Teenage Wasteland

Yesterday, after a long conversation with a friend and a few follow-up text messages, she joked that she gave me my topic for today.   I didn’t give it much thought until my bleary eyes slowly revealed themselves this morning and I realized it is a really juicy subject.

Okay, so my experience with teenagers is limited to myself – doing the sign of the cross and thanking God that I survived and that my parents didn’t disown me – and my two boys.  While neither of them has given me reason to run screaming down the street with a large white flag of surrender, there have been numerous occasions where I acknowledge that teenagers are aliens from another planet.

The conversation centered around relationships of the boyfriend/girlfriend variety.  While neither of my boys have ventured into the dating route yet, I felt my friend’s pain as she navigated watching her son be hurt by his girlfriend.   As a parent, we are eager to shield our children from pain.  We are the fixers.   Are we doing them a favor when we don’t allow them to figure situations out on their own?    NO!!!!   Let them feel.  Let them navigate it  because if we don’t, we will have a generation of low functioning adults living in our basements.   God knows, I have plans for that area when they leave.

Growing up, I think I must have been numb because I don’t remember really ever feeling my pain.   I was shielded, so consequently, it took me a good chunk of my life to not label pain as bad.  Pain allows you to move forward.  So, we must let our children swim in their pool of pain so they can make their own decisions and choices.  Sure, sometimes, they are really going to suck at it, but as a mother, it is my job to keep encouraging them to keep trying.   Part of this motherhood gig is keeping my mouth shut.   Allowing them to figure it out on their own and praying that while I may not always agree with them, I can encourage, support, and affirm them.    If we can do that, we have been successful in the plight.  We can exhale and enjoy a well-deserved glass of wine.

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