· · · ·

I’m Struggling With My Teen Right Now, So Here Is What I’m Doing

This is not the life I envisioned for myself and my family.  I’m struggling with my teen and facing a different reality. I imagined that parenting would go smoothly. Sure, there would be hiccups along the way, but it wouldn’t be anything I couldn’t handle. However, our reality is sometimes starkly different from the idealized version we create. I am having to face the reality that sometimes what we imagine and how things turn out are very different. I never thought these teen years would be complicated, challenging, and mentally and physically draining. It feels like I am on an emotional rollercoaster of my teen daughter’s highs and lows, and sometimes it seems never-ending.

Over the last few months, I have watched my daughter delve into things I didn’t agree with and knew were unhealthy for her. And the worst part was feeling like I couldn’t do anything to help her. I found myself constantly asking, where did I go wrong in raising my daughter? What could I have done differently? I made statements such as, ‘I am a bad parent.’ 

In retrospect, I realize that, as parents, we all make mistakes. I know no one is perfect, and I shouldn’t expect that from myself. I shouldn’t expect that if x + y doesn’t turn out the way I want, the outcome I anticipated, then it’s my fault. I wouldn’t tell my struggling friend that she’s a terrible mom, and yet I find myself saying that to myself. In my head, I know how absurd this is. I am not responsible for the choices someone else makes, yet my emotions get the best of me and often lead me astray. I am stuck in this vicious cycle of doubt, blame, and hopelessness. The highs and lows that my daughter experiences become my highs and lows, and I find myself spiraling downward. This is not healthy for me.

Over the last few months, I have struggled. I have cried buckets of tears, sitting on the bathroom floor, praying for God to help me. On some days, I have felt an overwhelming peace come over me, and I know those are the answers to my prayers. But then, there are days when all I want to do is crawl into bed because I feel a sense of hopelessness. Although surrounded by people who love and support me, I sometimes feel completely alone. On those days, I fail to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it feels like this will last forever.

I find myself putting up barriers with those around me. I avoid talking about my true feelings and pretend everything is okay. I am tired of talking. I am tired of people asking me how I am. How do I honestly answer that question when I’m falling apart? That’s a loaded question for me sometimes, and I’m afraid to answer it honestly. I’m afraid I will break down if I do, and I don’t want others to see me like that. So, on some days, the safest thing for me to do seems to retreat. To smile and nod and try to pretend everything is okay.

This is not how I envisioned my life to be. I find myself looking at other parents and wondering why I’m the one struggling. Why is it me? Why my daughter? The ‘whys’ drive me crazy because there are no answers. Life is sometimes difficult. That’s the reality. This is my reality. I need to accept it and not run away from it. I tell myself that this is part of being a teenager. I went through difficult things, too. But as a mother, I feel so ill-prepared. I feel like I’m not meant to be a mom of a teenager. It is too hard for me. What is the right balance between holding her hand and guiding her while releasing her so she can become her own person? 

Truthfully, this journey is teaching me a lot about myself. My fears and the places where I need healing. I have to face the fact that this is just as much about me as it is about my daughter. I’m having to ask myself some hard questions. Where do I find my identity? Do I trust God? Where are the places I’m broken and need healing? 

Parenting during these teenage years is affecting me in ways that are not healthy. I look in the mirror and reflect on all the unhealthy coping mechanisms I have adopted along the way. I find myself asking, who have I become? How can I detach myself from what my teen is going through? How can I stop worrying? How do I stop carrying this load around so it doesn’t crush me? How can I stop looking to the future with dread? This is the hardest part of being a mother. How do I stay strong for my other kids? For my husband? For those who rely on me when I’m falling apart.

I know I am not alone. Everywhere I look, I see mothers crying out with the same desperation I feel. As moms, we carry all the cares of our children on our shoulders, and sometimes… it’s just too much to bear. Sometimes, it helps me to know that I am not alone. I am grateful to be part of the Moms of Tweens and Teens community because I often hear the echoes of my heart from other moms. And so, I tell myself that this is just a phase. It will not last forever. I’m not the only one struggling. Though this is certainly unhealthy, it is the ‘normal’ for many moms. Parenting is hard. Sometimes, I wish there was a manual that we could follow and steps that I could take to ensure things turn out perfect, but life doesn’t work that way.

The teenage years are far from easy, and they will not last forever. In the meantime, I need to take steps to be healthy and whole so I can give to those who rely on me. I am spending time doing some of the things I love. I am journaling. I am spending time in prayer. I am talking to others (when I have the strength to do so). I am exercising. I am learning to take care of myself because, at the end of the day, if I don’t take care of myself, my life will slowly fall apart. 

I need to be healthy and show resilience so I can model what ‘healthy’ looks like in the face of difficulties because my daughters are watching me. I need to show them that you don’t simply give up when life gets tough. You take steps to heal and become whole. Life is not always going to be easy, but I know the steps I take now will have an enormous impact on my mental and physical health, which, in turn, will help my family. 

When the going gets tough, I have to keep pressing on. I will not let life knock me down, but I will do all I can to become healthier. And I know that one day, these challenges will be used to help someone else—someone who is going through what I am going through, someone who has felt hopeless and alone. I will be the friend they need. I will use my challenges to help others find hope.

I will not give up but fight harder to stay afloat. I will not let the raging storms of life engulf me, but I will use these storms to strengthen my family and me until I reach a place of strength, wholeness, and health. I will not fall apart. I will be gentle with myself and know there will be tough days, but those won’t last forever. I will take it one day at a time and not worry about what the future holds. Today may be tough, but tomorrow is a new day.

Similar Posts