baby brother was born). As I walked through the park, I would remember all the years playing on that playground. Putting books up on a shelf, I would remember the years of prayers I prayed daily with my prayer partner – over every single aspect of his life and character.
Being freed up from the weight of thinking his struggles could be traced back to my inadequacies, I now saw a balance of what I had been like as a mom. The good actually far outweighed the brokenness. Letting go of a false sense of responsibility has proven to be quintessential to the ensuing years of parenthood. As my son faced greater trials, the fact that I was released from owning the “cause” factor, has allowed me to truly focus on being a blessing and support to him.
A “Me Too” and a “How To”
- Do you struggle with guilt as the mom of a teen?
- Have you tried to control your child – to make them see things you see or choose the way you know they should?
- Are you wondering what you can do in the face of their current struggles?
I’ve been there too. I hope as you read my book, you will feel as though we are sitting together having a cup of coffee or tea and sharing our hearts. By the time you finish this book, you will feel empowered and encouraged. The book is short enough to read in less than two hours cover to cover. You will not only survive this season of motherhood – you can thrive through it.
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