When our kids are young we give them the freedom to explore, to be curious, and to make mistakes. We give them room to tantrum, to cry, and to leap with crazy joy and enthusiasm. Then the teenage years hit with a BOOM. We feel their biological age ticking, the need to get it right, and not sabotage their future. We worry that their mistakes and missteps might make it harder for them to be successful as adults.
I spend a lot of my time when I do parent coaching helping parents to relax, to calm down, to feel confident that though their teen may be worrying them now, that they will inevitably be absolutely fine in the future. I hope to give parents the confidence that the work they have already done as parents, from the birth of their child to the present, is all inside their kids, ready to be called upon when the time comes as they move into adulthood. Yes, things might look scary now, but they will grow up, mature, experience life, and find themselves. Adolescence is all about the journey of finding a personal identity. It's about trial and error, what feels right. Teens show the world what they think the world wants to see, and often keep to themselves the part that feels the most authentic, real and vulnerable until they have the confidence to say, hey world here I am!!! It's all part of the process!!
I too am a parent. Although my daughter is considerably older than your kids. She is 34. And now I get a bit personal. Below you will find a link to a personal essay she wrote that was just published in InStyle Magazine. I share this with you because what she wrote and the personal but universal truths she describes, I think, will help you understand the journey from childhood to adulthood. Of course I am Kvelling (Yiddish for the most extreme pride one feel for one's child), but more importantly, my daughter has taught me so much, and this essay I think has something to teach us all. Life is a process, and in Ari's words: "No one can see you until you see yourself." I hope you might choose to also share this with your teen. Not only do you often feel stuck and scared about what lies ahead for them, but they of course feel that as well. The future for you and for your kids is not preordained. There are many life experiences ahead, things that will change them, and will change you. I know at 65 I never in a million years expected to be sitting here as a writer/blogger/parenting expert and an author with a daughter who is an actor and writer. That is the most exciting part of life, that we don't know what's ahead, and that life can shift and change in a moment. And we learn and grow from all of it. Enjoy it!!!!