teen struggle

You Can’t Fix Your Struggling Teen’s Problems, But You Can Do This One Powerful Thing

(Inside: Watching your teen struggle can be so incredibly hard. We often can’t fix their problems anymore, but we can do this one powerful thing.)

One of the hardest things in parenting is watching your teen (or big kid) struggle and feeling helpless.

That’s where my mom was with me when I was in my early 20s.
I can’t exactly put my finger on why I was in such a funk. I’d followed the formula (college, then career), and yet there I was in the golden-young-twenty-years feeling lost.
Not just lost, panicked. With screeching anxiety. Pounding me every second.
Maybe it was that everyone else was getting married and my boyfriend had written a two-sentence letter, put a stamp on it, licked the envelope, and mailed it to break up with me. (Me calling him: “Did you just break up with me in an actual letter?” Dumpster fire moment.) Or maybe it was that everyone else seemed confident in their direction, and I was bouncing between temporary living places and uncertain about my career.

I just couldn’t.

Couldn’t manage my emotions.
Couldn’t make decisions.
Couldn’t get on top of life.
But, my mom…
My sweet momma.
She invaded my space in the best of ways: she typed up all of her favorite verses about hope, printed them out, and hung them all over my doors, next to my bed, by my mirror – nourishment sprinkled everywhere.
Y’all my mom doesn’t even like that kind of crafty stuff.
I was overcome.
teen struggle
It’s so hard to watch your teen struggle. If you want to save time and simply download some encouraging scripture verses for teens, click here.

Now, two decades later, I get why that simple gesture meant so much to me – because I better understand pain.

Pain is like a spiderweb of cracks that slices through your life in crazy directions. There isn’t one magic “thing” that instantly heals the mess. Rather, it takes an accumulation of solutions to slowly bind up your wounds. For example, one small slice of crack gets better through taking care of your body (long walks, water, eating well, sleep). Another by connecting with your people (hugs, conversations, petting your dog). A different crevice mends through inputting inspiration (books, podcasts, church, prayer, encouragement). And other slice heals by seeking professional help (doctors, counselors, therapists, medication). Each little step towards self-care stitches small sections of your cracks back together until, over time, you feel healed.
Changed and maybe different – but definitely better.
During that period, I worked hard at healing and did “all of the above.” But when I look back, what sticks with me the most were the actions of my mom. Her going out of her way to remind me of her constant presence and support through hanging up God’s promises was powerful.

Now, I’m the mom. And I’ve experienced how excruciating it can be to watch my teen struggle.

Often, I can’t often fix their problems anymore.
But I remember that the small gestures…
A text.
A hug.
A warm dinner.
Words of encouragement.
Or printed out verses plastered everywhere.
The tangible ways of reminding our kids that we’re always there for them – they all matter. Parenting will always have its ups and downs, including difficult seasons with unclear solutions. But, in the hard, when we feel helpless…moms, we can encourage. We can choose to operate from a place of hope knowing that being a mom who is always there for her kids has a positive ripple effect.
teen struggle
Download encouragement for your struggling teen.

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It’s so hard to watch your teen struggle. Read more for encouraging parenting resources to help…

My two oldest sons are in high school now, 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 not 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.

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Watching your teen struggle can be so hard: encouraging downloadable printables can be found here.

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens (We’ve all been there watching our teen struggle. You are not alone!)

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. 

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