Now that we have been parenting teens for a few years, I can tell you that it is the hardest thing I have ever done.
I used to ride a bicycle and I remember being told that the hardest hill is the one that you’re on. And that is true for parenting, 100%! When we didn’t sleep more than a two hours at a time and my days were full of diapers and crying, that was hard. When there were days that I cleaned up puke or urine or poop or sometimes all three, that was hard. When there was a toddler crying pretty much non-stop (usually not just one, they took turns!) it was hard. But, teenagers.. well, I know that it’s the hill we are on, but I also know that it’s a really massive hill.
The stakes are so very high! Adulthood is right around the corner. And they need to grow and learn and explore. They need to be more independent, but… but! Those are my babies. And they are still making mistakes. And the mistakes, with my boys, have been massive–and dangerous and scary. What’s worse? I still have two kiddos to go, I have two that haven’t even hit the teen years.
The hardest part is the same thing that challenged us when they were little. There is no answer book. We are feeling our way around in the dark. Thankfully, we have lots of resources. We have support from professionals. And we don’t have any ego about this crap. We are open to new ideas. And we are trying our hardest.
Yesterday was a massive slap in the face… One of ours is just making bad choices. I don’t know if it’s our fault. I don’t know if he has control over these decisions (we have learned, in our years as parents, that often they don’t even know “why” they do stuff). But, I do know that it’s hard. And I know that we won’t give up.