I hear you, Mama. Your teenager is about to do something and, from your vantage point, you believe that you can see the trap already. As Mama, who has been on this green Earth for many more years than your teenager, you can already see that the decision your teenager is about to make will probably lead to some pain and some bruises… some boo-boos (if you will).
So, what do you do?
In perfect Mama-Mode, you come right in and offer the best counsel you’ve got. You tell stories. You give examples. You may even share an experience you’ve already had and even show some of the scars you’ve received from doing that same thing.
But your teenager “refuses to listen.”
(From here, I’ll use “he” because my oldest is my Son, however the same applies to your daughters)
So you beg and you plead and you scream and you yell and you cry and you scream some more.
And every time you get louder, your teenager gets even firmer and firmer in his decision.
I get it Mama. I hear you.
Let’s take a step back,
Breathe some more,
And let’s explore this for a spell, shall we?
Okay. Here’s the thing:
Teenagers are in a weird place. They are no longer “babies”, so they have more responsibilities, but they are not yet adults, so they don’t yet have all of the privileges that come along with adulthood.
So, yeah… it’s kinda weird and awkward.
As parents, what we must understand is that, at this age, it is RARELY ever about “the thing” (whatever the thing your teenager is about to do that causes you so much fear). Typically, it is about having his autonomy respected by giving him the opportunity to make some of these decisions on his own
Knowing that not only will you respect his autonomy, but you will SUPPORT him when he needs your support.
Some decisions, we may not agree with.
But the idea here is NOT necessarily about supporting his DECISION, it is about supporting HIM.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
1. Given what you know about his medical history, does any of this put him in any IMMEDIATE medical danger?
2. Does any of this put him in any IMMEDIATE physical danger?
3. Does he have the tools, skills, and strategies necessary to follow through with this decision? If not, maybe you can take this as a learning opportunity for the both of you, where he can learn them.
(With daughters, it would be best for you to teach her, yourself. With sons, it will serve both you AND him better, if you can have another man teach him these. The reality is, men and women ARE different. We learn differently and we require support in different forms.)
4. Are you willing to at least allow yourself to support him for at least 90 days to have this experience that he has already chosen to have? (I say 90 days because I truly believe that, for most situations, it takes at least 90 days to have enough information to evaluate the effectiveness)
5. Is there anyone else that you can tap in, like maybe another Coach who can offer her some additional support and guidance during this process?
I know what is looks like, now, but I PROMISE you,
This is not about him wanting your approval. He wants and NEEDS your support.
Sometimes, as Mommies, we have to let our babies have experiences that may be hard for us to watch.
But I PROMISE you,
If you give him your FULL support,
He will be more open to receiving your counsel in the future.
I Love You, Sis.
Want to go deeper? We can…