When we have our babies, our whole world becomes consumed by them. Their needs, their wants; how can we say no to their perfect little faces? It seems like the days go by and they grow so fast without us even noticing right away, because no matter how old they get or how much they grow they will always be our babies.
Nobody warned us about these teenage years, even though we know the hell we put our parents through as teens. One of my good friends Jennifer Orris said “it’s scary raising a teenager knowing all the crazy stuff I did when I was one.”
We hope to raise our children to not make the same mistakes we did. But as they get older, we have to learn to let go, yet still be there for them. That can be difficult. My sister LaShonda Brown says “Teenagers are fragile packages with no delivery date, make sure you are always HOME” We may not always agree with their thinking, or the path they choose to take, but’s it’s our job to remind them that we are Home. That feeling of HOME can change any person’s life, especially our children’s. Whether they are becoming adults or not, it’s our job as Mothers to remind them that they are never alone.
Teens also like to do more and go more places. If they are too young to have a job, guess who’s paying for all these activities. Lol. US!! Kierra Cephas said her daughter is her “broke little best friend.” I know a lot of mothers feel that way. I remember my mother used to say, you think money grows on trees. I know we have all heard that.
I think during this time it’s important to teach our kids the value of money. Set dates and give them jobs around the house. Money isn’t just given to us, so why should we make them feel it should be just be given to them. Mother of a teen, Rena Friend talked about parenting her teen, “I ALWAYS TELL MY DAUGHTER “YOU GOT ONE JOB AND THATS YOUR EDUCATION AND I HAVE A JOB TOO – BUT IF I DON’T DO MY JOB SOME SHITS GONNA BE REPOSSESSED AND CUT OFF SO SAME GOES FOR YOU! YOU MESS UP IN SCHOOL AND IM REPOSSESSING ALL YOUR SHIT!!!” In my opinion, it doesn’t get any realer than that!
We want to protect our kids, but as they enter the teenage world, we must understand that they will experience and see more than we want them to. We have to be real about that. We all want to believe the world is a such a great place, but the reality is, it isn’t. Felicia Matthews talks about her fears as a mother of young black male teens “Being a young black male in America; this scares me especially when they are out without me or Dre being around to protect them. I pray over them daily and asked God to keep them covered.”
SEX!! We all know what we were doing as teens, or thought about doing. I try to keep it as real as possible with my son. We talk about condoms, sex, STD’s amongst many other things. At first he blushed, now we talk about it just like we talk about football. We are clueless to think it’s not going to happen, our job is to make sure they are safe and SURE when it does.
We can’t tell our daughters not to have sex, even though our hearts may drop just thinking about it. But what we can do is when they are ready, to make sure they are prepared. Pay attention to their conversations with their friends, their actions when they think you aren’t looking, that will let you know when it’s time to have the talk. Be honest about your experiences, be relatable. Our children forget that we were once their age too. We have to teach them to be smarter!
Being a mother of a teenager is overwhelming, yet so rewarding. We begin to see the things we have taught them shine through in their personalities and actions. And even though they may work our last nerve and worry us like crazy, they become their own being. Which is all we really want. I may have to yell to get my son to do chores, but he’s the first one ready to volunteer to give back to the homeless. Although he’s still learning life, who he is at the core, I couldn’t be more proud of. Let’s not forget that ladies!
Let’s lean on each other as mothers, let’s keep it real and let us never forget that teens are growing into young adults. Let’s be what they need to be the best adults they can be!
Drop some advice you have on mothering teens!
THERE SHE GO!