I sat around a table with a bunch of girlfriends last night. A perfect night under string lights is so good for my soul. It is not uncommon for me to be one of the older at the table. Add that I got married at 19 and started having babies at 21, I am parenting teens and a preschooler, next to most of my friends elementary babes.
The talk at the table turned to laughing at how stupid we all were in high school and college. One of us even made out in a baptistry at the church school. Thankfully, all the water was drained at the time. Christian school teachers take note to check the baptistry. And maybe keep it filled with freezing cold water. Kidding. Slightly.
Leave it to me to turn the talk somewhat serious for a few minutes. I told them about the time Carly, 16, came to me and asked ALL THE QUESTIONS about when I was her age. I just imagined a unanimous cringe. In our house we have open communication about everything. Let me just say when you ask your kids to be open and talk the talk with you, they will expect you to do the same.
My role all of Carly's life has been to mentor and pastor teen girls. My story is not uncommon for her to hear in public as well as just between us. Even so, she had some lasting questions. She heard yes when she wanted to hear no. And she was angry. Mad tears and slamming doors angry. It was so hard. For a few hours she hated the teenage me.
After the anger subsided, she grieved for me, and then extended grace to me. In a letter none the less.
Here is what I am here to say, be honest with your kids. It will hurt, for some of us more than others. They need to hear how you navigated being a kid, when you won and when you lost. They learn how to live from us, how to forgive, and how to love.
This parenting thing...It's a wild ride.
What is your biggest fear about parenting teens?
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