I used to think the ideal years for being a stay-at-home mom was when the kids are very young, before they ventured off to school. These are the years where so much forming and shaping of their lives takes place.
Yet I have come to see another stage in life to be just as important. It is during the teen years. So often parents see this as their time…after all, teens are independent and don’t seem to need mom and dad as much as they used to.
Whether the issue is staying home or just being available, too many parents mistakenly assume that they aren’t as needed once the teen years hits. But the opposite is true. They need their parents more than ever.
Part of the problem is we believe it when our teen tells us we aren’t needed or wanted. We take it at face value, allowing our presence and influence to quietly slip away.
Inside, sometimes so deep within they don’t even recognize it, is a cry that is saying something very different. “I DO need you mom and dad! I need you more than ever. Please don’t leave me to figure life out on my own.”
It’s like they are in a tug-of-war. One side is leaning toward total independence and adulthood. The other side is leaning toward childhood. Both sides have an upper hand, so teens end up getting tousled back and forth.
Add to this the hormones, the daily problems, the expectations, peer pressure, uncertainties about the future, relationships and a host of other issues…well, it’s no wonder they sometimes don’t make sense. And that’s exactly the case when our teens try to convince us that we are no longer necessary.
We are needed more than ever. No, we won’t always receive a red carpet invitation. But we do need to be mindful of the opportunities that pop up and make sure to never miss them.