(Inside: Raising teens and parenting tweens can be hard, but also so fun. Someday, I will look back at these years through rose-colored glasses and miss it all.)
“Mom, why are you hugging me so long? I’m just walking one house down to the bus stop, like normal.”
“Because…” I squeaked out. “You’re only wearing a hoodie. And it’s snowing – hard. And we live in Minnesota. I JUST DON’T KNOW IF I’LL EVER SEE YOU AGAIN.”
Wiggle out of my arms. Eye roll, then smile. “Bye, mom.”
Teens are exasperating.
In raising older kids, there are times you wonder when that infamous frontal lobe will fire up. There are big emotions, doing the minimum, and “I raised you better” moments. Because of that, I think we’re supposed to hate these parenting years.
But I don’t know…
So far, they’re kind of my favorite. And someday, when I’m way past this season, I will miss these years.
Yes, the hoodies make me crazy, but then that same son walks back through the door (alive!), plops down on the kitchen stool, and pours out words – the class-clown-did-this and the teacher-said-that… He laughs; I laugh. It’s intriguing to watch how our teens process their worlds.
Then, there’s watching my tween son (I have 3 boys) power kick the offense’s soccer ball across the field shutting the other team out. He pumps his arm quietly by his side. I love how these raising-older-kids years hold lots of small moments that piece-by-piece build our kids’ confidence.
Or when my kid texts me that he aced his math test. It’s rewarding for me to see my kid learn that hard work does pay off.
I’ll miss piling into our car and driving to Nana and Papa’s house in a small town, USA.
My sons hunt for frogs, fish at the pond, and run around with their cousins like little kids again. No peer pressure – just a safe place to be themselves. I love these sacred family moments.
After a long day of school and work, my family crams into a booth at Culvers. We order burgers and fries and the food tastes so good because I didn’t have to cook it. The conversation doesn’t have to be perfect; I just like being surrounded by my people at the end of the day.
I will miss the hugs and kisses and prayers before bed.
I love it when our house is filled with friends.
There is eating pizza and bantering over video games and playing pool and shooting hoops in our driveway. I will miss the energy.
And I like going to all of their concerts, games, and school functions – we enjoy how regularly seeing our community is weaved into the everyday fabric of these years.
Or it’s fun to read my son’s English paper and think: Huh – so that’s how his brain works. I love getting to know my son better.
Or when we’re watching a family movie and my tween rests his head on my shoulder. I freeze, not wanting to wreck the sweet moment. I like that they still need me.
I will miss the gangly arms and legs around the Christmas tree, their excitement in front of our traditional chocolate mint birthday cake, their voices at our Thanksgiving table.
Yes, there’s also attitude, disgusting rooms, missing school work, broken rules, conflict (wear a coat!), and standing firm as a parent when it’s no fun, but I won’t remember any of that.
It’s like giving birth, I remember the baby more than the pain.
I won’t recall how daily annoyed I was at the shoes and hoodies and backpacks and band instruments and sports equipment piled in a tangled heap on the entryway floor – I’ll just remember that I was glad my three boys were all home, safe under one roof.
I will remember these parenting years all through rose-colored glasses.
I will miss having a house full of tweens and teens.
Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens
You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.
You are parenting tweens and teens.
It’s an amazing life-phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are.
I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life-chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time.
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Read the full parenting tweens and raising teens series
My oldest son started high school last week and I’m still in a coma because of it. Even though I’ve taught high school for over two decades, I’m confused as to how I’m actually old enough to be a parent of a high schooler.
Teaching high schoolers has always been a passion of mine, but now parenting them is as well. I could research, write, and talk about this topic until eternity. I hope you are encouraged by some of my articles.
ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TEENS
A Simple and Effective Way to Encourage Your Teen
COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR TWEEN/TEEN
How to Get Your Teen/Teen to Their “Aha Moment”
How to Get Your Tween/Teenage Son to Open Up to You
Parenting is Hard: This One Thought Can Help You Better Thrive
7 Reasons Why Raising Tweens & Teens is the Best
Dear Kids – Know the Difference Between “Chores” and “Maintenance”
To the Mom of a High School Freshman
Book Ideas for High School Teenagers
Book Ideas for Middle School Tweens
Gifts for Teen Boys
Gifts for Teen Girls
Stocking Filler Ideas for Teenagers
Cheryl is a mom of 3 boys, wife, speaker, high school teacher, and author of Empowered Moms & Kids. She has a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and is passionate about learning and teaching. On www.empoweredmomsandkids.com you’ll find inspiration and encouragement for moms raising tweens and/or teens. Read more in the “about” section of this page.