Our Teens Need Us

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our teens need usIsn’t it funny how society has portrayed teens? 

In movies and books, teens are often seen as aggressive, obnoxious, and downright hard to deal with, and some days it’s true…

But most days it’s not.

While in the mix of currently raising teens, I recognize the box we place our teens in before they even know it is happening.

For parents, the ideas come swirling around from many elements of our lives even while they are infants. It’s in the messages we receive from TV, the older woman in line with us at the store, reminding us in a few years to “buckle up” and often from where we least expect it, our family members who have raised teens.

As parents, we expect and accept the idea of the teenage years being brutal, but it is unfair to the beautiful souls we are raising.

As a society, if we continue with this mindset before even knowing our teens, we are essentially setting everyone up for failure. There needs to be a shift and a realization that our teens are amazing human beings with hearts overflowing with creative ideas and an abundance of love.

As a parent of teens, my goal is to let go of the stigma. As parents, let’s bind together to change the course. Let’s create a new path for raising teens, one which provides support and encouragement rather than setting up boundaries of defensiveness as soon as the teen birthday is met. Let’s embrace our teens growing up and entering this new phase. A phase of growth, visions of the future, and learning about oneself. 

Let’s give our teens what they deserve…unconditional love through their moments of despair and sass, as well as during their moments of celebration and the days they display a deep-rooted connection to us.

They need us, as parents, to listen to their newfound interests and desires even if we don’t know one thing about it. 

But isn’t it funny how life comes full circle? 

I often say to my teens, as they are sharing with me a topic I know nothing about, “Tell me as if I’m in preschool.” 

And then as I watch their eyes light up, they rise a bit taller and shine with delight as a great sense of pride takes over.

As moms, taking the time to allow our teens to teach us, where we have been the teacher for so many years, is enlightening for both sides. Learning from our teens offers inside knowledge into their goals, dreams, and who they are becoming while at the same time catapulting their thoughts into reality. 

But what I have learned most while raising teens is this… it’s about ownership. Not control.

They are seeking ownership of their thoughts, ownership of their goals, how to take the first step to achieve it, and ownership of one’s feelings while hoping to receive validation and acknowledgment of what’s permeating out of their souls. 

Everyone wants to be heard. Everyone wants to feel validated. Everyone wants to be accepted and loved for who they are. 

I may have a long way to go, but I am trying my best to give my teen what they so deserve. Each day I attempt to listen, truly listen, to my teen as they reveal a piece of who they are becoming with delightful enthusiasm.

The teen, now standing taller than me, who once relied on my thoughts to guide the pathway, is now about to take flight.

If we let go of the stigma and accept and love the good, the bad, and the ugly during this time, rather than place them in a box of what teens should be, their flight will be smooth and filled with hope. 

Isn’t that all we can ask for? A life for our teens which overflows with their hopes and dreams?

Our teens need us.

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Ali lives in New York with her four teenage daughters and her husband. After moving around a bit as a child, she spent her teen years in Westchester county, moved to NYC for college and returned to Westchester fifteen years ago. Prior to having the girls, she was an English teacher, and on the side always enjoyed writing with the hope to one day publish a poetry book. In her free time, Ali enjoys going on long runs, browsing independent bookstores, catching up with friends. She is in a constant state of doing laundry, cooking, policing arguments, driving to and from activities, and trying her best to be the kind of mom her girls will admire, even on her worst days. Ali is excited to share with you the joys and hardships of motherhood with an open heart. You can follow Ali on Facebook at https:www.facebook.com/hangintheremama/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/hang.in.there.mama

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