Parenting a teenager? It isn’t easy!

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I always knew that I wanted to be a mom.  I wanted to be a mom to three children.  I knew this.  I also knew early on that I was going to have a girl, boy, girl, and in that exact order.  That was in my dreams though. But when reality hit, that’s exactly what I had. Was it really a dream or premonition? What I wasn’t prepared for was what happens after those cute and adorable baby years, trying two’s and the rest of toddlerhood!  I wasn’t prepared for parenting a teenager!

 

My journey to becoming a parent was a bit of a struggle.  It didn’t come easy.  To make a long story short, before I was pregnant with my oldest, I had gone through three miscarriages.  Test after test, loss after loss, we finally were blessed with our angel baby.  That is what I called it before I knew what “it” really was, and then even after, I still called her my angel.  Fifteen years later, she is still my angel, even if she is at that hormonal stage where you don’t know who will be walking in the door after school.   After she was born, she had hip dysplasia and had to wear a harness for 6 months.  At first I was devastated seeing her all stretched out and all the ooh’s and ah’s that we got when we’d go out made me want to cry.  She got everything she wanted that made her smile.  If she wanted a rattle, she could get any one she wanted.  If she wanted a stuffed animal, we’d go home with two or three.  If she wanted a specific toy, she got it.  She also was the first baby and grandchild so she, to say the least, was quite a spoiled little baby.   She was a happy kid, always laughing and joking and such a people pleaser.  I remember when she came home with a “C” grade and cried.  She thought that was just horrible and has always pushed herself for the best grades she could get!  She would come home from elementary school upset because so and so didn’t want to be her friend.  I always just told her that sometimes you just can’t be friends with everyone and not everyone is going to want to be friends with you.  That’s called life.  She was very intuitive {and still is} and would see things and point people out in the store that weren’t visible by me.  She was very responsible and I often told her she had an old soul.  You can tell that she must have been here before.  She just has that way about her.
Entering middle school was a game changer.  She was bullied by a handful of kids and I stepped in when I needed to.  We did all the steps…talk to the school, have class schedules changed, move to another bus route, talk to one of the parents, and of course the principal.  We did it all, so we thought.  I noticed that she was pulling further and further away from people and her family.  I noticed she spent an enormous amount of time in her room, alone.  She admitted to trying to cut herself.  She was just lost.  I didn’t see the bright light in her eyes anymore.  I got scared.  I took her to her pediatrician at the end of the school year last year and we talked and were given advise and options for when and if she wanted to begin the healing process.   Then it hit me one night.  We had a party for her brother and sister and she didn’t want to have any part of it.  When we saw her, she was quiet, withdrawn, mad, sad, depressed, and you just didn’t want to be around her.  That was when I checked her Twitter account.  She posted something on it that scared me to death.  I thought, this is it.  I told my husband that he has to go talk to her because I can’t anymore.  We just had it out.   I’ve said all I had to say, but she needed to hear from her dad.  He went up to her room, talked to her for about 5 minutes and was back down saying she didn’t look at him or even respond.  I was scared she was going to do something to hurt herself.  I kept a watchful eye on her.

 

After the heat let up, she came to me and said she needed help.  She wanted to go see the counselor that the pediatrician suggested.  I told her I still had their information that I’d make an appointment the next day as soon as they opened.  That was the first step.  She was reclaiming her life.  After the verbal and somewhat physical abuse that she endured through middle school, she was done.  Now a sophomore in High School, she had enough personal torment and was ready to push forward and learn how to be happy.  Our first counseling session I was in the room with her {which I was in all of them but one visit}, and I felt like I was there with a five year old.  I heard her speaking and she was just so sad and scared.  She honestly did not know what the different “feelings” were that we all take for granted sometimes.  She didn’t know what it was like to be genuinely happy, she forgot how to smile, she didn’t know how to laugh because to her, nothing was funny.  There was nothing to smile about.  Nothing to be proud of.  Nothing to get excited and happy over.  Nothing to love or when she heard someone loved her, or said a positive thing about her, she just didn’t know how to feel with that emotion and refused to believe anything.  She just knew pain, being hurt and sad, and darkness, lots and lots of darkness.  She turned every positive comment about her into a twisted negative feeling of sadness and doubt.

 

I came home and cried.  In fact, I cried a lot those two weeks.  More than I led on to anyone.  I thought to myself, how could I let this happen to her.  I should have done more!  Where did my little sweet angel go?  We had gotten into another fight over homework {which is a hot subject for us apparently} and I just remember getting so mad.  I went up to her room to tell her how I felt and all of a sudden she said it.  She confirmed what I knew and gave me permission to let go.  She told me 7 words that I so desperately needed to hear… “There was nothing more you could’ve done”.  It was at that time that I switched from being angry at the kids that tormented her, to realizing that she was going to be ok.  With that one single conversation she told me that she doesn’t care about them or what they did.  She knows that karma will come upon them at some point and she will live the life she was destined to live, and live it being happy.  She said she would be ok and I truthfully believed her.  I told her I would not be so worried about her grades {she’s a A/B student and in an honors class} and I’d do what I could to help her when she needed it, but she said she would be responsible for getting her grades where she wanted them.  I had to learn…to let go.

 

No one taught me how to let go!  How in the world do I “let go” of my baby?  I had to trust that all I’ve taught her, would help guide her and her decision making processes.  Within a few weeks, I saw a complete turn around in her behavior, her mood and her overall energy.  She was happy!  Yes, she was actually, genuinely happy.  She is spending a lot more time with us {the people that she vowed to stay away from in public}and her siblings are loving it as are her parents! 🙂  She is putting more focus on her grades {which by my standards were already fine the way they were, but again, over achiever…}, she is putting herself out there more and learning to have FUN!  She tried out for the school’s talent show and made it!  She was 1 out of 17 acts.  Her confidence has skyrocketed and she is now registered to audition for The Voice in January {fingers crossed}, and she is learning to trust again.

 

After all she has been through, I couldn’t be more proud of her.  She’s learned how to move forward with a positive light ahead of her.  I know that no matter what she decides to do with her life, she will be fine.  Me on the other hand, probably not.  I am now beginning to live my second life and I don’t know who I am anymore.  I’ve been known as “mom” for 15 years and have dedicated my entire existence to raising my children that I am starting to freak out!  What am I going to do with myself when they all leave me?????  In 10 short years, they will 19, 22, 25…will they still need me?  I have to learn how to adjust to their growing up.  I know they will still need me, but they’ll need me in a totally different, adult way!

 

Life goes too fast.  I will look at this as a positive, at least I’ll get to do a lot of self-exploration!  Maybe I’ll take up dancing, or become a personal trainer…{if I can ever get to ‘liking’ exercise lol}, or maybe I’ll go to beauty school…or do web-design…or host a radio show…or go to work at the Hallmark channel!  Skies the limit!  All I know for sure is this journey has been quite the roller coaster and I’m ready to get off it and start living a less eventful life!!

 

 

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One thought on “Parenting a teenager? It isn’t easy!

  1. Oh my word! My heart aches for you, but I am so glad to read the happy ending! Seriously! My girls are only (almost) 4, but they are growing up faster than I know. Thanks for sharing your journey with HDYDI.

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