May 19, 2009

No Walk in the Park

Emma. This girl is a handful. Sweet and sassy. Fearless and shy. Brilliant and awkward. Loving and stubborn. Adoring and pouty. Fashionable and individual.

Funny. Playful. Loyal. Challenging. Poet. Friend. Button pusher. Listener. Hugger. Drama queen.

Wishing I could stop time. Wishing I could keep her little and sweet. Wishing I could keep her protected from the hard world and the hard choices that come with it.

Today is not my best day as a Mom. I really never knew that parenting would be this hard. Especially parenting a teen. So I find myself focusing on the innocence of my little one. I wonder how mothers of teen girls survive these years, let alone flourish. I welcome advice from those of you that have.


  1. I have been there, survived to tell about it, and am now best friends with my daughter and son. What would you like to ask?

  2. I know I have my hands full with my 9 and 5 year old girls. I am really not looking forward to the teen years. Good luck and don't be too hard on yourself. It's the toughest job in the world!

  3. Awe! I am sorry 2 hear you r having a tough day. I have them often with a 14, 7 & 5 year old the 14 year old is my God daughter I am her guardian boy oh boy is it tough. I just look to God and ask for light at the end of the tunnel and sometimes it is not until bedtime that i get it :) however, he is my light and keeps my path narrow and lit 4 not so easy days that sometimes are 2 often 4 me to handle. Please go and find a quiet space and give praise 2 the lord through our challenging times, that one day you look back on and say Thank You!

    simply blessed,

  4. Oh Jen---I feel for you. I think we all have our days when we don't feel like we are the best mom. I'm scared for those teenage years--feeling clueless. But, by the time my girls are teenagers, you will be an old pro! I'll be looking to you for advice! Don't be too hard on yourself, and remember, tomorrow is another day!

  5. Oh Jen - hugs to you!

    I have a 19 year old son and a 9 year old daughter - and am barely surviving the teen thing.

    I, too, focus a lot on the sweetness of my Lizzy... because the snarliness of my teenager is heart wrenching and maddening and frustrating and sad - and yes, even happy, sometimes. (But that happy thing is elusive!)

    My friends that have survived this phase of parenting tell me that I should just hang on. So I will pass that along. Hang on. Hang on, hang on, hang on...

    I can tell you it is soooooo hard to watch a teenager make one bad choice after another. Ugh! And some of the choices we have dealt with in the last year will impact him (negatively) for a long time. He just can't see that.


    If you want, I'm always available by email at - I'm happy to be a sounding board.


  6. How they can break your heart, huh (and drain your patience)! But you just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, & keep trying to do your best. I have a daughter who put me thru hell from 15 to 18! Ooooh they were rough years! But at 22, she's a wonderful young woman who loves me all the more for it. She's even apologized for how she was & thanked me for putting up with all the guff!

    The bible says that they will "rise up and bless you"; and I can tell you, the wait is worth it! (Now I just have to get thru the other 2!!!)

    Hang in there and cherish the good days.

  7. OK Been there done that, past the teenager stage x 3. My best advice to you is don't sweat the small stuff, leave the battles for the big important issues that you really want to stand firm on & give back on the small stuff that in the end doesn't really matter (e.g. does it really matter if you don't like the clothes they wear that day,)Compromise, give & take. Also try to keeps the lines of communication open, I know that's not always easy. The best news of all, you WILL survive though at times it doesn't feel like it! Good luck.

  8. really cute pics of Emma.....she's totally in her element, isn't she?

  9. Lady, if I didn't know any better, I would think that you described my Ruby! I'll be hunting you down in a few years for YOUR advice! ;)

  10. I only have one child and he's a "tween". I was JUST thinking today that this is where having more than one child would be a welcome refocus.


  11. My advice for how to survive the teen daughter: Put your brain in that 17 year old brain and be honest. Talk to her like you are talking to your 17 year old self. But with a little parental control.

    I have gotten 2 girls raised and now am on the "BOY"

  12. Emma is adorable. I think we have all been there at one time or another. Please stop by my blog, I have something for you.

  13. Jen,

    My advice for you is to realize that with a teen every day is different, born of such strong emotion, drama and hormones that you wind up questioning your own sanity. My 17-year-old, for the most part, is a wonderful child, but there are days when I cry like I've never cried before. Hurt by her words. Fearful that our strong bond has been damaged beyond repair. But then tomorrow comes.

    Maintain the discipline, remind her that you are the parent, love her even when she doesn't like you at all. And above all, be an example to her of what a caring, patient, tolerant person truly is. Build her up when she does the littlest of good things. This goes a long way with teens. Sometimes I take for granted that I'm 48, confident, content and don't need anyone to affirm that. But with a teen, they need constant affirmation. Be in tune with her moods. Deal (with firmness) those moods that won't be tolerated. And for those times when she's beautiful (inside and out), kind, smart, funny, wise, whatever . . . tell her you recognize it, appreciate it, and love that about her.

    My daughter deals with lots of issue about an absent father that probably need help beyond what I can offer, but she's not ready to tackle that one. So in the meantime, I realize that she has some baggage. And all I can do is to make her tomorrow as wonderful, safe and loving as possible.

    Drop me a line any time you'd like.

    With love, from one mom to another.


  14. (((Jen)))

    I relied on humor and reminded myself that its' not personal - this time in their life is SO hard for them. Everything is felt so intensely - and they take it out on the one that they count on the most. You. Remember to do your own counting.. to ten, and sometimes you have to count again and again!! And most of all - remember, "that this too, shall pass." And it does.


  15. oh jen
    you know i wear my heart on my sleeve as far as this is concerned!
    i think its easy to feel like we are failing all the time...its so easy to feel like everythign is our fault. i can just tell by your heartfelt words over the last couple of years what a great mom you are....i think one of the things i was recently reminded of us how hard those times are for them. while we need to keep our homes & our hearts a safe place to land....we also need to listen more now that they are teens. i'm so used to talking i'm having to make myself a better listener....daily!
    & i'm thankful that HIS mercy is new every morning b/c i certainly need it.
    love your pictures

  16. hi jen,

    what a cutie. add "cool dresser" to the beautiful list describing your younger daughter.

    i can imagine that having a teenage daughter can be rough stuff at times. maybe a mom-teen outing for some alone time, fun and talks? almost every mother-daughter team i know has endured some rocky times during the teen years.

    hang in there and believe in yourself.


  17. Jen, You are wise to focus on her wisdom and sweetness.
    Remember to focus on your own wisdom as well and PRAY! How do parents make it w/o prayer and direction? I don't know.
    The teen years were SO tough w/my daughter...there were mornings I would say to her in the car "o.k., this morning, we are just going to ride to school in silence." and we did.
    She is now 26 and a very successful attorney in D.C. and she calls me often and says "MA!" and then will launch into some exciting news she wants to share with me.
    You'll make it...and then she will be one of your best friends!
    hugs, Cheryl

  18. I do not have teenagers yet. I am so glad to see that Paige commented because I think she is the best mom I know! I know you girls should get on the phone and talk!!:-)

  19. I agree with what everyone else has said and I have survived two teen girls and now my son is just beginning the teen years! The best advice I ever got was to major in the majors and minor in the always helped me if I stopped and thought about this before I reacted to whatever was going on. Aside from that lots of prayer and just keep loving them!

  20. I feel for you. I have a 3 year old daughter and I am already worried about the teen years. I am trying hard to help her be the most confident, loving, independent indivual possible. She is very willful, and it is a delicate balance teaching boundaries and bosses, but not breaking their will.

  21. Oh, Jen,

    I have two young daughters so I haven't yet parented a teen. My advice comes from that fact that I WAS A PRETTY DIFFICULT TEEN! I skipped school...a very average grades, snuck out of the house, hated rules and boundaries...I was attitudinal, I pushed my Mom over the edge until I got my way sometimes. I DEFIED every rule I could and ended up leaving home at the age of 17 because I didn't want to be told what to do anymore (I was asked to make a by our rules...or live out of our house). I moved in with my Dad which turned out to be a similar situation...I was asked to leave there for the same reason. But here is the good news...All the those NASTY TEEN TRAITS and BEHAVIORS translated into good at some point. I was fiercely independent and when I left home for good at 18...I worked 3 jobs to put myself through college. I couldn't afford to live on campus, so I rented an apartment, shared a room, paid for car, groceries, LIFE. I GREW UP FAST. It was about that time that I started building the connection back with my parents. My Mom and I are EXTREMELY CLOSE now. I can look back and know that without their "Tough Love" my life could have spiraled. As often as I broke the rules, I paid the consequences. I had to EARN trust back so many times, I can't count. I eventually did...and you know what...that was important to I am sure it is important to your daughter too. Be patient, stick your ground, practice tough love if necessary...LOVE HER BEYOND COMPREHENSION...She will grow up and she will LIKE you again...I promise:-)

  22. Teenagers they are so difficult. We just got two through it and have some years before the 5 year old hits it. Just know everyone goes through it in one way or another.

  23. Um...see my post.

    All kidding aside. I say loosen the reins a bit. Let them find their way. Trust. Faith and favorite partners in raising FOUR teens at the same time!

  24. Hi Jen
    I'm sorry you were having a bad day (I'm betting you are much better today). But I do understand what you are going through. I am trying to survive the trials and tribulations of having a special needs child, that because he "looks and acts" normal, they think he is.
    That said, I'm SCARED the day they become teenagers! I remember the hell I put my poor mother through and just pray that it all ends up good, like it is now. My mother and I talk everyday and we are best friends.
    I know it's hard to imagine now, but this will all be behind you. I know it will probably get a little worse before it gets better (I'm a realist!). But I know you have raised her well and she will come back to that. No matter what is happening. I promise. :)

  25. My daughter turned 18 this year and she has been a joy to me since the day she was born. I was a single mom to her for 11 years, until I married my husband and we have two more little daughters 4 and 18 months.
    My 18 year old has always been my angel, my foundation for who I have become in this life. And I praise God for bringing her to me, although not easy for a single girl.
    I try to remember every day that all our children are only lent to us from above for safe keeping. I try to remember what it was like growing up myself, being a kid, a teen. Feeling so grown up and adults telling me differently. I've always given my daughter as many opportunities as I could to find herself, to be herself. Never ask them to be more than who they are and always accept them for who they are.
    It will work out for you. Love them, let them go, they will come back to you.

  26. I was just having a conversation with a friend last weekend about raising teenagers. She is going through some rough patches with her seventeen year old. One piece of advice she told me was that she wishes when her boys were younger that she stuck to it when she told them "no". When her husband told the kids "no", he stuck to it and never waivered. She on the other hand would give in to their begging. Now her kids beg and beg and it makes life a little difficult at times. If kids learn that no means no and that's the way it is early on, she thinks a lot of struggles later on would be avoided.

    Good luck with it all.

  27. Advice from my beautiful 23 year old daughter who survived the teen years with less than perfect parents and just graduated summa cum laude from college: be generous with respect for your teen (respect earns respect), be slow to react (sometimes they're just seeing if they can get you riled), don't sweat the small stuff (clothes, hair, messy room) be firm and consistent but fair and value her opinion on the big stuff (curfews, who they ride with, where they go etc.) You will both survive, and be good friends some day. Also, keep talking about the little stuff, it lets them feel comfortable when the big stuff comes up. Good luck!

  28. Hello, I have just found your blog and read this post. I am the surviving mother of 3 teenage girls now young adult women. Yes you will survive. The best advice I ever recieved was "get thru it".
    This too will pass and I am here to say the enjoyable relationship I have with my young adult girls is worth the adolescent trip. Love to you today. Lori

  29. I am a mother of 4 boys (2 of which are teenagers), and pregnant with a baby girl! I too have those days where I feel like parenting a teen is MAKING me into less of a mother than I thought I would be. It's tough I feel for you!

  30. Just recently stumbled uponn your blog....then read this post. My mother and I had an incredibly rocky patch through my teens and even ino my early 20s. It's not much consolation now, but your daughter will eventually come to realize a lot of what is so wrong is in her own attitudes rather than yours. Just hang on.

  31. Just found your blog, and I had to leave a comment on this post.

    I am 21 years old, and I can tell you that my mom and I did NOT get along at all when I was a teen. I must have been a nightmare for her from the age of 16, all the way up to 19.

    But in the past two years, my mom and I have developed a great relationship. I will go so far as to say that she is my best friend.
    She is the one I go to for advice, as well as for comfort. She is my mother, above all, but she is also the first person I call (or text message) when something funny happens, or when I just need to chat or vent.

    The next few years with your daughter will be tough. But just wait it out, remind her you love her everyday, and wait... She'll come around. I did.

  32. Children need a clear definition of acceptable and unacceptable conduct. They feel more secure when they know the borders of permissible action.

    *BluePixo Entertainment - A place for mom and dad to share topics about parenthood*


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