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To Moms Struggling With Their Teens, Keep Fighting For Them And Never Give Up.

I recently ran into a kid I’ve known since she was in grade school. I watched her grow up through middle and high school, but we lost touch after she graduated and went to college. Now she was a young adult, and I was amazed at the responsible and wise young woman she had grown up to be. I always thought she was such a smart, kind, and talented girl, but she struggled with her mom and battled through some hard years as a teen. I worried about her anger and defiance, her mental health, and her future as those teen years took a toll on this beautiful girl. I hoped, above all hope, that her strong traits would reappear and her tumultuous life would be restored as she transitioned into adulthood.

We talked for a long time about her goals and dreams and all she had been through to get to this point where she felt confident and hopeful about her future. She’s hard at work, going to school, and developing her career while living successfully on her own. But what struck me was when I asked her about her relationship with her mom.

Her eyes lit up as she talked about her newfound understanding and admiration of her mom and expressed her gratitude and respect for all she had done. I was astounded at the remarkable changes in their relationship and the strong bond they developed with their mutual love. Her mom was now her trusted friend and all the battles fought in the war-torn teen terrain were miraculously behind them now. She shared how she can go to her mom for much-needed support when she’s stressed about her work, and they spend tons of time doing fun things together and talk every day. I told her how proud I was of who she was growing up to be and all she was doing with her life, and, most especially, how grateful I was to hear about her redeemed relationship with her mom.

I keep thinking about this hopeful story and how many times I’ve heard the same thing from many moms and their grown kids. Right now, most of us are in the trenches with our teens, wondering if the battles will ever end. Moms are soldiering through their teens’ mental health issues, drug and alcohol addictions, physical maladies, and reckless behaviors. Some moms can’t get their kids out of bed or get them to school. Other moms are terrified their kids are deep in drug and alcohol abuse and desperately seeking treatment options to win this war. Some precious moms are sobbing in the shower, feeling the crushing weight of worry over their suicidal child. Many moms are in combat with their kids over their destructive decisions and dangerous behavior, trying everything to reel them back into safety. Most moms feel ashamed that their kids are disrespectful, defiant, and out of control. There are moms everywhere fighting so hard to save their kids and feeling like they are losing the battle.

Moms are in a war that the outside world continues to fuel with its increasing societal pressures, intensifying cultural dissension, extraordinarily high educational standards, dangerous social media messaging, the destructive digital invasion, a rampant drug market, and extreme pornographic deviance targeting our kids. We are battling against a historical mental health crisis with limited resources, fighting to find the help our kids desperately need. Our teens are the most vulnerable victims because they are soaking everything in with naivety and inexperience while also managing the intense, fluctuating, and confusing emotions that come with puberty.

Teens have always traveled a rebellious road toward autonomy, marked by messy missteps, defiant decisions, parental rejection, and emotional outbursts. I remember mine well, don’t you?

But there are so many differences between back then and our present day in raising our teens. The war we are now fighting is horrific, terrifying, deceptive, and downright exhausting.

But we can’t give up and raise the white flag and surrender our posts. We have children getting attacked from all sides, and they have no weapons to use for their defense. It’s up to us warrior moms to fight the battle for our kids until they learn how to fight for themselves. And we must continue to fight hard against the relentless forces until the war is won.

We must remain consistent with our expectations, rules, and consequences. We need to stay steady and strong in our values and principles. We must tighten the tether attached to our kids as they wander in the wilderness with a misguided compass. We must secure our homefront with unwavering stability, constant compassion, and open conversations. We must speak into our kids’ lives even when, especially when, they don’t want to listen.

And when we grow weary and feel utterly worn out from the fight, we need to find ways to rest and restore our fortitude for the next round of attacks. We must reach out to other warrior moms in the firing line, fighting for their kids’ lives too. There are moms everywhere who need support, encouragement, and ongoing guidance while navigating the raging and unpredictable parenting battlefield.

Our kids have no idea the war they’re in is wrought with life-threatening grenades that can explode on that rebellious road they’re running on. They are diving into dark waters, unaware of the monsters beneath, and it’s our job to dive in after them and fight with all our might to pull them out of danger. They will be kicking and screaming, pushing against our life-saving rescues, and we will get wounded by their vicious assaults. They might resent us for all we are doing and tell us we don’t understand who they are, but they are lost, afraid, and looking for direction from a world that will mislead them into the shadows of deception. 

They might think we are the enemy. They might believe we are destroying them. They might be convinced that we are the ones hurting them. 

They don’t have to like what we do, and sometimes they might even hate us for it, too.

But we must love them hard, anyway. 

Love them relentlessly. Love them emphatically. Love them unconditionally. Love them in their hatred, disdain, confusion, defiance, and suffering. Love them with the strength of a warrior and the grace of a saint. Love them with perseverance and endurance, and never, ever give up.

Someday, years from now, after the raging storm of these teen years settles, they will have the clarity to look back on their lives with newfound wisdom and maturity and see how hard we fought for them.

Someday they will be old enough to understand just how bad it really was and how lost they really were, and how we never gave up on them.

Someday, they will recognize the power of our love and how much we sacrificed for them, and they will express their admiration, respect, and gratitude.

Someday, they will cherish the bond built on this war-torn battleground earned by our blood, sweat, and tears. 

And most importantly, someday, our kids will be healthy, safe, and well while living a rich and rewarding life for themselves.

And we will hold onto hope and keep fighting for our kids until that someday comes.

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